National Sections of the L5I:

Youth: majority on the streets – minority on the platforms

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For five years our movement has besieged the summits of the rich and the powerful. From Seattle to Genoa we have been clubbed, gassed and even shot by the forces of order. We have our martyrs – most famously Carlo Giuliani, gunned down on the streets of Genoa. When George Bush threatened the invasion and occupation of Iraq we launched a huge antiwar movement with global demonstrations millions strong.

This movement, that has already seen great struggles and momentous battles, must now go forward to face new challenges. It must take to the streets again, and show through mass direct action its intent; to build a world without classes, oppression, racism, war and imperialism.

Youth must be in the forefront of those who take up this task: the task of reclaiming our world, and fighting for our future. A future that the capitalists are destroying in their ruthless search of profit. It is no wonder that young people, burning with the desire to reclaim our future, have flooded into this movement, and taken their place on the fighting, militant wing of it.

From the thousands of youth who organized to shut down the meetings of the capitalist ministers and the imperialist institutions of the G8, IMF, WTO, to the thousands upon thousands of school and college students who took strike action against the war; it is the youth that have risked injury and even their lives in conflict with the state forces that will always defend this brutal system.

Yet it is not representatives of these youth who grace the platforms of the World and European Social Forums. We are there in our thousands but only on the floor of the seminars and plenaries, listening impatiently to the long speeches and empty platitudes of the leadership of this movement.

It is not that we cannot speak, not that we have nothing to say. They do not want to hear what we have to say! The organisers of the ESF and WSF have a holy fear of the voices and self organisation of the youth. Why? Because they fear our militancy and they fear our criticism of them. Therefore they gag us, they exclude us, or under pressure they “represent” us with a few young student union bureaucrats – the most carreerist, conservative, and malleable type of young people imagineable.

The World Social Forum was initiated by the academics, dignitaries and officers of third world NGOs with the support of the then opposition party in Brazil, the PT (now in government and carrying out the neo liberal policies dictated by the IMF). They do not really believe that another world is possible separate from that based on the market, private ownership or the capitalist state

They have dictated the “Porto Alegre principles” which ban the open participation of political parties and the taking of effective decision making – by votes. These principles are anti-democratic and inhibit the development of our movement as a fighting movement, that can decide on effective action and strategy to go forward. They are about controlling the movement and stopping it forming new political parties, that can challenge the power of the capitalists, by fighting for a new power – the power of the working class and oppressed.

What do the great and good leaders of this movement want? They want an international agency to lobby governments and corporations. We want a new working class International to lead the struggles of the exploited and oppressed to final victory.

They talk about reforming the IMF, the WTO and other similar bodies – which are bleeding three quarters of humanity with debt repayments and austerity programmes. We want to abolish them not reform them. We are fighting not just their neoliberal policies or George Bush’s wars and occupations, we are fighting the entire system which spawns them – CAPITALISM and IMPERIALISM.

We are openly and proudly anticapitalist and revolutionary. We believe that another world is possible: a socialist world. We can get there only along the road of global revolution. A revolution that must be led by the world’s working class alongside the urban and rural poor and the racially and nationally oppressed.

We will be fighting in the front ranks of this revolution.

We have important steps to take now. We are the ones who have fought on the streets, and we must now organise to fight again. We must form a revolutionary Youth International, an international political organisation that can unite the struggles of young people throughout the world. That can organise mass and effective action against this brutal system. By harnessing and organising the militancy of the youth in this movement we can take this movement forward towards victory. We can take our creativity, ingenuity and militancy, link it up with the power of the working class and oppressed and challenge for an anti-capitalist and revolutionary leadership of the social movements.

We can take the first step here and now if we create a co-ordination of representatives of the youth organisations of both political parties, trade union and other social movements to promote the actions we decide upon and to convene an international conference of youth in the year ahead.

We must take this struggle outside of Europe too – firstly to Porto Alegre in 2005. We must link up with young people, on all countries and on all continents.

This is the path that the ‘official’ leadership do not want us to go down. They do not want either debates on action or decisions as this would mean their reformism, their betrayals, would be called into question. If they succeed in this fatal course they will kill the movement.

We will not let them do it. We face new and new struggles in the year ahead. In Europe, a co-ordinated neo-liberal offensive is taking place against the workers, small farmers, and youth. Sweeping privatisation of industries and services, the ‘rolling back’ of the welfare state, attacks on the democratic rights of workers to form Trade Unions and take strike action. Meanwhile, they scapegoat immigrants and asylum seekers for the poverty of their system. We say enough is enough!

This project of an imperialist and fortress Europe, as a rival to the USA must be smashed. We do not tacitly support it but say loud and clear we are for a Socialist United States of Europe, with no capitalists, open to the workers and peasants of the world, aiding them in their struggles to throw off oppression and exploitation.

The bosses do everything in their power to divide us between “privileged”, “wealthy” Western employees and poor, cheap labour forces from Eastern Europe. They want to play us against each other to raise their profits and abolish our social services, our free education and health systems. It is of utmost importance to unite the workers and youth across Europe in an organised struggle against war, racism and neo-liberalism.

This is the task of the day, to which we rise and form an international organisation of young people – the revolutionary Youth International.

This movement has been at a crossroads before. After September 11th we rose to that challenge and lead a movement of millions against the war. Now today, we will not let our movement stand still but we will rise again.

The Assembly of Social Movements (ASM) in Florence showed what the effect of a clear and bold call to action could be on February 15th 2003. The ASM in Paris missed the opportunity to do the same by not making a clear call for a “social 15th February” to launch a campaign of mass direct action against the neoliberal onslaught on state industries, social services, pensions and education.

It must do so now, in London. The ASM must mobilise huge demonstrations to confront the leaders who are conducting these attacks at their European Council summits in 2004 and 2005. It must also rally tens of thousands to besiege the meeting of the G8 in Scotland.

When the workers are mobilising against the bosses in their workplace, when the students and teachers take action to defend their education from corporate plunder, when the immigrants tear down the walls of their detention centres, the ASM must support these struggles and on an international level organise effective solidarity in the towns and cities across Europe. And, say loud and clear that these struggles are one struggle – a struggle against the entire system.

At the London ESF we are at a crossroads – the Youth at the London ESF Youth Assembly should declare that we are taking the revolutionary road.