Students - Capitalism Offers No Future

One of the most heartening features of the current student struggles is the fact that many (though not a majority, unfortunately) of students recognise that the struggle is not just about their education. Historically, the social position of students has changed dramatically.

In the 1926 General Strike the posh university students of the time took part in strikebreaking.

Even in 1968 when some students did try to link up with workers the majority were just playing games until they took up their future role as managers of capitalist society. Today the story is different. In the current occupations many students have recognised the need to unite with other parts of the college (calling for increased wages for low paid catering and cleaning staff for example or calling on the university not to implement cuts which would lead to redundancies). Some have gone even further by seeking to link up with striking workers, as the Manchester students did with the Heinz factory in Wigan [for more see “Unite Cans Heinz Struggle” in our periodical, Revolutionary Perspectives 56 or on our website]. This is no surprise. Students today are not just the managerial elite of the past but also the educated workers of the future. Nearly half the 18-21 population are in further or higher education. Most are the children of workers.

This was clearly recognised by workers at FIAT’s Mirafiori plant in Turin who sent out this appeal to hold a joint assembly in December.

"To university students and the world of education and training. In recent decades we have become increasingly poor.
This leads us to think that it is no longer possible to struggle as individuals or by sector; this leads us to believe that it is even more necessary to build a path to unity.

We want to be united in the struggle because we believe this is the only way to improve the opportunities of those who study and those who work. United, because both the world of labour and the world of study already have a precarious existence, and the present measures aim to make them worse.
United because the students of today will enter a precarious world of work and we, as our parents did, must do what we can to reject the remedies of those who only want to make “cash” from the lives of the weakest.
Today students and workers together can build a bridge where the world of education and the working and labouring class unite to develop a dialogue and a unity to reject the attacks of a society where only a few decide for the many.
For us it is important to get out of the factories.
We are convinced that it is necessary that the reality created everywhere by the widespread attacks of the government and the dominant class needs a first step of confrontation, of consciousness, of discussion which leads to the reinforcement of every struggle, so we can put in the field a force which is capable of turning things round and improving our living conditions.
For this we make an appeal for a Workers-Students Assembly in the shortest time possible to agree together soon after the day of action of 14 December."

Extract from an appeal from FIAT Workers of the Mirafiori Factory (full text on our website) Materially such unity is important. The students may occupy universities and may cause inconvenience to some sections of capital but the only collective producer class which has the capacity to stop the system in its tracks is the working class. The FIAT workers have recognised that the fight of the students is part of the fight for the next generation.

They have realised that this needs to be translated into active solidarity.

What is equally important is that the workers’ recognise that they need to have a form of struggle which draws in everyone so they have called for a united assembly of all. This mirrors what some French workers did last year as well as what has been happening in many of the university occupations around Britain. These assemblies allow everyone a voice in the direction of the struggle but they are not a panacea. Inside the student body there are many who have their own agenda. They either support the return of Labour or claim that the cuts are not really necessary, that the capitalist system can cough up and that all will be well in the end. The truth is more complex and so is the fight. A capitalist system that has its back to the wall of the severest crisis in two generations has no room to be persuaded of its errors. The fight is a war to the finish. Either the students and workers unite and fight for a new social order or capitalism wipes out all our futures.

Aurora (en)

Aurora is the broadsheet of the ICT for the interventions amongst the working class. It is published and distributed in several countries and languages. So far it has been distributed in UK, France, Italy, Canada, USA, Colombia.