One hundred years on from the Russian revolution and its bloody legacy has only served to tarnish the term ‘revolution’ as if it were a human tragedy: something of historical interest rather than active policy. It does not need to be this way.
Young people are growing up in a hostile world. The foreign policy of our leaders is destabilising not just our security but the security of others. Reckless political decisions are endangering our economic stability, and putting our ability to participate in the economy on a knife’s edge. And increasingly the state, in various ways, is beginning to shave away our liberty and freedom. But it does not need to be this way.
You see how easily these ideas are connected? Revolution, by itself, sounds like a negative and otherworldly concept. The struggles that we must contend with, and seek to solve, seem like a mountain that we simply have not been trained to overcome. Yet when we connect these ideas, and form a perfect circle with them, it becomes abundantly clear that it is only revolution that will place us on track for a brighter future.
Take, for instance, the way that the state is making itself our moral arbitrator, and obsessively micro-managing our lives. This began with the smoking ban, which manifested itself into plain packaging, and then developed into banning any attempts to sell cigarettes in any number less than twenty. We also see it in the Snooper’s charter, which gives the state the power to look into the most private details of our lives. Not to forget, of course, the recent Tory idea that people should be forced to insert their credit card details into any site on which they wish to watch pornographic material.
It is of the utmost importance that we understand these things (and many more) to be symptoms of the illness rather than the actual diagnosis. It would be perfectly acceptable, for example, for us to pressure the government to drop the final bizarre proposal, and for our pressure to achieve our goal. But this would not solve the problem. To do this we young people, who will experience the effects of such measures the most, must orchestrate a revolution. We must demand a change to the way that the state functions, and what its powers should be.
It is an open secret that young people will need nothing short of a miracle, or an investment from the bank of mum and dad, to gain a mortgage, and a foothold on the housing ladder. This, combined with mounting student debt does not make for the painting of a happy picture.
The point being missed, by young people and by our political parties, is that making university free again will simply not solve these problems. Our economic system needs, one might say, revolutionising. The abolition of zero hour contracts that so often claim young people as their victims, and the reorganisation of the economy into cooperatives as argued by Luca Delpippo, will surely be a step towards achieving this.
Last Sunday, many (especially young) people were angered by the last day of Y Not Festival being unexpectedly called off. Imagine, just for a moment, what would happen if that anger was channelled into a thirst for change. If scrutiny of those in power focussed not just on festival organisers was extended to scrutiny of politicians and news producers. If we demanded revolution not just of camping conditions but of the way we see society, and the way that society is structured.
Imagine what we could achieve.