Tag Archives: Communist Students

Communist Students oppose reactionary men’s societies on BBC


Freshers report

Many students are completely inexperienced politically, but are beginning to question the system, write Ted North and Dave Isaacson

Communist Students stall

Communist Students stall

Members of Communist Students held a stall outside Oxford University freshers fairs on October 7 and 8.

It was easy to predict the reactions of some of the scions of the traditional upper classes. Yet a few sniggers and bemused looks aside, there were no particularly sharp arguments coming from those that see communism as their worst nightmare. One piped up with “What crisis?” as he scurried on by, not waiting for an answer. But most people were not so stupid as that.

We gave out a large number of Communist Student and material from Hands Off the People of Iran. In all, just over 50 signed our contact sheet. There were perhaps, relative to other universities, somewhat fewer students with some background or prior knowledge of far-left politics. If anyone did display an acquaintance with the left groups, it came in the form of questions like “You’re not anything to do with the SWP, are you?”

Comrades from the Socialist Workers Party were present on the first day, along with Workers Fight and a comrade from the Enverist Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), who was leafleting for a meeting on “democratic renewal”. On the second day, the Socialist Party and the Spartacists were also in town. The point we often repeat – that if the ostensibly Marxist left was joined in a single organisation its strength would be far greater than the sum of its parts – was well demonstrated. Students who are sympathetic to the aims of socialism would have been less confused and more likely to commit themselves if there had been a single Marxist organisation present. And we would be taken a lot more seriously by our enemies too.

The standard economistic ‘Fight for jobs’ type leaflets were being handed out by the SP, one of whom became a touch aggressive when a CS comrade insisted that a workers’ militia is a basic democratic demand and not lunatic posturing. Most of the SPers were friendly enough, though – unlike the comrades of the SWP, who refused even to make eye contact.

Many who spoke to us are completely inexperienced politically, but are beginning to question the system (as are young people in general). We expect a good turnout to our upcoming introductory meeting at Judges room, Oxford Town Hall on Thursday October 27 starting at 7.30pm. We have Mike Macnair, leading CPGB member and author of Revolutionary strategy, speaking on the capitalist crisis and the communist alternative. There will, of course, be plenty of time for discussion. Indeed, as we have repeatedly stressed, open debate and democracy are not just good ideas: they are in fact crucial in building both the Communist Party and the wider working class movement. And for us this is about now, not at some hypothetical date in the future.

Unfortunately the first left meeting our Oxford comrades planned to attend – a Stop the War Coalition rally featuring Jeremy Corbyn MP and Tariq Ali on October 12 – was cancelled at the last minute. But we will continue trying to engage with the left as it is currently constituted, as well as building our own organisation and carrying out educational and agitational activities. We will be launching a study group reading David Harvey’s book on Marxist economics – Limits to capital – to begin on Saturday October 31. And before that we are encouraging as many people as possible to attend the Stop the War Coalition demonstration in London on October 24. We are also planning, alongside other comrades, to get a Hopi branch established in Oxford.

csbanner-300x225Many would not consider what is, on the one hand, a traditional bastion in ensuring the continuity of British capitalism, as fertile ground for communist growth. But on the other hand, Oxford University also attracts many sincere and bright young people who, looking at global poverty, ecological crisis and capitalist greed, want to radically transform things. Our challenge is to equip them with politics, theory and organisation.

Communist Students at freshers fairs

Communist Students have been winning supporters at freshers fairs across the country. On October 7th, 8th, and 9th we will be holding stalls at Oxford University. Chris Brandler reports on our activities in Manchester

communist students stallManchester Communist Students have gone from strength to strength over the past 12 months. At this year’s freshers fair we recruited three times as many students than the previous year, with nearly 170 signing up to the society.

For three days comrades staffed stalls inside and outside the University of Manchester Students Union, handing out thousands of leaflets, as well as the new edition of Communist Student, and selling the Weekly Worker and other leftwing papers, including The Commune. As well as getting through a mountain of literature comrades spent hours discussing and debating with freshers on topics ranging from ecology and the English Defence League to sexual liberation and the legalisation of drugs.

We were situated next to the recently established ‘Men’s Society’ and saw first hand the true nature of this new formation – members of Conservative Future staffed the stall and its members were calling for the abolition of the students union women’s officer position. The CS Manchester secretary has written for the women’s magazine The Riveter polemicising against the society and we will also be laying out our opposition to this misogynist club in the paper Student Direct. CS comrades will be standing shoulder to shoulder with women’s rights activists against any attacks on the women’s movement and the gains it has made over the last few decades.

Many freshers wondered why the left was so varied and fractured – there were stalls from the Socialist Worker Student Society, Socialist Students and the very dull and ultra-sectarian International Students for Social Equality, which is the student front of David North’s post-Healyite International Committee of the Fourth International. Alongside the organisations of the left, many campaigns were also present and out in force, including Action Palestine, which led the month-long occupation at the University of Manchester at the beginning of the year, Stop the War Coalition and Unite Against Fascism.

Manchester CS was the only left group to hold a meeting on campus during freshers week. We invited Mark Fischer from the CPGB to speak on Karl Marx, his ideas and the relevance of Marxism today. In a varied discussion we managed to get to grips with Karl Marx and ecology, the Spanish civil war and how to avoid another catastrophe like the Soviet Union. A member of the Socialist Workers Party was forced to admit that he secretly is a communist, but that we should not tell those outside the movement – after all, communism is associated with Stalinism, isn’t it?

In the next few months Manchester CS will be inviting speakers from different organisations, including Israeli socialist Moshé Machover, who will speak on November 4.

CS comrades also helped other supporters of the Hands Off the People of Iran, taking shifts on the Hopi stall and signing students up to the Hopi Society. Hopi showed Marjane Satrapi’s wonderful film Persepolis during freshers week, which drew over 40 people.

Peter Grant from the train drivers’ union, Aslef, and Ste Monaghan from the Anarchist Federation spoke of the importance of Hopi’s work in view of the current situation in Iran. The brief discussion we managed to have ranged from whether it is right to support the Iranian ‘reformists’ against the conservatives as the lesser evil to the massacres of the 80s in Iran.

Manchester CS is now looking to the future and has set out an ambitious timetable for study and action. We will be reading  Gramsci’s Prison notebooks over October, culminating in a public presentation and discussion. To facilitate this comrades have devised study packs and guides for all those interested. In November we have a French series, which will be kicked off with a study of Karl Marx’s The civil war in France, followed by a look at ‘The French Resistance and the Communist Party’ and the ‘Lessons of 1968’, and finishing off with a discussion on the New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA) led off by Tina Purcell. Comrade Purcell was at the NPA’s founding congress and reported on it for Permanent Revolution.

We have stalls planned over the coming term and will be helping other anti-war activists on campus get as many students down to the October 24 demonstration to end the occupation of Afghanistan.

We still have a long way to go in fleshing out our organisation, but we are firmly rooted on campus and have a new generation of young Marxist organisers preparing to study and educate, agitate for our politics and organise struggles on campus and beyond.

Student conference

Upcoming national event: Fighting For Marxism On Campus

Saturday October 17 2009


Details TBC.

Karl Marx: News of the Coming RevoltCapitalism is in its deepest crisis since the 1930s. The world is at an historic turning point. The crisis comes at an enormous human cost – soaring unemployment, house repossessions, wage cuts and attacks on basic services and social security provision. The so-called third world has been particularly hit, with an extra 50 million people expected to live in absolute poverty.

With the onset of this global economic crisis, Karl Marx has found himself back in the mainstream press, as even sections of the capitalist class look to him for an understanding of their system.

We in Communist Students also turn to Marx and his method – not in order to prop up the moribund capitalist system, but in order to understand it and fight for a complete transformation of all existing social conditions.

Communist Students organise around the principles of Marxism because we think that they are uniquely able to come to grips with capitalism’s origins, rise to maturity, long decline and structural crisis. Marxism is both intellectually rigorous and yet its basic propositions are easy for anyone to grasp; because Marxism is both immensely inspiring in scope and thoroughly realistic in its aim of universal human liberation led by the self-emancipation of the working class majority.

Come and join CS in discussing what it is that makes the capitalist system tick, and how we can educate, agitate and organise in order to contribute to its overthrow.


1. A world in crisis: how can Marxism help us to understand and change it?

2. Internationalism: what does it mean and why do we emphasise it? With a speaker reporting on the current situation in Iran.

3. Communist Students: Who we are, what we fight for and why we fight for it

Facebook event page here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=123094247774

This will be followed by a conference for members and supporters of Communist Students on Sunday October 18. If you wish to attend this then please get in touch to book a place.