The manifesto has been leaked. Corbyn has pledged to abolish fees and restore maintenance grants. After weeks of speculation, this is enormously welcome. Along with other bold pledges, including a £10 an hour minimum wage, the scrapping of zero hour contracts and policies to move towards nationalising rail, mail and energy, it will be greeted with huge enthusiasm – particularly among young people and students.
By contrast, Theresa May’s offer is nothing but more of the same. And despite her refrain that she and her government represent stability, the truth is this snap election is an expression of the turmoil gripping both her party and the capitalist establishment more widely. It is a gamble she can easily lose.
Far from being an inexorable impending disaster, as some have argued, this election actually presents working class and young people with a tremendous opportunity. As students, we must act to prepare our movement for the battles that are ahead – both in the time leading up to 8 June and in its aftermath.
Jeremy Corbyn won his position as Labour leader in two dramatic landslides. He did so by galvanising the enormous pent up rage that exists in society at politics on behalf of the rich 1% - at austerity, racism and war.
Since the general election has been called, Corbyn has begun to return to that bold approach. If he continues in this vein and goes further, he can inspire wider sections of the working class and ultimately defeat the Tories.
Since winning the leadership, Jeremy has faced constant sabotage from the Blairite rump that still dominates Labour in parliament and local councils. With the general election now weeks away, the right’s campaign of sabotage has not been put on hold. In fact, no sooner than the manifesto had hit the news, the right were beginning their campaign to undermine and amend it. Corbyn and McDonnell must resist all such attempts.
Indeed, it is important that the lessons of the last 18 months are taken on board. During this period, Corbyn’s approach of retreat and compromise has only served to embolden the right and sow understandable confusion as to what his party stands for.
That approach must now be decisively abandoned in favour of fighting for bold, socialist policies. Corbyn’s attacks on the ‘rigged economy’ and pledge to end austerity resonate with ordinary people. But he must also be equally bold in his campaigning methods. Corbyn should not just organise indoor meetings, but mass open-air rallies.
Among young people, Jeremy already has a clear lead. Of students who are registered to vote 55% plan to support Labour. As well as campaigning for more students to register, and for 16 year-olds to be given the vote, we should use this as an opportunity to discuss the politics that is needed to transform the lives of our generation. We should be building a movement that can continue to mobilise students to fight, whatever government we face following on from 8 June.
This election will not be won or lost on the basis of whether we can knock enough doors and hand out enough leaflets – as important as that may be. The most important question will be whether we can build a mass movement that can bring about a ‘political revolution’ and kick the Tories out.
Socialist Students is organising rallies and meetings on every campus that we are present. There should be protests and demonstrations against Tory austerity, calling for free education. We will be fighting for students to link up with NHS campaigners, trade unions, and community activists to build as much momentum as possible. And we will be unashamedly making the case for socialist change - for a society in the interests of the 99%.
If you want to be part of trying to build that kind of movement, join Socialist Students and get involved in the fightback today.
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Theresa May admits tuition fees system is broken - organise to kick out the rest of the Tories!