Adam Powell-Davies, Oxford Socialist Students
Covid-19 has brought a sense of crisis especially for young people. Workers under the age of 25 have accounted for two-thirds of job losses over the past twelve months. And university students have remained stuck in limbo between their childhood homes and halls of residence on campus, paying eye-watering tuition fees and rent.
This is a generation that has grown up in an age of Tory austerity, now facing the deepest crisis of global capitalism since the 1930s. Not surprisingly, an ever-growing number of students and young workers have reached the same conclusion: the system is broken.
It’s no coincidence that the younger generations have been the ones spearheading mass movements for change throughout the pandemic.
Young people came out in droves to oppose systemic racism in the Black Lives Matter protests, while the recent vigils for Sarah Everard, which highlighted an entrenched culture of sexism and violence against women, saw a resolute outpouring of young women in particular.
Both sets of demonstrations also singled out the oppressive role of the police in opposing social change and perpetuating inequality. This idea has been central to the ‘Kill the Bill’ protests, which have seen a considerable youth turnout. We must also not forget the rent strikes launched by university students across some fifty-odd campuses.
The fundamental sickness underpinning all forms of systemic oppression is capitalism. It must alarm the British capitalist class to see a new generation fighting en masse against the forms of division and institutions that prop up their rotten system. Young people must be organised on a united, socialist programme that connects all of these issues in the fight to end capitalism.
With the A-Level results U-turn last summer, scattered rent strike victories, and the heroic efforts of school students at Pimlico Academy (see page 4), young people have shown time and again that when we organise, we can win.
This is why Socialist Students will be out in over twenty locations on 21 April as part of a national day of action, demanding tuition fee and rent refunds as a first step towards winning free education for all. Young people are well and truly on the move.
- Join the Socialist Students day of action 21 April
- See socialiststudents.org.uk for action near you