Students are heading back to school for another year, amidst deteriorating conditions in Canada and world-wide. As the ruling class attempts to enrich itself and cement its power, students face relentless attacks. Education funding gets cut as tuition rises across the country, though the offensive is most intense in Ontario. There, the PC government has made cuts to education and is planning to eliminate thousands of teaching positions, while attempting to eliminate the funding stream of the bureaucratic post-secondary student unions. The capitalist ruling class which orchestrates this renewed round of attacks on students also perpetuates settler-colonialism and imperialism, such that resistance on one of these fronts also serves the resistance on the others.
The strength of the proletariat is its organization, yet how it is organized will determine success or failure. While high school students have been brave in resisting attacks in solidarity with the teachers unions, it is inevitable that a lack of revolutionary strategy and organization will prevent them challenging the provincial government in a serious way. The bureaucratic unions on the other hand are as ineffective as ever, unable to either defend themselves from these new attacks or make new gains for students. Their weakness comes from at least three interrelated factors, 1) their bureaucratic methods such that they neither seek to nor are able to mobilize the masses of students in their own interests 2) their reformism, such that their focus is only on winning certain meagre concessions rather than building power that can be welded against the ruling class so that in the end any rare gains won can be easily reversed later, and 3) the lack of class analysis, such that the bureaucratic unions attempt to represent all of the contradictory and mutually exclusive class interests of students, rather than recognizing that there are multiple classes of students, and siding with the most and exploited among them, the end result being that the bureaucratic unions will only represent the interests of the most privileged of students, either bourgeois or petty-bourgeois depending on context.
Only the RSM has the perspectives and methods which can overcome all of these weaknesses. Instead of bureaucratism, we must mobilize proletarian students with ever increasing militancy by applying the mass line to build movements which address the masses’ concrete conditions. Instead of reformism, we must connect these conditions to broader revolutionary goals, and build dual power institutions that will grow the masses’ ability to win future victories and defend those of the past. Instead of liquidating class analysis, we must be partisan, and side with proletarian students and their allies against their enemies, on campus and off.
On these points the RSM has had both successes and failures. When at its best, RSM sections have been able to consolidate a core of dedicated organizers and wage successful campaigns that win over significant numbers of students to our perspectives and into our organization. However we have failed to universalize these good practices – in regards to effective social investigation and mass work, and in consolidating comrades and raising leadership among them – and to synthesize and retain concrete lessons from all of these experiences, such that gains won are later lost and important lessons learned are later forgotten as experienced students graduate and move on.
In investigating and recognizing these problems which hold us back, the solution presents itself. To universalize good practices and retain important and hard-won lessons, we have created the RSM Internal Journal, and must work to synthesize, record, and struggle to develop lessons from our past and future work, to be included in future issues. We must now work to develop our ability to conduct social investigation and mass work, and to train and educate revolutionary students, each in their proper time and place, that is to keep in mind the balance between expansion and consolidation.
The main task now is consolidation; we must cement the RSM as an organization which can lead future struggles by both training our members in revolutionary practice and educating them in revolutionary theory. This should consist on the one hand of workshops and study sessions, and on the other hand in engaging in basic mass work practice, especially social investigation. Social investigation will keep each of our sections deeply entrenched in their campus life and knowledgeable in the struggles of the local proletarian students, so that campaigns around these struggles can be launched as soon as our sections prepared to do so. Onward!
Train Revolutionary Students For Revolutionary Struggle!
Build Power Among Proletarian Students!
Learn and Apply Lessons Gained Through the Class Struggle!
Build the Revolutionary Student Movement!
– Coordinating Committee of the Revolutionary Student Movement