In response to the racist murder of George Floyd and countless other Black people by the police, the people have seized the initiative and spoken these truths, loud and clear: The lives of Black people matter. The police do not protect us or represent our interests. We are prepared to fight by any means necessary for full democracy, freedom, and equality. To realize these truths which the people have cried out on the streets, from Minneapolis to Paris, we need permanent and combative organizations of popular power. For students, this means rebuilding the student movement around a revolutionary program and uniting with popular struggles against capitalist exploitation and oppression, including the struggle of Black people in the US for democratic rights.
These protests will soon dwindle if we do not link them to real forms of organization. The just outrage and fierce resistance of the people to racist police terror are spontaneous reflexes. If we want to transform our anger into real power, conscious and independent organization is necessary. Our enemies are organized in the state and their political parties. If we want to win, we too must be organized.
The representatives of the state — both Democrat and Republican — are already incorporating the energy of the movement. They are responding to the protests in ways that appease the masses while protecting the interests of capital. They are enacting reforms using pseudo-radical language of “defunding” and “transformative justice,” but these reforms only meet the demands of the people in words, not deeds.
Although the more radical demand for “abolition of the police” is insufficient for eliminating the oppression of Black people in the US and unrealizable in capitalist society, it contains a correct aspiration for a different world which can only be achieved through social revolution. We have keenly felt the need for change, and we know that the best part of reality— the future —belongs to us, if only we have the courage to snatch it from the teeth of our enemies. In order to transform society, we must give conscious direction to our collectivist aspirations by organizing to advance the socialist revolution. The May Day Student Organization (MDSO) was founded to serve this very purpose.
The MDSO was born out of a labor struggle at the New School in 2018, when students and workers occupied the cafeteria for two weeks, forcing the administration to reverse a mass layoff of the entire cafeteria staff. Seeing the need for a permanent organization which could carry out successful struggles like the occupation in the future and link them to a broader project of transforming society, we built a mass organization united around a set of five demands and a single goal: a university that serves the people.
The May Day Student Organization (MDSO) will be forged as a weapon of the people, a leading force on the student front and an integral part of the larger struggle against the bourgeoisie. Through practice informed by revolutionary theory, we are building the MDSO for advancing the socialist revolution and organizing the people.
1) For the right of the people to access free and public higher education, including:
- Guaranteed admission for all people regardless of educational background and national origin.
- Abolition of the inequalities between institutions and degree programs which perpetuate the division between mental and manual labor and limit access to the full academic, cultural, and political life of the university.
- Real remedial education and other measures to remove any cultural and social barriers to the education of the people.
- Complete removal of economic barriers by providing access to services such as childcare, transportation, housing, healthcare, food, school supplies, etc.
- Necessary accommodations and upgrades to facilities and teaching practices to ensure access to education for all students regardless of disability.
2) For a university that is democratically controlled by the people and that serves the interests of the people, through:
- Curricula which (1) deliver a general and polytechnical education, combining education with productive labor, and (2) impart a progressive and scientific worldview while raising the educational level of the working people and the ideological level of intellectuals.
- Complete removal of the repressive state apparatus (e.g. military and police) from participation in the university including the presence of agents on campus, in faculty positions, inclusion in curriculum, grants and funding, partnerships, and recruitment.
3) For the cancellation of student debt.
4) For the realization of full democratic rights for students, including:
- Freedom to organize.
- Freedom of speech.
- Resources for student organizations, including funding and complete access to school facilities.
- An end to all forms of inequality including inequalities based on race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and immigration status.
5) For bringing the politics of the socialist revolution to the student body, in solidarity with people everywhere fighting for democracy and progress, via the following:
- Coordinated political action with popular struggles of the domestic working class and oppressed peoples.
- International support for all peoples, not states. Support for all peoples fighting against imperialisms (US, EU, Russian, Chinese, etc.), national oppression, and reaction.
We unite around the need to fight for these demands through militant mass action. The May Day Student Organization invites all who agree with our program to join us.