Party News from the May 1973 issue of the Socialist Standard
The National Union of Students is conducting a campaign to:
- Raise the Student Grant.
- Abolish Discretionary awards.
- Give married women students a full grant.
- Abolish the parental means test.
Students, most of them members of the working class, should recognize that, like the rest of the workers, they cannot escape the limitations imposed on them by the capitalist system in which we live.
We understand their efforts to prevent a deterioration of their position. However, such action is only defensive. If students don’t look beyond the grants campaign they will find they will have been running fast only to stay on the same spot. As trade unionists have discovered, inflation soon undermines economic gains and the whole struggle has to be gone through again. Moreover, students should understand that education at present is primarily a means of training a labour force for the organization of commodity production in capitalist society. The dominating influence of examinations and the totally undemocratic hierarchical organisation of the university are expressions of this. Education should be a social amenity for the development of individuals’ talents, which it cannot be under capitalism.
So how do we get off the treadmill?
Some people are advocating throwing the Tories out and electing a Labour government. But what did the last Labour government do? Allowed students’ living standards to decline drastically. Attacked workers’ living standards by means of wage freezes and inflation.
Changing governments changes nothing.
The only way forward is a revolutionary change to a completely different society:
- World-wide common ownership of resources— not minority class ownership.
- Production to meet human needs — not for private profit.
- Free access to goods and services — not the rationing of a monetary system.
- A free, democratically-run, non-authoritarian, non-compulsory educational system giving equal opportunity for all.
This can only be achieved by the conscious action of the majority of the working class—and that includes most students.
We urge you to join us in the fight to establish world Socialism.
— from a leaflet issued by Socialist students at Aberdeen.