2022 Recap: Communists on the Campus!

The compounding crises of capitalism weigh particularly heavily on the youngest generations, who must contend with falling living standards, the existential threat of climate change, a mental health crisis, student debt crisis, and myriad other disasters and catastrophes. No wonder millions of young people in the US are beginning to draw revolutionary conclusions.

Last fall, while the bourgeois strategists were lamenting the rise of socialist ideas, the increasing radicalization of Millennials and Gen Z, and the uptick in the labor movement, the International Marxist Tendency energetically took to college campuses to meet with young workers and students looking for revolutionary ideas. As part of the broader #CommunismOnCampus campaign, comrades across the US held dozens of meetings on socialist topics, raised the banner of revolutionary socialism, and were met with hearty enthusiasm by thousands of young leftists who signed up to learn more about getting involved in the fight for revolution.

As our experience shows, revolutionary conclusions are not just being drawn on the “online left.” Many young people are actively looking to fight for socialism in our lifetime. From coast to coast, we were met with enthusiastic interest, as students looking for the ideas of Marxism spoke with us at our tables, at activities fairs, bought our literature in droves, joined us at picket lines, and came to a series of very successful public events, ending with the Socialist Revolution regional Marxist School series.

Comrades at the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities opened the fall semester with their most successful event to date, titled “Why We Are Communists.” / Image: Socialist Revolution

The power of Marxist ideas

Whereas pessimism and doomerism can have a real impact in the movement, the serious study and application of Marxist theory fill us with revolutionary optimism—for it teaches us of the potential latent within the working class to change the world, and the objective fact that revolutions are on our horizon, and can be won. It should be no surprise then that discussions on the fundamentals of Marxism were among our most popular.

Starting the semester at Arizona State University, Socialist Revolution at ASU spent an entire week tabling on campus, meeting hundreds of students. Their first event, “Why We Need a Socialist Revolution in America,” filled a room with forty interested students! The comrades followed this up with a socialist movie night to watch Judas and the Black Messiah, complete with a political discussion on the legacy of the Black Panther Party. The Phoenix comrades also hosted a weekend-long Marxist School for the first time!

On the East Coast, Marxist students at Pratt Institute, Pace University, and New York University in NYC had a series of public events on “What is Marxism,” “The Climate Solution is Revolution,” “Marxism and Art,” “If America Should Go Communist,” and “Why We Need a Revolutionary Party,” which were attended by dozens of students, with over 400 people signing up to learn more about revolutionary organizing!

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, Marxist students at Temple and Drexel University distributed tons of revolutionary literature, with over 100 interested students attending their events on “The World On Fire: The Need for the Revolutionary Party,” “Marxism, Bolshevism, and Mutual Aid: How to Organize the Working Class,” “Is Marxism Fatalistic? The Inevitability of Revolution,” and an event on the uprising in Iran.

At Rutgers University and Montclair State University in New Jersey, comrades did outreach at student activities fairs and held successful events on “Revolution vs. Reformism.” This was a great first launch of Socialist Revolution’s new student clubs, Rutgers Marxists and MSU Socialism Club! Later in the semester, over 130 revolutionaries from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Philadelphia, Boston, and beyond gathered for the largest-ever NYC Marxist School.

It is vital to study Marxist theory, not for its own sake, but to analyze current events and revolutions, and as a guide to action for revolutionaries today. At our first-ever event at DePaul University in Chicago, 20 turned out for a discussion on “A World On Fire,” and at Washington University, St. Louis, for an event on “A World in Revolt.”

Comrades in Minneapolis opened the fall semester with their most successful event to date, titled “Why We Are Communists” at the University of Minnesota. The revolutionary optimism, combined with a healthy dose of communist boldness, attracted 60 interested students. The revolutionary élan must have been contagious, because one of the attendees described the comrades present as “GOATs” on social media, saying, “this crew gon’ save the world.” The energy carried over into an electrifying Minneapolis Marxist School in early October.

Engaging discussions on current events and the fundamentals of Marxism continued at these schools and more—including the University of North Texas, University of Wisconsin, Ohio State University, and Georgia State University. As for the West Coast, Socialist Revolution clubs opened the semester in October with popular events on more basics, such as “Fighting Oppression with Class Struggle” at Western Washington University and the University of California, Irvine. The year wrapped up with the first-ever Marxist School in the Northwest in Bellingham, WA.

Comrades doing revolutionary outreach at the University of North Texas in Denton. / Image: Socialist Revolution

The labor movement picks up

While students can play an important role in helping to build the Marxist party in advance of revolutionary movements, we understand that the key to a successful revolution is to connect a socialist program with the broader working class. Marx explained that, due to the workers’ objective role in the productive process, only the working class as a whole can serve as the gravediggers of capitalism.

Therefore, students with Socialist Revolution spent much of last semester linking our work on the campuses with labor struggles from Amazon to Apple, Starbucks to Trader Joe’s, and of course, on the campuses themselves. While the IMT in Britain joined the pickets of the rail workers, nurses, university workers, and postal workers, and our Canadian comrades fought against cuts to education workers’ salaries, we too took to the pickets here in the US!

At the start of the season, comrades organized a contingent at the NYC Labor Day rally, with students and workers supporting the Amazon Labor Union and Starbucks Workers United efforts. A member of Socialist Revolution and Steamfitters Local 638 addressed the crowd, making the case for an independent working-class party and to connect the battles of unionizing workers with a fight against the capitalist system.

Comrades organized a contingent at the NYC Labor Day rally, with students and workers supporting the Amazon Labor Union and Starbucks Workers United efforts. / Image: Socialist Revolution

The Western Washington University comrades connected with an incipient graduate student workers’ union on their campus, tabling with them at the student activities fair. Similar connections were established at the University of Minnesota, and at Rutgers, our comrades joined a rally of unionized adjuncts battling for a fair contract. Temple and Drexel Marxists in Philadelphia brought contingents to the picket lines of workers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, who went on strike for union recognition and higher wages, amongst other grievances. Most importantly, through their collective action, workers won their demands!

Later in the semester, they went to multiple “sip-ins” for unionizing Starbucks workers, and held a public event on the ongoing labor battles at Starbucks, where a unionizing worker and a member of Socialist Revolution spoke to a big audience. These activities helped to build up for the Starbucks workers’ “Red Cup Rebellion” in November, which Socialist Revolution students from Western Washington, ASU, and Washington University—St. Louis also joined!

Socialist Revolution at UC Irvine attended picket lines of striking adjuncts daily. / Image: Socialist Revolution

When adjunct faculty went on strike at The New School, Pratt, Pace, and NYU, Students for Socialist Revolution came out in support. Then, late in the year, the country was rocked by the largest academic workers’ strike in US history across all ten University of California campuses. Socialist Revolution at UC Irvine attended picket lines daily and held public events with fellow grad workers to raise awareness about the struggle.

The year ahead: who has the youth, has the future!

While we don’t have a crystal ball, we can be sure that youth radicalization is going nowhere in 2023, as the world spirals into recession, the war in Ukraine drags on, climate change accelerates, the US election heats up, and millions of workers and young people continue to look for a way out of capitalism’s impasse. But energy and enthusiasm are not enough to beat and replace capitalism. We need to build a real-world organization with trained Marxist revolutionaries in every city, town, workplace, and classroom. Only the working class can end capitalism, but only if it has a capable organization through which to fight.

The IMT is building this organization around the country and around the world, at the workplace and on the campuses. Reach out if you want to get involved with Socialist Revolution on your campus this spring semester! We have or are building clubs with students at the campuses listed below. If you don’t see your school listed, get in touch with us and help us spread Socialist Revolution—we’ll help you start organizing on your campus!

Philadelphia

  • Temple University
  • Drexel University

New York City

  • Pratt Institute
  • Pace University
  • New York University
  • The New School

New Jersey

  • Rutgers University, New Brunswick
  • Montclair State University

New Haven, CT

  • Yale University

Boston

  • Harvard University

Rhode Island

  • Brown University

Minneapolis

  • University of Minnesota—Twin Cities

St. Louis

  • Washington University, St. Louis

Chicago

  • DePaul University

Madison, WI

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison

Columbus, OH

  • Ohio State University

Cleveland, OH

  • Case Western Reserve University

Arizona

  • Arizona State University

Bellingham, WA

  • Western Washington University

Portland, OR

  • Portland State University

Los Angeles

  • University of California, Irvine

Dallas-Ft. Worth

  • University of North Texas

Louisville, KY

  • University of Louisville

Chapel Hill, NC

  • University of North Carolina

Atlanta

  • Georgia State University

Houston

  • University of Houston

Click to Donate

Are you a communist? Then apply to join Socialist Revolution!


Click to Donate