An introduction to the ISSE
Worldwide, billions live in hunger and humanity is beset by unending wars. Across Europe, entire countries are threatened with bankruptcy and their governments are imposing massive austerity programmes in line with the demands of the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.
Two and a half million people in the UK are officially unemployed, including a million young people. The real figure is much larger. A million youth are “Not in Education, Employment or Training”. Hundreds of thousands of students are being denied a place at university and the door will be closed to many more when £9,000 tuition fees are imposed next year as courses and entire universities are closed due to cuts in central funding.
More than a trillion pounds was handed over to the banks by the previous Labour government. Now the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition is imposing a hundred billion pound cuts to make working people pay for the criminal activities of the financial elite, which has exploited a crisis of its making to vastly enrich itself.
This war against working people is coupled with war abroad. Continuing Bush’s “wars of the 21st century,” US President Obama has launched a “surge” in Afghanistan and a new imperialist war against Libya, together with threats against countries including Iran and China. This imperialist strategy enjoyed the full support of the previous Labour government and is now backed to the hilt by the Tories and Liberal Democrats.
The issues students face—including high tuition, joblessness, debts, and the starving of resources for public education—are inseparable from the broader questions confronting the working class. None of these problems can be solved in schools and campuses alone. Students seeking to oppose social inequality, unemployment, and war must reach out to workers throughout the country and internationally.
A turn to the working class does not mean support for the trade unions. These organisations, supposed defenders of the working class, are in reality dominated by well-heeled executives and partners of corporate management. They have collaborated to impose wage cuts and job losses while seeking to keep workers tied to the Labour Party and to oppose a struggle against the government. Against the existing trade unions, the ISSE calls for the building of independent rank-and-file workplace, education, and neighbourhood committees to unify various sections of workers and youth in a common struggle.
The ISSE seeks to build a mass political movement of the working class that will fight for power, establish a workers’ government, and reorganise society on a democratic, egalitarian and rational basis.
The two basic features of capitalism—private ownership of the means of production and the division of the world economy along national lines—block the rational use and development of mankind’s productive forces. None of the problems humanity confronts can be dealt with on a national level.
The International Students for Social Equality, the student movement of the Socialist Equality Party and the International Committee of the Fourth International, fights for the revival of a socialist movement among young people throughout the country, as part of an international socialist movement of the entire working class.
The ISSE stands in the tradition of genuine revolutionary socialist internationalism, from the origins of Marxism in the 1840s, through the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the implacable struggle, led by Leon Trotsky, against the bureaucratic degeneration of the Soviet Union under Stalin. Throughout the 20th century, the Trotskyist movement opposed Stalinism, reformism and all attempts to find substitutes for the independent revolutionary mobilisation of the working class on the basis of a socialist program.
In the 21st century, the ISSE, SEP and ICFI are fighting to unify and mobilize the working class and youth internationally, to prepare the working class for the conquest of political power and the establishment of a genuinely democratic, egalitarian and socialist society. We call on students and young people to take forward this fight and build the ISSE.
We urge all students to study the programme, history and analysis presented on the World Socialist Web Site. Make the decision to join and build the ISSE and help build a society of the ISSE at your college or university.