IYSSE Declaration of Principles (UK)

Join the International Youth and Students for Social Equality!

What the IYSSE stands for

Mankind has entered the second decade of the 21st century beset by unemployment, wars, inequality and poverty.

Amid the deepening breakdown of the global capitalist economy, every region of the world is  becoming a potential flashpoint as rival powers battle over control of key markets and resources.

In the last decade Britain has been at the forefront of US-led wars: from Afghanistan and Iraq to the regime-change operation in Libya and threats against Iran, Syria and Russia. Each new imperialist crime prepares further crises and more terrible and broader conflicts.

The drive to war abroad is coupled with class war at home. Across Europe, entire countries are threatened with bankruptcy as their governments impose massive austerity programmes in line with the demands of the International Monetary Fund and the European Union (EU). Nationalism and anti-immigrant chauvinism are being promoted everywhere, while the EU emerges ever more openly as a centre for repression of popular opposition and the promotion of militarism.

In Britain, over two million people are officially unemployed, including a million young people. A million youth are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET). Hundreds of thousands are being denied a place at university and half of British universities face closure. Those who do get in face tuition fees of £9,000.

The Labour Party bears full responsibility for the raft of recent attacks on students and young people. Benefit entitlements for unemployed under-25s have been cut and youth are being forced onto workfare programmes. Those in work are increasingly on part-time or on zero-hour contracts. One in five—13 million people—live in poverty.

The obscene levels of social inequality drive the ruling class to attack all basic democratic rights. The “war on terrorism” is being repackaged as a “war on extremism” and for “British values,” heralding the criminalisation of any opposition to austerity and war. The police are being armed with rubber bullets and water cannon in anticipation of mass social explosions and upheavals.

A socialist programme

The crisis that began in 2008 has revealed itself as the failure of an entire social system—capitalism. The IYSSE insists that chronic social problems can only be solved through a socialist movement of working people. Human progress is blocked by the capitalist system, which subordinates all considerations to the drive for corporate profit and the accumulation of wealth for the few.

The IYSSE demands

    • Jobs for all who want to work! Billions for education and social programmes!
      Reallocate resources to provide employment for all those who need it, to meet the basic needs of the population.
    • End the wars!
      British imperialism, as junior partner of US imperialism, is seeking to re-conquer the globe and put the world’s colonial people back in chains. The British war machine must be dismantled, and the vast sums expended on it used to meet pressing social needs.
    • Defend democratic rights!
      The UK government’s domestic spying programmes must be ended and the spy agencies dismantled. All political prisoners, including Chelsea (Bradley) Manning must be freed, and the witch-hunt against Edward Snowden and Julian Assange must end.
    • For social equality! Nationalize the banks and major corporations!
      Democracy is incompatible with the levels of social inequality that now prevail. To break the financial oligarchy’s stranglehold over the economy, the IYSSE calls for the nationalisation of the banks and placing all large corporations under the democratic control of the population.

For the political independence of the working class

The issues youth and 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. Young people 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, which are dominated by well-heeled executives. They have collaborated with corporate management to impose wage cuts and job losses while seeking to tie workers to the Labour Party and oppose a struggle against the government. The IYSSE calls for the building of independent rank-and-file workplace, education, and neighbourhood committees to unify all workers and youth in a common struggle.

Above all, the working class needs its own genuinely socialist political party, in opposition to the Labour Party–a right wing representative of big business no different to the Conservatives. The UK is a democracy in name only; behind the façade of elections stands a corrupt political system totally beholden to the financial aristocracy.

The IYSSE seeks to build a mass political movement of the working class internationally that will fight for power, establish a workers’ government, and reorganise society on a democratic, egalitarian and rational basis.

For socialism and internationalism

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 and leads to the destruction of these forces through imperialist wars. None of the problems humanity confronts can be dealt with on a national level.

The problems faced by working people and youth of every country are fundamentally the same. The IYSSE opposes nationalism, including Scottish separatism, chauvinism and racism, which divide and weaken the working class. Working people everywhere must join together in a common struggle.

Socialism—the rational and democratic control of the economy to meet social need, not private profit—arises as a historical necessity from the breakdown of capitalism. The IYSSE has unshakable confidence in the development of an international socialist movement because socialism corresponds to the objective interests of the working class, the vast majority of humanity.

For the rebirth of the socialist movement

The International Youth and 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 in the UK, as part of an international socialist movement of the working class.

The IYSSE 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 a socialist programme.

The IYSSE, 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.

Join the fight for socialism! Join the IYSSE!

We urge students to study the programme, history and analysis presented on the World Socialist Web Site. Take the decision to join and build the IYSSE and help build a society at your college or university.