The Socialist Equality Party, World Socialist Web Site, and International Students for Social Equality last month held three regional conferences on “The Fight for Socialism Today.” The conferences were held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on April 9-10; in Los Angeles, California, on April 16; and in New York City on April 30.
Each of these conferences discussed and adopted a series of resolutions on the basic political questions facing the working class in the US and internationally. This is the fifth resolution adopted at the conferences, “Socialism is the way forward for young people.” See also, “The attack on the working class and the fight for socialism,” “For the international unity of the working class,” “No to imperialist war in Libya! Withdraw all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan!” and “Defend democratic rights!”
Resolution 5: Socialism is the way forward for young people!
Young people today confront a bleak future of mass unemployment, economic insecurity and unending war.
The new generation is forced to work for wages less than half of those paid to their parents. Young people face a life of toil and struggle, without the possibility, for many, of saving for a home or for retirement. Official youth unemployment in the United States stands at 14.7 percent, with unemployment for teenagers at 24.5 percent.
Public education is under attack across the US and throughout the world. Under the impact of budget cuts, schools are closing, class sizes are increasing, experienced and knowledgeable teachers are being fired, and enrollment at colleges is being restricted. In the past year alone, half a million public education workers have been laid off in the United States.
With soaring tuition, higher education is increasingly out of reach for working class students. Those who manage to attend and graduate, leave school burdened by thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in debt.
The Enlightenment concept of public education as a necessary component of democracy has been abandoned by the ruling class, along with all other democratic rights. The American oligarchy sees social funding for education as a drain on profits. For the majority of young people, the ruling class plans a future of low-wage jobs or being used as cannon fodder in wars abroad. But for workers, education is a social right, necessary for the development of society.
This conference calls for quality public education to be provided free of charge to all young people, from pre-school through university. An emergency public works program must be established to provide decent-paying jobs to all workers, including young workers. Student loan debt, owed to the very same banks that have bankrupted the country and received trillions in bailouts, should be canceled.
Young people will play a critical role in the emerging struggles of the working class, but it is necessary for them to learn the lessons of history and re-appropriate the great socialist traditions of the American and international working class. The interests of students and young people can be defended only through the political mobilization of the working class as a whole in the fight against capitalism.
The new generation must declare war on capitalism and take up the banner of socialism. This conference calls on young people to build branches of the International Students for Social Equality, the youth movement of the Socialist Equality Party, at schools and colleges throughout the country.