The year 1968 is etched into the historical memory of students and workers. It was a year in which class struggle swept the globe and raised the political horizons of millions of workers and young people.
Student struggle kick-started many of the mass movements around the world that year. In the USA protests against the Vietnam War swept school and college campuses, draft-card burning was widespread, and university occupations were forcibly broken up by police. Martin Luther King Jnr was assassinated in April 1968 and his murder led to riots and unofficial strikes in dozens of US cities.
Likewise, the mighty uprising of the French working class, in May 1968, was sparked by a movement of students in Paris. Millions of workers joined a revolutionary general strike and, but for the betrayal of its leaders, the working class could have taken power in France.
In Czechoslovakia it was students who kick-started a mass movement against Soviet bureaucracy. This was a movement without a clear idea of exactly what it hoped to achieve with radical and liberal elements mixed together, but it showed the potential for political revolution in the USSR.
Throughout 1968 mass student protests took place in Mexico. In October 10,000 people gathered in Mexico City to listen to an address by the leaders of the movement. The meeting was attacked by police and students were murdered, kidnapped, and tortured by the government.
Millions of people in Pakistan were roused to struggle in November 1968, prompted into action by a movement of university students. What resulted was one of the greatest revolutionary movements of the 20th century.
The Marxist Student Federation will be dedicating its 5th annual conference - to be held in SOAS university, London, on 17 February 2018 - to a discussion of the lessons from the great events that took place fifty years ago. Join us to discover what we can learn from the revolutionary role of students in the past, and how we can match and exceed their achievements today.
Date: Saturday 17th February 2018
Venue: Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, University of London (nearest tube stations: Russell Square, Euston Square, Goodge Street)
10am – Registration
10:30am – 1968: year of revolution
The year 1968 is etched into the historical memory of students and workers. From the USA to Pakistan, from Czechoslovakia to Mexico, and of course not forgetting May ’68 in France, 1968 was a year in which class struggle swept the globe and raised the political horizons of millions of workers and young people.
We’ll be discussing the lessons from the great events that took place fifty years ago. Join us to discover what we can learn from the revolutionary role of students in the past, and how we can match and exceed their achievements today.
12:15pm – Lunch
1:15pm – Theory as a guide to action: report and plans of the Marxist Student Federation
In the 12 months since our last conference Marxist societies have been meeting, recruiting, campaigning, and spreading the ideas of Marxism all over the country.
This year’s conference will be a chance to take stock of what we’ve achieved over the last year, and to make some plans for the next one. Including plans for:
- Taking action for free education and affordable rents
- Fighting for socialist policies in the NUS
- Linking up with staff on campus and workers in struggle
- Campaigning for a socialist Labour government
3:15pm – Break
3:45pm – 100 years since the German revolution: the life and ideas of Rosa Luxemburg
In 1918, German workers rose up against the Kaiser in an attempt to establish socialism in Germany. This magnificent movement put an end to the horrors of WWI and offered the promise of a powerful union between Soviet Russia and a Soviet Germany. But this was not to be. The German workers were betrayed and the revolutionary leaders Luxemburg and Liebknecht were assassinated.
Nevertheless, the life and ideas of Luxemburg provide us with lessons and inspiration for today’s revolutionary struggle. Her famous pamphlet Reform or Revolution is particularly important for class conscious students and workers to read and absorb in today’s political conditions. Join us to discuss Luxemburg and the German revolution to finish off this year’s Marxist Student conference.
5pm – Finish