Archive article from The Socialist Issue 298
Fight Capitalism, Change The System
MAY DAY is international workers' day. It began in the US in the late 19th century and is now traditionally a day when workers and young people demonstrate for our rights and against the continuing attacks we face under capitalism.
Clare James, ISR national co-ordinator
Over the past few years, the anti-capitalist movement in Britain has played a huge role in ensuring that young people celebrate May Day.
There are more and more things to protest about internationally. We still live in a world where an estimated 1.4 billion people live without clean drinking water; where more than eight million people die each year because of polluted water and dirty air and where more than one fifth of the world's population live in absolute poverty on $1 or less a day.
Yet amongst all this poverty and exploitation, US president George Bush was granted $74 billion (£47 billion) to fund the war on Iraq in pursuit of oil, power and prestige. Just a fraction of this, £13 billion, would ensure that everyone in the world would have access to clean water; the cost of one cruise missile, £530,000, would pay for 1,000 hand pump wells in Africa.
Capitalism is a system run for the greed, power and profit of a rich elite; the 200 richest people in the world own more wealth than the poorest 2.4 billion. As long as capitalism exists, the system will always put profit before people and there will always be war, poverty and exploitation.
Young people recognise this and that is why so many have taken part in and continue to identify themselves with the anti-capitalist movement.
Thousands of young people across the world got involved in organising strikes, protests and meetings as part of the huge anti-war movement. Many young people see that to stop war, we need to get organised and fight the system that causes it in the first place.
International Socialist Resistance (ISR) is continuing to help build the anti-war and anti-capitalist movements internationally. We must build on the links and support within the trade union movement and local communities - where working-class people are fighting against the effects of capitalism, such as low pay, cuts to public services and the destruction of the environment.
We believe it is vital that the socialist alternative is raised and discussed within the anti-capitalist movement. There is more than enough wealth to provide good standards of living and genuine democratic rights for everyone, but the top 20% of the richest in the world consume over 80% of all goods and services produced. That wealth needs to be taken out of private hands and used for the benefit of all. We need a socialist society, where democratic planning of the resources of the world could abolish poverty and war for good.
ISR IS an international anti-capitalist organisation run by and for young people.
As well as in England, Wales and Scotland, we have groups in Northern and Southern Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, France, Greece, South Africa, Kashmir, Brazil, Australia, USA and more.
We initiated the idea of school and college strikes against the war and helped to organise many of them.
We also campaign against low pay, the destruction of the environment, against the commercialisation and privatisation of our education against racism and on many other issues.
If you would like to join/get more info on ISR and link up with young people internationally:
020 8988 8791