What We Stand For

Education

  • Abolish tuition fees. Write off student debt.
  • Restore EMA. Campaign for full living grants to cover the living costs of all students in post-16 education – including those at university.
  • No to higher and further education funding cuts. Defend every course, job and service.
  • No to academies and Free Schools.
  • For exam boards and all other privatised services to be taken back into public ownership – no repeat of this year’s exam mistakes fiasco!
  • Stop the marketisation and privatisation of universities in Britain. No to
    the government’s white paper and a two-tier Higher Education system. No
    university should be allowed to go to the wall!
  • Lift the cap on places and publicly fund the expansion of high quality higher
    education.
  • Build local anti-cuts campaigns and ‘Youth Fight for Education’ groups in every school, college and university, linked on both a regional and a national level.
  • Support action taken by education workers to defend their conditions and our education –their fight is our fight.
  • For the transformation of Students’ Unions into fighting organisations, with
    bottom-up democratic structures.
  • For a fighting NUS.
  • For education that is fully funded, publicly owned, democratically run and
    universally free at all levels – a socialist education system.

Work and Welfare

  • Support the Youth Fight for Jobs campaign.
  • No to mass youth unemployment- for a decent job for all.
  • No  to the government’s slave labour ‘workfare’ schemes. For decent training opportunities and apprenticeships for young people which pay at least the minimum wage, with a guaranteed job at the end.
  • No job losses in the public or private sector. When private bosses claim they can’t afford to maintain jobs, we say open the books. Let us see where the money has gone.
  • For nationalisation of companies threatening closure, under democratic control with compensation given on the basis of proven need.
  • Fight for a minimum wage of at least £8 an hour as a step towards a living wage.
  • No cuts to housing or other benefits.
  • End lower benefit rates for young people – for the right to Job Seekers Allowance at 16.
  • No to ‘workfare’ and slave labour internships. For decent jobs paid at least a minimum wage of £8 an hour.
  • Support the National Shop Stewards’ Network anti-cuts campaign which fights all cuts to jobs and services
  • The immediate re-opening of all youth services that have been closed, including reinstating sacked staff.

Rights

  • Defend the right to protest. No to the victimisation of student protesters. For the right to organise in every school, college and campus.
  • No to ‘kettling’ and police violence on demonstrations.
  • No to racism, sexism, homophobia and all other forms of discrimination.
  • Fight the far-right racist BNP and EDL. Jobs, homes and services- not racism. Build mass campaigns to defend communities.
  • No platform for fascists in education.
  • Rape is never the victim’s fault. For a mass campaign against sexism.
  • No to reactionary attacks on women’s rights.
  • Defend and extend abortion rights.
  • No to the three main bosses’ parties. For a new mass workers’ party that fights in the interests of ordinary people.

 

For International Solidarity and Socialism

  • For solidarity between working class and young people across the world.
  • Solidarity with the Arab Spring – No to western intervention – it is on behalf of big business and capitalism.
  • No to war and imperialist intervention. For the Immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • End the siege of Gaza.
  • No to Trident nuclear missile replacement
  • Support the Sri Lanka Tamil Solidarity campaign – for the right of all people to self-determination.
  • No to environmental destruction. For a sustainable democratic socialist plan of production that won’t destroy the planet.
  • No to capitalism. For a socialist world, where the big monopolies are taken into public ownership, the economy is democratically planned and resources are used to meet the needs of all humanity.

 

4 comments

  1. Dave says:

    Although it would be excellent to live in the world you describe – how can the country abolish tuition and still be able to afford to up minimum wage to £8 an hour, plus find another million or so jobs.
    + Rape still isn’t seen as the victim’s fault – but it’s innocent until proven guilty and unfortunately, it’s hard to prove the guilty party.

    • admin says:

      Hi Dave,

      Thanks for your comment. Sorry this is such a long response but your question in some ways gets right to the heart of socialist ideas and how we explain them. I hope this answer is useful for you and for anyone else who reads it.

      To answer your first point which is basically ‘where would the money come from?’ – we’d start off by pointing to the £120bn that goes uncollected in tax from the super rich every year, to the billions that have been spent on bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the pathetically low rates of tax which coorperations and the rich are expected to pay (most of which they still avoid) and to the massive sums which governments were able to miraculously find in order to bail out the banks and save their system (£400 bn in Britain). Your question was worded as how could ‘the country’ afford these things. To point out just a few statistics: Britain is the 4th richest country world, last year British ‘blue chip’ companies made over £150bn pounds in profits and in 2008 – the year of the massive financial collapse that began the economic crisis – bankers were given £40 billion pounds in bonuses. So the point that there isn’t any money out there doesn’t really hold much water. The problem is that the money there is is concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority – most of us see hardly any of it.

      But we’re not naive. We don’t think that you could solve all our problems simply by increasing taxes on the wealthty. You might rightly point out that they would simply take their money abroad to tax havens. Equally, you might make the same arguments about the minimum wage – if we make companies pay decent wages they’ll just go elsewhere. But our response to those arguments is clear. If the wealthy are going to hold us to ransome in that way – to say they won’t pay tax or they won’t pay their workers enough live decently – then we say that their wealth & their companies should be taken into public ownership and run democratically.

      But hang on, you might say, surely you can’t take the wealth off the rich- that’s their property! To answer that point you have to look at where ‘their’ wealth has come from. In reality the rich and powerful have made their money off the backs of ordinary , working people. Wealth is produced by turning the natural ressources of the earth into things which people can use. It’s working people who do this – in the mines, the factories and so on. Workers also develop the technology to make more and more useful and intelligent things (engineers, scientists etc – they’re all workers). And it’s workers who provide all the services that keep society running and allow wealth to be produced. The problem is that workers never see the full fruits of their labour. A big proportion of the wealth that workers produce is creamed off and taken in profits by people who did no work, people who simply own the means of production (factories, companies business etc). These people – the super rich capitalists – play no useful role in our society. Their role is purely parasitic.

      Sometimes the argument is made that the capitalists’ are useful as their role is to invest in production and create jobs. But in reality they will only invest in production where they see the potential to make big profits – not to produce things they see as being socially useful. And besides, this way of organising things leads inevitably to periods of crisis. The working class (as an aggregate) will never be able to buy back all the goods that they produce. This is because the money capitalists cream off in profits is taken out of the wages of workers, meaning they’re paid less money than the value of whatever they’ve made. This problem can be temorarily overcome by capitalists reinvesting the profits or by the extension of credit. But eventually the same problem comes back to bite them. During times of crisis, the capitalist class sees few profitable outlets for investement in production (because workers won’t be able to buy what’s produced). So the capitalists instead hoard their profits in banks rather than reinvesting it. Production can also go backwards at these times as companies (failing to make big enough profit) start shedding jobs, closing factories etc. We’re in one of these periods at the moment. Since the start of the financial crisis, wealth equivelant to that produced in a whole year of production worldwide has been wiped out – destroyed in the recession.

      But what’s different about socialists is that we don’t accept that this situation is inevitable. We say we don’t have to have a society in which the capitalists, or the 1%, are able to make misery for the 99%. We want a society where the banks, big businesses, factories, shopping chains and other massive monopolies are taken into public ownership and run under democratic working class control. We would invest in production to meet social need – not to satisfy capitalist greed. We would therefore be able to create jobs, because we wouldn’t be held back by the need to make profit. If we took into public ownership the commanding heights of the economy, ordinary people could plan production and distribution of goods and services democratically, rather than leaving things to the anarchy of the market.

      So perhaps your next question would be something like- that’s all very well and good as an idea but how could you get there? To answer that question we have to look at how working class people have won things in the past. It was through mass struggle, by workers organising themselves in trade unions, and by workers moving onto the poitical plane – setting up parties to represent their interests – that we won things like the NHS, the welfare state, better wages, weekends, holidays, pensions etc. But today our tasks are even greater. All the victories we have won in the past face being eroded. The government is trying to cut our future. But because of the deep crisis capitalism is in, it can hardly afford to grant to grant concessions. So the fight against cuts is inextricably linked to the struggle to change society fundamentally. Through winning concessions and reforms ordinary people gain a sense of their own power – a power that can change the world. We need to unite with working class people around the world who face the same struggle against brutal capitalist governments. Socialist Students is all about building support for these kinds of ideas amongst young people today and fighting back against cuts and austerity.

      I haven’t been able to fully explain all of our ideas in this reply but I hope it’s helped to clarify some of those points.

      On the question of rape, unfortunately not all of society is a clear as you about rape not being the victim’s fault. She was ‘asking for it’ is a common phrase used when a woman is drunk, wearing a particular form of clothing etc. An example of this is the comments of a canadian policeman who sparked the world wide ‘Slutwalk protests’. There’s a bit more info on women in the article on fighting sexism in ‘megaphone’. The PDF is on the website.

  2. Samuel says:

    Hello,

    I am writing in the hope of finding other students here who are willing to take a stand against the fascist, racist ethnic cleansing going one AT THIS MOMENT in Essex. We can not stand by as our fellow human beings (including vulnerable children, elderly, and disabled people) are treated as animals merely on account of their ethnicity.

    I am currently at Cambridge, where most students are sitting comfortably in their privilege, but I hope you can put me in touch with others who do care.

    Samuel

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