Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 11 November 2009

Internationally young people fight for their rights

The last months of raging capitalist crisis have seen devastating attacks begin on the living standards of workers and youth around the world. However, alongside this, a powerful fightback has developed in a number of countries, as millions have said "we won't pay for your crisis!" Young people have been to the fore in many countries.

Austria: United action

Two weeks after an occupation of Vienna University's main lecture hall, a joint day of action by university students, school students and workers took place on 5 November. There are currently occupations and protests in all university cities in Austria.

Laura Rafetseder, Socialist Left Party (SLP, CWI in Austria)

Students marched for free education and adequate funding for universities.

The protests started in the morning, with a joint rally and demonstration of metal workers and students. Metal workers were protesting for higher wages. The university students had sent greetings of solidarity to workplace meetings and joined workers' protests. Metal workers had visited the occupation bringing food and support. The joint protest was mainly down to an initiative proposed by the SLP.

In the afternoon, demonstrations began at different universities and converged for a final rally. Among the 20,000 demonstrators were shop stewards representing Vienna university staff, kindergarten workers, metal workers and school students. The linking up of struggles is an important development.

Both the kindergarten workers' struggle and that of the students are offensive struggles for sufficient funding - despite the economic crisis. The majority of the population think the protests are justified as conditions in education are deteriorating.

The protests are inspiring students in other countries - six universities in Germany were occupied in solidarity with the movement in Austria.

The coalition government seems to be uncertain about how to react and seems to be wavering between a hardline position and making concessions. Some are trying to blame German students for the lack of resources but this does not work, as German and migrant students are part of the protests and the movement rejects any kind of racism or discrimination.

Fighting can win

The 34 million that has been promised by the government will not be enough. But this is a sign that concessions can be won by determined struggle. That the government is trying to give the impression of looking for money for the universities in the budget is fuelling the students' hunger for more.

The science and education minister, Hahn, has agreed to talk to activists on 25 November. The SLP is suggesting a national education conference to bring students together to discuss the demands for these talks, elect representatives to speak to Hahn and discuss the next steps. The SLP suggests a demonstration outside the talks be called for 25 November to strengthen the students' hand.

On 28 November, a demonstration against the capitalist crisis will take place. This would be a good opportunity to further unite the different students' and workers' struggles under a clear anti-capitalist banner.

California: United university walkout

At one time, California set the bar for the nation's idea of what public education was supposed to look like. University of California (UC) was never perfect: there was never free tuition, full funding, or open admissions. Still, it provided educational opportunity virtually unrivalled in the US, up to the end of the last century.

Last July, faced with a $26.3 billion budget deficit, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger approved a $15 billion dollar cut in state spending, including $6 billion from schools and $3 billion from colleges while refusing to raise taxes on the very richest Californians.

While students, faculty, and university staff are made to pay the price for these budget cuts through tuition hikes, furloughs, layoffs, and increased class sizes, the UC Regents [the university's governors] approved pay and benefit increases for themselves of up to 30% on salaries which already ranged from $200,000 to $400,000! This followed a series of similar increases in July.

Thousands of UC faculty, students, and staff joined together in solidarity in a walkout in September to shut down campuses all over the state. The UC Student Association and over 1,200 faculty members endorsed the walkout. The Coalition of University Employees, representing over 13,000 staff statewide, voted to not cross the picket line.

Devin Letzer, Socialist Alternative (CWI in US)

France: Linking struggle with ideas

Cecile, a youth organiser from Gauche Revolutionnaire, the Socialist Party's sister organisation in France was one of those who attended the Youth Fight for Jobs session at Socialism 2009. She described how young people in France face a similar situation to those in Britain.

Under the Sarkozy government unemployment among under-25s has risen by 35% and, as in the UK, the financial crisis is giving the government an excuse to carry out vicious cuts in education.

"This year there have been 16,500 job cuts in education, and that follows 22,000 last year," said Cecile. "Now average class sizes are over 35, driving the quality of education down."

However, in France there is a tradition of mass movements that YFJ can learn from.

"There are one or two mass movements of youth each year and we are clear in our demands. We want a future and we will not let capitalism destroy that future. The fight for jobs and the fight for our future must be related to a fight for a better society."

Ben Norman, Portsmouth YFJ

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 11 November 2009:

Fight for real jobs and free education

War and occupation

End the war in Afghanistan: Bring the troops back now!

Socialism 2009

Socialism 2009: An excellent weekend!

Postal workers strike

Postal workers force management back

Defend the four campaign

Unison witch-hunt: Defend the Four campaign gets a boost

Campaign for a New Workers Party

RMT conference on political representation

International socialist news and analysis

20 years after fall of Berlin Wall, capitalist triumphalism turns rotten

General Motors - no to 'divide and rule' in Germany

Ireland: 90,000 march against government cuts

United Socialist Party congress delegates defy difficult conditions in Sri Lanka

Socialist Party workplace news

Leeds bin strike - week ten

London bus strike

Strikes force concessions

Steelworkers get organised and score a victory over bonus payments


College strike

Young People

Big business fights for fees: Students must fight back

Internationally young people fight for their rights

Socialist Party review

Reclaim the game by John Reid

Anti-fascists tactics - What happened in Newport?


Home   |   The Socialist 11 November 2009   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleAustria: Far right temporarily halted

triangleEurope and the workers' movement after Brexit

triangleLiverpool Socialist Party: Neo-fascism rising in Austria?

triangleAustria - Hofer defeated, but far-right threat remains

triangleRefugee crisis: cruel capitalist regimes responsible


triangleThe fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

triangleChe Guevara 50 years on - revolutionary socialist and fighter

triangleExtreme weather events and global warming

triangleSouth-East London Socialist Party: USA - The fight against Trump and the struggle for a socialist alternative

Young people:

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleWest London Socialist Party: Young people need socialism!


triangleFrench Labour reform protests

triangleFrench elections: Macron's win


triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


triangleSocialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea


triangleSchools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now




Hong Kong

Campaign against political repression in Hong Kong



Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't



Solidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide



Eyewitness: Irish socialist MP participates in events



Exemplary resistance by the people of Catalonia



Germany: Election results in political earthquake



Strike against Madrid's 'state of emergency'!



German elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance



French Labour reform protests



Catalonia: Student strike called



Brutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis



Solidarity with Catalonia in the Spanish state



Berlin hospital strike



Korean peninsula: is nuclear war likely?



Interview with leader of students' union in the Spanish state: "When we fight, we win!"

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice