The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) distributed the following statement at university orientation week events across Australia and in New Zealand over the past several weeks. In New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, IYSSE clubs campaigned widely at Western Sydney University, the University of New South Wales and the University of Newcastle, signing up dozens of new members.
In Victoria, the statement was warmly received by students at the University of Melbourne. IYSSE campaigners also initiated a struggle to establish affiliated student clubs at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, and at Victoria University, in Wellington, New Zealand, winning significant support.
At each campus, IYSSE members encountered widespread opposition among students to Australia’s central role in the US plans for war, the imposition of austerity, including cuts to education, and the turn to authoritarian forms of rule, exemplified by the dramatic growth of Internet censorship. Students expressed interest in a socialist alternative and in the lessons of the 20th century, including the 1917 Russian Revolution, and Leon Trotsky’s fight against its Stalinist degeneration.
Join the International Youth and Students for Social Equality! Take up the fight for socialism!
As 2018 begins, students and young people confront a world beset by obscene levels of social inequality, mounting unemployment and poverty, a turn to authoritarianism by governments in every country, and the greatest danger of a nuclear world war in 73 years.
In every corner of the globe, deepening military tensions have created flashpoints that could erupt into a global conflagration. In the Asia-Pacific, the Trump administration has threatened to rain down “fire and fury” on North Korea.
Australia, having participated in every criminal US-led invasion and military intrigue over the past 25 years, is on the frontlines of US plans for war against North Korea and China. Since 2011, under both Labor and Liberal governments, the US “pivot to Asia,” has been the basis of a massive military build-up in preparation for conflict with China. Thousands of marines have been stationed in Darwin, and the Australian military has been fully integrated into the US war machine.
War abroad means class war at home. Successive Australian governments, Labor and Liberal-National alike, have erected the frame-work of a police-state on the basis of the bogus “war on terror.” They are now collaborating on far-reaching legislation targeting “foreign interference,” in preparation for war.
The real purpose of this racist campaign to create the conditions for any anti-war organisation, event or activity to be illegalised, on the pretext that it represents the interests of a “foreign power.” The real target is mass anti-war sentiment among workers and young people.
Globally censorship is being ramped up. Google, Facebook, and other tech giants, working in lock-step with governments and the intelligence agencies, have systematically reduced search traffic referrals to the World Socialist Web Site and other socialist, left-wing and progressive publications.
The aim is to repress social and political opposition in the working class, which is re-emerging around the world as workers and youth begin to fight back against decades of cuts to jobs, wages and living conditions.
The international austerity offensive against the working class and youth has been spearheaded in Australia by Labor, the Liberal-Nationals, and the thoroughly corporatised trade unions. Perhaps more than any other section of society, today’s youth have been made to bear the brunt of this social assault. Millions of young people around the world will have shorter lives, lower incomes, and fewer opportunities than their parents and grandparents.
A socialist program
The crisis that began in 2008 has now revealed itself as the failure of an entire socio-economic system—capitalism. The IYSSE insists that chronic social problems can only be solved through a socialist movement of the working class. Human progress is being blocked by the capitalist system, which subordinates every aspect of social life to the drive for corporate profit and the accumulation of obscene levels of wealth by the ultra-wealthy few.
The IYSSE demands:
End imperialist wars!
Repudiate the US-Australia military alliance! No more militarism and war!
Close Pine Gap and all other military and surveillance installations.
Withdraw all Australian troops from the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East.
Utilise the $500 billion being allocated to war preparations for free, high-quality public education, health and transport for all! Establish new infrastructure programs to build new hospitals, schools, universities and aged care facilities!
For democratic rights!
Abolish all “anti-terror” and “foreign influence” legislation.
Disband ASIO, the Australian Federal Police and all other military-intelligence agencies.
Defend Julian Assange and Edward Snowden!
Support the Coalition Against Internet Censorship, being led by the World Socialist Web Site.
Defend immigrants and refugees. Close all offshore detention centres. For the free movement of all to the country of their choice, with full citizenship rights.
For social equality! Nationalise the banks and major corporations!
Democracy is incompatible with the unprecedented levels of social inequality that now prevail. In America, three billionaires own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the population, while in Australia, the wealthiest 1 percent own as much as the bottom 70 percent.
To break the stranglehold of the financial oligarchy of the economy, the IYSSE calls for the nationalisation of the banks and major corporations under the democratic control of the working class.
For the political independence of the working class
The IYSSE calls for students and youth to turn to the working class, the sole revolutionary force in society. The issues students face—including high tuition, joblessness, student loan debt 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.
Above all, the working class needs its own political party, in opposition to Labor, the Greens, the trade unions, and their apologists and supporters in the various pseudo-left organisations. In opposition to all forms of nationalism, reformism, and racial and identity politics, the IYSSE calls for the unity of the working class, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, gender or religion, in an international struggle against the capitalist system.
A turn to the working class does not mean support for the trade unions, which are dominated by well-heeled bureaucrats, tied politically to the Labor Party—historically, the pre-eminent party of war, austerity and class war against workers and youth. In opposition to the existing trade unions, the IYSSE calls for the building of independent rank-and-file workplace, school and community committees to unify different sections of workers and youth in common struggle for socialism.
The IYSSE seeks to build a mass political movement that will fight for power, establish a workers government and reorganise society on a democratic, egalitarian and rational 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 along national lines—block the rational use and development of humanity’s productive forces. None of the problems humanity confronts, including climate change, can be dealt with on a national level.
The problems faced by working people and youth in every country are fundamentally the same. In all countries, the IYSSE opposes nationalism, chauvinism and racism, which are the means to divide and weaken the working class. Working people of all countries must join together in a common struggle.
Socialism—the rational and democratic reorganisation 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 led by the Bolshevik Party under Lenin and Trotsky, and the implacable struggle, led by Leon Trotsky, against the bureaucratic degeneration of the Soviet Union under Stalin.
In the 21st century, the IYSSE, SEP and ICFI are fighting to unify and mobilise 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.