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From: The Socialist issue 1128, 7 April 2021: Pay NHS staff 15%!

Search site for keywords: Young people - Youth - Unite - Students - Socialist - Capitalism

The system is broken... youth unite and fight back

Demonstrating to defend the right to protest in Sheffield. Photo: Yorkshire Socialist Party

Demonstrating to defend the right to protest in Sheffield. Photo: Yorkshire Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

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.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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