1960s >> 1963 >> no-701-january-1963

To A Young Reader

As we write, a meeting of Students is taking place in a Swansea College protesting against the situation in Cuba. Two of the students have commenced a hunger strike campaign.

We have no way of knowing who you are, your personal hopes, your disappointments and your fears. This we do know, however, there are a considerable number of you at the moment agitating and demonstrating in a variety of ways up and down the country on issues of greater or lesser seriousness. Sometimes it is a demand for a college bar (as recently in one of the Welsh Colleges), or to reserve the right to visit your girl friends in their private rooms. At other times, together with your friends in industry, you demonstrate your views quite forcibly on matters of world-reaching importance by sit-down demonstrations and marches (accompanied by a variety of musical instruments) for the abolition of the hydrogen bomb. Though some of you have not yet been thrown on to the Labour Market you have already been active in demanding better grants and better treatment for young workers and workers in training.

These activities have been met with a variety of reactions from the August Bodies concerned, from College Governors to the police and even the Government. Sometimes, your outbursts are met with a show of good-natured tolerance (though it is most difficult at times for a police officer, an M.P. or a college Rector to remain friendly with his face covered in soot or a stream of egg-yolk running down his person). At times Authority, older and more experienced than yourselves, is forced to be more persuasive. But whichever it is you are as heartily sick of the figurative pat on the back as you are of the more tangible tap on the head which has been inflicted on your comrades in areas as wide apart as Wales, Scotland, Europe, America—and Russia.

It is here that the Socialist Party can be of help. It is not our wish to lecture to you, neither to admonish nor to praise— but to offer. We would point out a fact or two which we are sure can be understood by you all, whether you are a product of the Secondary Modern School or a student at a University.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain has no desire to add itself to the number of your leaders. We have never even had a Young People’s Section of our Party as the Communists, Liberal, Labour and Tory Parties have. Nevertheless, we are not back slapping or head patting when we say that you—the young people of Britain and the world—are the hope of the future. Without your present and future labour power, capitalism has no future.

We seek your understanding and cooperation in the biggest of all projects, not to fight for the abolition of this or that, or the amelioration of that or the other, but for a complete revolution in our social system. Capitalism took the idealism of your fathers and covered it with the mire of two great wars. It took their young bodies and shattered them for its narrow interests. It continues to poison the Earth with Atomic dust: it continues to cloud your vision with falsehoods wrapped up in sentiment and cheap patriotism. It will, if necessary, throw you in conflict against your brothers of other lands.

We suggest you spend an hour or so with the Socialist Standard. Get in touch with any Socialist near to hand and start discussing. Lastly, if you have any questions which you would like us to deal with in detail, write and ask us. Our members are always willing to come to address you at your clubs and colleges, or anywhere else.

Let’s hear from you. We shall both benefit from the experiment, and we shall be pleased to print a selection of your views and criticisms in our columns.

W. Brain