REVOLUTION sends our fraternal greetings to all youth taking part in the Quebec Student Strike. We address this letter in a spirit of solidarity and recognition that your struggle is the same being fought in the universities, squares and schools across Europe.
On June 22nd global ‘Casserole’ protests marked the birth of an international solidarity movement.
From Montreal to Madrid, youth have been in the vanguard of opposition to the crisis. Revolutions against dictatorship and occupations against austerity have put youth on the frontline of the international class struggle.
Since February 13th 150,000 students have joined an indefinite general strike against attempts to increase tuition fees by 75%. Hundreds of thousands more have staged boycotts, walkouts and solidarity action for over four months.
If fees were the spark, anger at wider attacks provided the fuel for a movement which has brought youth and workers into the streets to defy the batons, courts and tear gas of a regime with no solution but repression.
The defence of education led by the students of Quebec is an inspiration to all youth across the world waging their own resistance to cuts, poverty and unemployment.
Jean-Luc Charest’s ‘liberal’ government knows that it cannot permit a victorious student movement to signal to the world that resistance is necessary – and victory possible.
The success of the student assemblies and federations in drawing the government into a wider confrontation with education and public-sector workers is the key to the strike’s success.
But attempts to compromise and retreat show that young people alone cannot resist indefinitely.
The government refuses to negotiate – counting on dividing ‘moderate’ from ‘radical’, ‘privileged students’ from ‘struggling families’. The attacks on democratic rights imposed under Bill 78 gives Charest unlimited power to ban the right to strike, protest or assemble.
The strike movement has the initiative; now it must use it and answer the question ‘where next?’
With the students out of the way, the government will turn on the social spending for welfare programmes, calculating that making an example of the students will intimidate workers and youth into silence when their turn comes.
Success then, depends on whether we can transform a movement in defence of education into a working class resistance to the austerity offensive imposed by Charest and the federal government.
To the trade unions – the only social force capable of bringing down the government – we must say ‘our struggle is yours – and your struggles will only be strengthened by our victory’.
Raising common demands and taking united action on this basis is necessary to mobilise the forces necessary to stand up to the government’s violence and attempts to divide-and-rule.
Joint strike committees and democratic assemblies must be used to launch a national campaign in defence of education, against the social cuts and reverse the attacks on democratic rights.
The democratic structures uniting the unemployed alongside the youth and workers can form the basis for national action independent of the vacillating leaders of trade unions and reformist parties.
Now is not the time for compromise – the result of the crisis is that our health, education, pensions and wages will be slashed to inflate profit rates for a privileged minority class. Unemployment is used to reduce wages and intensify competition.
In every country capitalism has the least to offer to the youth. The capitalist solution to the crisis is simple – we, the youth and working class, will pay.
But in the schools, in the workplace and on the streets millions have shown that we refuse to pay for a crisis we didn’t cause.
We think we need to turn that courage and determination into a real force for social change. We want to build a revolutionary youth movement, armed with a programme which calls for the independent organisation of young people as part of the international class struggle.
The capitalist crisis has thrown up challenges new and old. From Sudan to Athens, youth are facing the question of how we can go beyond a system which offers no future – and says we must pay for the mistakes of the past.
The struggle for workers’ power and communism provides the only alternative for the oppressed, impoverished and exploited masses.
We appeal to all revolutionary youth to join us in building a new Youth International – a fighting organisation of young communists in every country, committed to a strategy of international working-class revolution.