Young Lives Matter
We are the generation that is experiencing the second capitalist crisis in just over ten years. The reality is that, for the youth, working conditions are getting worse and the situation in education is also decadent, deplorable. Increased super-exploitation, increasing precariousness in everything, in life. Our generation grew up convinced that most of us could never obtain basic social rights and that we would surely live worse than our parents. And this started before, long before, COVID-19 appeared. Our generation registers illiteracy, unemployment, catastrophes, bankruptcies, environmental depredation, racism, sexism, homophobia and repression as images of the system. So it should come as no surprise that our reaction around the world is one of rebellion, uprisings, protests and profound opposition to capitalism: this is the result of our concrete life experience. The system is against us.
They prepare the only response they know
The entire project of civilization is creaking. The pandemic came to reinforce all the contradictions of a disintegrating social order. The ruling elite, which holds world power, is disoriented. It lags behind COVID-19 and improvises, but its class reaction, its instinct as an exploiting minority makes it act in a single direction. Marx said that capital exhausts the two fundamental sources of the generation of social wealth: the working class and nature. And in crises, the system adjusts all the conditions of this mechanism of social destruction. To get out of their trap, when the profitability of their businesses declines, they resort to intensifying the exploitation of the working class and the destruction of nature. So far in the 21st century, the system has amplified all forms of barbarism with the permanent economic goal of ensuring the profit of the 1% that dominates the economy. Racism in its various expressions, xenophobia, sexism, and national oppression, are used to divide the majority with ideologies of hate, to economically exploit stigmatized sectors and to ensure profits for large global corporations. Of course, governments around the world are the instruments that execute that orientation and the trade union bureaucracies offer no resistance. The pandemic is exacerbating the bankruptcy of the economy. The perspective prepared by the global bourgeoisie brings more of all their worst: tightening the terms of economic exploitation and all forms of oppression on the majority, with special cruelty towards us, the youth.
Humane capitalism, a reactionary utopia
The system´s propagandists, but also their “progressive” associates, predicted the “freezing” of struggles at the beginning of COVID-19. They told us that the pandemic postponed protests and rebellions to a distant future. Then the rebellion arrived in the heart of the empire, in the United States, to bury all that poison of skepticism! And the masses of Lebanon, France, Brazil, and the whole of Latin America began to move to the streets with fury! And a fundamental feature of these rebellions, of these struggles that are taking place around the world, is the leading role of the youth: those of us with precarious or no work, those of us who study, the racialized youth, the women and the LGBT movement. We fight occupying the streets and confronting everything that opposes us. The governments, their parties, their intellectuals, their media, want us to believe that there is a good version of capitalism. That what is failing is its “neoliberal” version. They say there is a “progressive,” “humane” model of capitalism. This is the typical ideological campaign in times of crisis, when fear of revolution corners those at the top! They want to deflect rebellions, they want to separate the rebellious vanguard from socialist ideas and our organizations. But the only thing they have to offer us are words, speeches.
Let´s unite everything they divide: for a collective solution
The struggle against the system cannot limit itself to partial demands. Social movements are a powerful energy that weakens governments, regimes, and capitalism. But they are not enough if they only raise a particular program, be it against racism, against sexist oppression, homophobic oppression or socio-environmental depredation. “Identity politics”, as an ideology that divides oppressions into separate compartments and establishes the “deconstruction” of the oppressors and the “self-knowledge” of the oppressed as tasks, has an insurmountable weakness: it does not question capitalism as a whole, nor does it propose its replacement by another form of global social organization. Neither can the logic of electoral politics, within the framework of this capitalist democracy, be the strategic path to secure our rights. We are militants of all causes, we intervene in social movements as consistent militants. We also use electoral struggle to strengthen our socialist positions. But the State and all its institutions serve the ruling class. Making demands to them can serve to achieve some temporary gains, and we do not underestimate this. But to ensure lasting changes, that State must be dismantled and a path must be opened for a government of those below, the working class, the youth and all the oppressed. And for that, the starting point is to unite all our demands and the actions needed to materialize structural responses into a single platform. With mobilization, with democratic self-organization as a lever to win the fundamental fight and build the seeds of new institutions, not to reform the system, but to replace it with another one: socialism. On that path, we include the right to self-defense against all expressions of the reactionary right, against repression and against fascism.
They make our lives precarious, we oppose them with our causes
The youth, together with the working class in general, is one of the sectors most directly hit by capitalist decadence. They make our entire lives precarious: those of us who are able to find work are treated as disposable material, without rights; in education we face unaffordable fees and privatization, the logic of the market and authoritarianism. The system jeopardizes the future of the world. We rebel to unite our energy to the working class and the peoples, to reorganize everything on new bases:
*Against job insecurity, we are not disposable: on the labor front, we fight for work for everyone, shorter working hours and with an income equivalent to the cost of living. Our approach is to distribute the available work among the entire workforce, reduce the workday to 6 hours for 5 days a week. Technological innovation, we claim, should not replace people with machines, but lighten the collective social burden. Work to live, not live to work. Social leisure time, as a right, not as a minority privilege.
*Against the technological gap in education, total equality: The pandemic and confinement in many parts of the world exacerbated social inequalities in education. Online courses become a technological gap for millions of students who do not have connectivity or electronic devices. Therefore, we reaffirm our demand for universal access, permanence and graduation at all levels of education. We demand that states ensure connectivity and devices to all students, without exception. We fight for secular education and the right of democratic organization of the student movement. For academic freedom and against single thought. For curricular guidelines discussed and democratically voted by students and the entire community, associated with the needs of working people. For state monopoly on education. For the necessary budget, based on eliminating subsidies to private education and taxes on banks and large fortunes. For democratically elected governing bodies in education made up of representatives of the students, faculty and university workers, with student majority.
*Against racism in all its forms: In Capital, Marx wrote that “labor in white skin can never free itself as long as labor in black skin is branded.” The Youth, the working class, are international, ethnically diverse and with diverse identities. The repressive apparatus of the State must be dismantled! We are for the abolition of all discriminatory, racist, coercive legislation and all forms of segregation. Legal equality and real equality for all the youth of the world.
*Against sexism, homophobia and all ideologies of hate: We must fight against gender oppression of women and LGBT people. It is essential to fight for all the rights of young women, workers and students. Labor rights to full wage equality. On the democratic field, legal abortion and the right to decide over one’s own body. In the same sense, abolish all homophobic and trans-hating legislation, in favor of total and complete personal freedom. We raise the need for a true scientific and Comprehensive Sex Education, without clerical interference. And of course: the separation of churches and states, cutting state funding for churches.
*Against national oppressions, for the right of self-determination: Capitalism uses national borders and the false ideology of “patriotism”, to instigate divisions among peoples and subdue them. We defend the democratic right to self-determination of all the peoples who claim it. Although we do not promote the multiplication of borders, but rather their definitive abolition, we stand with Lenin´s view that a people that oppresses other peoples cannot itself be free, and that is why we are for the right to national self-determination, as well as in favor of the fight against the colonial oppression of peoples. We stand with the Palestinian people, the Kurdish people, with the people of Kashmir, with the Saharawi youth, with the Irish people, with the Catalans, the Basques and, in addition, we fight for the recognition of the territorial claims of expropriated native peoples.
*Against ecocidal depredation: because the system´s production and consumption matrix is the executioner of nature and collective health, corporations must be stripped of all the economy´s strings. Everything must be democratically planned on the basis of social needs, not private profitability. For a comprehensive and scientific Socio-Environmental Education against all variants of individual guilt. Replace the polluting hydrocarbon energy model with clean and renewable ones. In short: for a social metabolism friendly with ecosystems, not predatory.
* Against real estate speculation, for the right to Housing: capitalism commodifies everything. Land in the countryside, expropriating peasants and native communities, through agribusiness. In the cities it operates in the same way. The appropriation of public space for the development of large speculative real estate ventures, affects the youth who work and study. We are hostages of those corporations that make it impossible for us to access our own home and rents take up to 50% or more of our miserable incomes. We fight for the universal right to housing for youth. With zero-rate loans, insured by the State, equivalent to a stable proportion of the income of each young person.
*Against the commodification of culture: the logic of the market appropriates everything. Art and all forms of youth culture try to be captured by the logic of profit under capitalism. We fight for another sense of art. We promote total freedom, we promote rebellious, irreverent art. the complete emancipation of the cultural expressions of youth, without commercial interference, without state tutelage.
*Against digital censorship, free connectivity: social networks are a communication resource and like everything else under capitalism, a business niche. Free connectivity, full availability of data and Wi-Fi must be social rights, without interference from the magnates of the tech companies, or the governments of the world with their devices of espionage and censorship.
*Against false anti-worker ideologies: neither the working class disappeared nor has it lost its centrality given by its position in the economy. There is no robotization or artificial intelligence to replace it. Therefore, our banner is the unity of the entire working class, to direct society as a whole. The youth is not separated from all the sectors of the people attacked by capitalism. The strategic unity with the working class, under its hegemony as a social subject, to reorganize everything, is the banner that we raise.
*Against the “pandemic” of skepticism: the defeated, the cowards, never present themselves as such. They invent a justification for their friendly role with the capitalists. The approach of “reforming the system”, of “humanizing it” or the “progressive” versions are the worst virus: the lack of belief in the revolution that is needed. We fight against them, organized, conscious, with our politics.
*Against the right and proto-fascisms: polarization is growing. In response to mass action and in the face of the debacle of reformists that promise concessions, but have no margin to do so, the most reactionary right is preparing and, where they can, they act. They have a program: a leap in exploitative barbarism. They must be defeated relentlessly. On the streets, politically and with strong anti-capitalist and socialist measures. Our organizations will be at the vanguard of the antifascist struggle.
* Against the false democracy of capital: those who rule in the economy with private ownership of the fundamental strings of production, rule in State institutions. Traditional parties, their government officials, are a caste full of material privileges and corrupt impunity. They are enemies of all the youth who fight. Our perspective is for a true democracy of the majority, without privileged castes, with revocability of mandates, with wages equivalent to that of a worker. With social control from the bottom up.
* Against all imperialisms, with the struggles of the peoples: the weakening of US hegemony is a fact. At the same time, the neo-Stalinists and reformists of the world propose Chinese imperialism as an alternative, as a progressive camp for the masses and youth of the world. We say: there is no good imperialism, they are all based on the exploitation of the peoples of the world and their own working class. We fight against all of them. Our trench is with the peoples that suffer imperialist policies and their executing arms. In particular, we stand with the Palestinian people and the Arab revolution, against the Zionist State of Israel, and its end through a Socialist Revolution of Arab and Jewish workers and youth.
Our policy for the revolution, to turn everything around
We live in a stage of rebellions and revolutions. An extraordinary stage of crisis, it is true; but also of windows of opportunity to tear down walls and build bridges to another way of life. We vindicate the right to revolution. Our identity is socialist, for an organization of the world without exploitation, without oppression, without national borders. We have nothing to do with the bureaucratic experiences of the past, nor with those of the present in Venezuela or Nicaragua, nor with Chinese state capitalism. None of those countries is socialist. The right and the reformists use them to confuse people. We distance ourselves from those capitalist projects and governments. Our call is to pour all our energy into building political organizations that fight for a government of the working class. We fight to build an international organization to be the tool to win the war that capitalism has declared on us. The youth of the International Socialist League and fellow youth organizations that sign this Manifesto, want to contribute to that dream, to that need, to that urgency: the social revolution to be the owners of our present, of our future. We are calling you to a true rescue of the world against the disintegration to which the 1% leads us. On all continents. In all languages. Because young lives matter. Because we have to turn everything around. Our time is now.
Courtesy International Socialist League