Free education, EMA, £10/hr, no zero-hours
Corbyn’s alternative for young people
Claire Laker-Mansfield, Socialist Students national organiser
Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto has been greeted with enormous enthusiasm by working class people but especially by young people.
Free education, a new EMA, an end to zero-hour contracts, a £10 an hour minimum wage and council house building: these are just some of the proposals that, if implemented, would go a long way towards transforming the lives of young people. No wonder some polls show Corbyn is around 20 points ahead among 18-24 year olds.
The manifesto represents a substantial break with the false ‘choice’ that has been presented by mainstream political parties at all the previous elections young people are able to remember. Instead of the uninspiring offer of ‘Tory-proper v Tory-lite’, we are instead being given an opportunity of a break with the failed politics of austerity – the chance to vote for an alternative.
But in order for the positive pledges outlined in the manifesto to be made a reality, young and working class people need to get organised. Corbyn should not only be calling on people to knock doors, but organising mass open-air rallies, advertised in advance so thousands of people can attend.
There should be huge meetings at schools, colleges and universities, and demonstrations to show support for policies like free education. That’s why wherever we are present, Socialist Students is organising to do just that.
Seize the opportunity
As young people, we need to seize this opportunity to help build and mobilise a mass movement – a movement that will not stop when the election results are announced on 9 June.
If Corbyn is elected, we will need to be organised to fight so that he can implement these policies and go further. That means he must be prepared to face down the Blairite saboteurs and win.
It means that we must be ready to fight for Corbyn to go beyond this good but still limited manifesto – not only abolishing tuition fees but writing off student debt and introducing universal living grants, for example.
Socialist Students has had a fantastic response to our ideas at colleges and universities. At one college in Waltham Forest, students voted overwhelmingly (96%) to back Jeremy Corbyn and his policies over Theresa May’s fee hikes and austerity.
This gives an indication of the huge support that exists for left-wing policies. Now this support must be harnessed and galvanised into a mass movement to win socialist change.