Socialist Students. Photo: Mary Finch
Socialist Students. Photo: Mary Finch

Scott Hunter, Swindon Socialist Party

Prices going up, wages staying the same, public services gutted, and, behind these, the spectre of climate change and war. As we’ve grown up, we’ve seen living conditions driven down and the world descend further into crisis.

University education, once a path to a better life, is now a grim necessity for many to even start a career. Overcrowded classes, dilapidated accommodation, rents we can’t afford, and tens of thousands in debt, knowing that whatever job you get after graduation, the wages will be worth less than they were when you started the course!

No wonder the majority of young people in Britain say they want to live in a socialist system. More than 75% of under-35s agree that climate change is a specifically capitalist problem; that capitalism is to blame for Britain’s housing crisis; they support the renationalisation of energy, water, and railways; and want the private sector out of the NHS, according to capitalist thinktank the Institute of Economic Affairs.

So what do we do? The Jeremy Corbyn experience showed the hard limits of trying to reform the system. His soft approach was met with a hard and immediate pushback from the capitalist class, who utilised all the weapons at their disposal – including within the Labour Party – to keep him and his policies out of Downing Street.

Do we need to be even softer next time, to avoid angering the capitalists? No! We should learn the lessons from the left-wing Allende government in Chile – overthrown in a bloody coup 50 years ago this month (see ‘Chile coup 50 years on’) – that the capitalist class will never compromise when their control of society and the economy is on the line. They will destroy anything and everything – the economy, the country, our lives and even our planet – whatever it takes for them to keep their hands on their wealth.

Scale of capitalist crisis

That is the scale of the crisis of capitalism now before us, and the urgency of the battles working class and youth must fight – in Britain and throughout the world.

This means that we need a strong trade union movement – to fight for our immediate livelihoods and conditions in the workplaces. The strike wave of the past year has shown the way, forcing the bosses to give concessions.

We also need a militant and organised student movement to fight alongside the trade unions for fully funded free education for all, with guaranteed, well-paid jobs at the end, whatever your level of qualification.

Those movements would be strengthened further by a mass party of workers and youth, fighting in our interests in parliament, and in our communities and workplaces.

Above all, we need those young people, workers and students, who see the need for the socialist transformation of society, to join the Socialist Party. Fight with us to win these movements to a socialist programme – to take the vast wealth, big businesses and the banks into democratic public ownership, with no compensation for the fat cats, so things can be run to meet the needs of all, not for profit.

We can have a socialist future – a future without poverty, exploitation, injustice, and war. Join us in that fight.