Socialism: What it is and how to fight for it


A student and youth group fighting for genuine socialism at MIT

Students and young people are entering into political life amidst an unprecedented political crisis within the state apparatus, a growing danger of world war, escalating attacks on the working class and immigrants, and a political radicalization of workers and youth.

Many young people are looking for a way to oppose capitalism and inequality. A recent Gallup poll found that the percentage of young people viewing capitalism positively has dropped a stunning 23 percentage points in just eight years. The source of this change is not hard to find. In 2018, in the most “advanced” capitalist country in the world, workers, youth and students are struggling to survive. The younger generation faces a precarious job market, forced to work two or three jobs to make ends meet.

There is enormous opposition, particularly among young people, to Donald Trump, who personifies all that is reactionary and criminal in the American financial oligarchy. Since taking office, Trump has overseen a billion-dollar tax break for the wealthiest Americans, a ferocious attack on immigrants, a $717 billion military budget, and an escalation of the attack on public education.

The Democratic Party is no less subservient to Wall Street and the military-intelligence apparatus. Indeed, the Democrats have focused their opposition to Trump not on his fascistic policies, but on claims that he is too “soft” on Russia. The purpose of the Democrats’ anti-Russia campaign has been, on the one hand, to enforce a more aggressive foreign policy against Russia, and on the other, to justify an attack on democratic rights, including the censorship of the internet.

Young people looking for a way forward must first understand that nothing can be achieved within the existing political establishment and the two parties of the ruling class, the Democrats and Republicans.

While there is growing interest in socialism, there is still a limited understanding of what socialism is and how it can be achieved. But this is the decisive issue.

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) is building a club on the MIT campus to fight for genuine socialism. This means the fight for internationalism, for the unification of workers of all countries, for the abolishment of borders and for bringing the world’s political map into harmony with the international character of production. The working class is an international class. The problems workers face all around the world stem from the international capitalist system and must be countered with an international socialist program.

We fight for workers’ control of the means of production. Major banks and corporations must be placed under international social control and run democratically by the workers themselves to meet the needs of society, not private profit.

We fight against war and the militarization of society. The vast sums expended on militarism by all the capitalist powers must be used to meet pressing social needs, including education, healthcare and all social programs.

We fight for the defense and expansion of democratic rights. The massive U.S. surveillance apparatus must be dismantled, and the censorship of the Internet halted. The witch hunts against Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and other whistleblowers and journalists must end, as must the endless wave of police killings and the militarization of U.S. police forces.

We fight for historical truth and against the falsification of history. The development of a socialist movement today requires that workers and youth understand the essential experiences and lessons of the 20th century, and above all, the real history of the socialist movement — from the Russian Revolution through the Trotskyist opposition to Stalinism and social democracy.

The future is socialism, but it must be fought for. There is no time to lose. We encourage students and young people to get in touch with us at [email protected]. Join the IYSSE and take up the fight for socialism.

Genevieve Leigh is the National Secretary of the U.S. section of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE). The IYSSE is in the process of building a chapter on the MIT campus.


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