Students and the struggle for a better world

Issue 

Our society is far from perfect. All over the world, injustice, corruption, pollution and inequality cry out for change.

But it takes courage, perseverance and a sense of outrage to bring about change — it has never been achieved from the comfort of an armchair.

Change calls for action and young people have the creativity, energy and opportunity to push harder and aim higher for a better world.

They are also more open to new ideas than adults who are often cynical because they have more to lose.

Historically, university students have been cash poor but time rich. Many young people could study at university without the need of employment, and so could speak out without fear of losing their job.

But consecutive governments have cut public education funding and attacked income support and living standards. Attending university is becoming increasingly expensive and Youth Allowance is not enough to live on. It means students many now have to work to survive.

Education should be free for everyone, and anyone who wants to study should be able to. These kinds of demands seem very reasonable and basic. But that doesn't match the priorities of a system that seeks only the best way to make profit, not the best way to shape education or provide it to people.

All of these issues raise questions about the role of universities. Fundamental change in broader society is needed to make university education for people, not profit. So struggles for better conditions and experiences on campus are linked to broader struggles off campus.

Resistance seeks to convince students to side with other workers, and with all people struggling against economic and social exploitation.

When young people demand better rights and conditions at university, in their workplaces and elsewhere, they can contribute the spark and the fuel needed for bigger movements and greater change.

Young people studying at university are part of the generation with the most to lose if they do not get involved. Climate change means that it is their future world they are trying to save.
Because it is capitalism that forces young people into positions of exploitation and powerlessness, the best way to fight back is to unite and organise, recognising the collective strength of all young people.

Student movements of the past have paved the way for social change. The world has looked to them to begin movements, make change, expose corruption and overthrow tyranny. They can still be instrumental in making this world a better place now and in times to come.

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