On 28 September, the Tory government banned teaching anti-capitalist materials in certain subjects in English schools. The Marxist Student Federation subsequently launched the ‘Tell the Truth’ campaign, commissioning articles and videos on economics, politics, and history highlighting the lies taught inside the classroom.
Banning anti-capitalist material will not stop young people questioning the bankruptcy of the decaying capitalist system. And this has been proven with this campaign.
The campaign has inspired many young Marxists to write first hand and speak about their experiences of the biases in the rigged education system.
We are taught that Britain is a ‘global force for good’, and that although there were ramifications from our colonial legacy, all the ‘bad bits’ of the past have been jettisoned. The reality couldn't be further from the truth.
From the 1926 general strike to the Iraq war: the nauseating hypocrisy of the British state has been exposed by school students across the country.
For young revolutionaries, it is clear why history is taught the way it is – to instil a passivity amongst students, and inculcate the idea of accepting the status quo, or that change only comes about gradually. But in reality, society is transformed through mass movements and class struggle. As Marx observed, it is revolution that is the midwife of history.
The idea that today will be better than yesterday, and that tomorrow will be better than today is a pipedream of the past. We are living through a period of savage cuts to basic services. Our generation is set to have worse prospects of employment and living standards than our parents. Curtailing the curriculum – as one student wrote – has only confirmed why we need to do away with capitalism completely.
Young people are drawing these revolutionary conclusions, whether this material is banned in education or not. Throughout the campaign, students spoke about the lies told to them about the creation of the NHS, the formation of the Labour Party, and the Russian Revolution.
We hosted three successful meetings throughout December, with over 40 school and college students registering. The first session focused on the question of the economy: who benefits from it; the importance of common ownership; and the issue of climate change. The discussion was lively, and touched on how economics is artificially severed from politics and kept obtuse.
The second session covered topics including how change happens; the role that revolutions play; and how we are capable of making our own history. Though we are taught from cradle-to-grave that nothing really changes, as Marxists we understand the enormous power and potential of the masses to transform the world and make history. As Marx and Engels concluded in the Communist Manifesto: We have nothing to lose but our chains! We have a world to win!
The final talk, concluding the series last night, was on how politics is taught at schools. Far from being a beautiful and intricate system of checks and balances, politics is littered with corruption, sleaze, and cronyism.
No wonder ordinary people treat politicians with contempt. These representatives of the establishment treat politics as a parlour game, and cynically see people’s suffering as nothing more than a bargaining chip.
The purpose of these meetings was to teach what the school system will not. As all the fantastic contributions to this campaign illustrated, capitalism is living on spent time. A new world is struggling to be born.
School students must play a key role in the battles that lie ahead. Join the MSF today to get involved!