The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) won 3.74 percent of the vote in this year’s elections for the student parliament at Humboldt University in Berlin on January 16 and 17, according to preliminary results. Two IYSSE representatives were elected to the student parliament.
With 129 votes, the IYSSE received only 11 votes fewer than the Left Party’s student association (Linke/SDS). The IYSSE secured more votes than the Green Party’s student organisation (Grünbolt) and of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (RCDS), which both got 122 votes. Of the student organisations of the political parties represented in the German parliament (Bundestag), which have access to a large apparatus and substantial financial resources, only those of the liberal Free Democrats and the Social Democrats (Jusos) will have larger delegations in the student parliament, with three and four representatives respectively.
The IYSSE’s result is somewhat lower than last year (192 votes), which among other things was due to the fact that more lists contested the elections and the votes were therefore more widely distributed. The most votes were obtained by the group Power of Science (383), which ran 50 candidates from various academic disciplines and won seven seats. In addition, the IYSSE ran in the elections under conditions in which university management and right-wing student groups had been carrying out an aggressive propaganda campaign against them.
“In this context, the result is a strong confirmation of our work,” stated Sven Wurm, the IYSSE’s spokesman at Humboldt University. “Despite the censorship attempts by university management and the demonization of the IYSSE in the media, we have established ourselves as a strong political force on campus and are recognised as the revolutionary and socialist university group.”
The IYSSE was the only one of the 23 lists that stood to place the fundamental and urgent political issues at the heart of its campaign and to fight for a socialist programme. The IYSSE’s election statement, distributed to thousands of students, declared, “The IYSSE is contesting the student parliament elections to build a socialist movement against militarism and war, social inequality, and the rise of the far-right. We want to prevent the universities being transformed into state-run training camps for right-wing and militarist ideologies, as they were prior to the first and second world wars.”
The IYSSE’s series of meetings, titled “For a socialist perspective against nationalism and war,” was a great success. At the first meeting, on the topic of the return of German militarism, the IYSSE discussed the connection between the growing danger of world war and the deepening capitalist crisis. The rise of the far-right and the lessons of the 1930s were examined at the second meeting. All meetings were well attended. The culmination was the final meeting, “200 years of Karl Marx: The contemporary relevance of Marxism,” which was attended by around 150 students.
The IYSSE expects that its influence will continue to grow in the future. “To the extent that the capitalist crisis radicalises students and young workers, the IYSSE’s socialist perspective will become increasingly attractive,” said Wurm. “An ever-decreasing minority are prepared to tolerate the developments of war, social inequality and dictatorship without taking action.”