Classes are resuming at schools, colleges and universities throughout the United States in the midst of an unprecedented political, economic and social crisis.
The 2016 election campaign has sharpened the disaffection of masses of young people from the political establishment. In the face of growing opposition to war and social inequality, the ruling elite is presenting two right-wing multi-millionaire presidential candidates, both of whom are despised by the broad majority of the population.
The growing opposition to the capitalist system and the political establishment, which found a distorted expression in the mass support for the campaign of Bernie Sanders, particularly among young people, is the outcome of far-reaching social and economic processes.
While trillions have been made available to the banks since the 2008 financial crisis, workers are told there is “no money” to pay for basic social programs. During the Obama presidency, the top 0.1 percent has more than doubled its wealth, while the income of a typical household has fallen by more than 10 percent.
The capitalist system denies millions of young people the right to a job and a livable income. According to figures from the United Nations, youth unemployment is expected to hit 13.1 percent this year, with some 71 million young people unemployed throughout the world, an increase of half a million.
In the face of a growing shift to the left by broad sections of young people, the Clinton campaign, representing the dominant sections of the ruling elite, has sought to change the narrative from opposition to social inequality to racial and gender identity politics. The politics of race and gender obscure the more basic class divisions in society. They serve to divide workers and youth along racial, national and gender lines, furthering the selfish efforts of more privileged layers to carve out for themselves a bigger share of the wealth of the top 10 percent.
The various pseudo-left organizations aggressively promote racial and gender politics as part of their efforts to prevent the development of an independent and united movement of the working class and keep workers and young people trapped within the dead end of the Democratic Party and capitalist politics.
War, poverty and attacks on democratic rights are the inevitable outcome of the capitalist system, which subordinates all questions to the expansion of corporate profit and the wealth of the financial elite. The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) is an organization of students and youth around the world that insists chronic social problems, including the danger of war, can be solved only through an end to this system and a total reorganization of society on the basis of social needs, not private profit.
For this reason, the International Youth and Students for Social Equality calls on all workers and young people to support the campaign of Socialist Equality Party presidential candidate Jerry White and vice presidential candidate Niles Niemuth.
OPPOSE IMPERIALIST WAR!
Seeking to offset its economic decline through the use of its military power, the United States has been involved in an endless series of wars for a quarter of a century. No one under the age of 30 can remember a time when the US was not at war in some corner of the globe.
The Obama administration, elected on a wave of anti-war sentiment, has continued the war in Iraq, expanded the war in Afghanistan into Pakistan, supported the Saudi-led war in Yemen, and launched new wars in Libya and Syria, while driving the United States to the brink of war with Russia and China.
The drive to war enjoys the unanimous support of the entire political establishment, both Democratic and Republican. Regardless of whether Trump or Clinton is elected, the incoming administration will confront the world’s population with the very real threat of a new world war.
The IYSSE places the fight against war at the center of its political work. We insist that this is not separate from, but integral to, the fight for socialism. We warn youth and students that a new world war is not only possible, it is inevitable without the emergence of a mass revolutionary movement based on the working class and dedicated to putting an end to capitalism. A new anti-war movement, which is now a burning necessity, must be based on the working class and guided by a socialist program.
A SOCIALIST PROGRAM
The crisis that began in 2008 has revealed itself as far more than an economic downturn; it is the failure of an entire social system—capitalism.
The IYSSE insists that chronic social problems can be solved only through a total reorganization of society. Human progress is blocked by the capitalist system, which subordinates all considerations to the drive for corporate profit and the accumulation of wealth for a narrow elite.
THE IYSSE DEMANDS:
- End the wars! US imperialism is seeking to conquer the globe and put the world’s colonial people back in chains. The American war machine must be dismantled and the vast sums expended on it used to meet pressing social needs.
- Jobs for everyone! Billions for education and social programs! We demand a reallocation of resources worldwide to provide employment for all those who need it. There is plenty of work to be done, including meeting the basic needs of the population for food and shelter, rebuilding schools, guaranteeing free, high quality healthcare for all, and providing cultural institutions accessible to workers and young people.
- Defend democratic rights! The US government’s domestic spying programs must be ended immediately and the spy agencies dismantled. All political prisoners, including Chelsea Manning, must be freed, and the witch-hunts against Edward Snowden and Julian Assange must end. The militarization of US police forces and police brutality and killings must be ended.
- For social equality! Nationalize the banks and major corporations! Democracy is incompatible with the immense levels of social inequality that prevail in the US and throughout the world. To break the financial oligarchy’s stranglehold over the economy, the IYSSE calls for the expropriation of the banks and placing of all large corporations under the democratic control of the population.
FOR THE POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE OF THE WORKING CLASS
The issues students face—including high tuition, joblessness, debts, and an education system starved of resources —are inseparable from the broader questions confronting the working class. None of these problems can be solved in schools and on campuses alone. Students seeking to oppose social inequality, unemployment and war must reach out to workers throughout the country and internationally.
The fight against war is impossible without the fight for socialism within the working class. The fact that mass latent opposition to war has not yet found organized political expression is due to the transformation of the former leadership of the anti-war movement into supporters of imperialism and imperialist war. The old anti-war movements were dominated by middle class pseudo-left tendencies that base themselves on nationalism and oppose the political independence of the working class.
Above all, the working class needs its own political party, in opposition to the Democrats and Republicans, the parties of the ruling class. The IYSSE rejects the position that these parties can be reformed or pressured, whether through the mechanism of a “left” campaign within the two-party system, such as the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, or through a formally separate organization such as the Green Party.
A turn to the working class does not mean support for the trade unions, which are dominated by well-heeled bureaucrats and tied politically to the Democratic Party. Against the existing trade unions, the IYSSE calls for the building of independent rank-and-file workplace, school, and neighborhood committees to unify different sections of workers and youth in a common struggle.
The IYSSE seeks to build a mass political movement of the working class that will fight for power, establish a workers’ government and reorganize society on a democratic, egalitarian and rational—that is, a socialist—basis.
FOR SOCIALISM AND INTERNATIONALISM
The two basic features of capitalism—private ownership of the means of production and the division of the world economy into competing nation states—block the rational use and development of mankind’s productive forces , leading instead to the pollution of the environment and the squandering of vast resources on war.
None of the problems humanity confronts can be dealt with on a national level. The problems faced by working people and youth of every country are fundamentally the same. In all countries, the IYSSE opposes nationalism, chauvinism, attacks on immigrants, and racism, all of which are means to divide and weaken the working class. Class, not race, gender or other issues of personal identity, is the fundamental dividing line in modern society. Working people of all countries must join together in a common struggle.
Socialism—the rational and democratic control of the economy to meet social need, not private profit—arises as a historical necessity from the breakdown of capitalism. The IYSSE has unshakable confidence in the development of an international socialist movement because socialism corresponds to the objective interests of the working class, the vast majority of humanity.
FOR THE REBIRTH OF THE SOCIALIST MOVEMENT
The International Youth and Students for Social Equality, the student movement of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), fights for the revival of a socialist movement among young people throughout the country, as part of an international socialist movement of the entire working class.
The IYSSE stands in the tradition of revolutionary socialism, from the origins of Marxism in the 1840s, through the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the implacable struggle led by Leon Trotsky against the bureaucratic degeneration of the Soviet Union under Stalin. As the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution approaches, students and young people must assimilate the whole of this history in order to prepare themselves for the coming social struggles.
The IYSSE, SEP and ICFI are fighting to unify and mobilize the working class and youth internationally, to prepare the working class for the conquest of political power and the establishment of a genuinely democratic, egalitarian and socialist society.
JOIN THE FIGHT FOR SOCIALISM! JOIN THE IYSSE!
We urge all students to study the program of the SEP, the history of the Fourth International, and analysis presented every day on the World Socialist Web Site. Make the decision to join the IYSSE, and help build a chapter of the IYSSE at your school or university.