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Youth for Chenge

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Youth Organization of Frontline Socialist Party of Sri Lanka

A Brief Introduction

After the Frontline Socialist Party was formed in 2012, the Party entered a period where it undertook the long and arduous task of establishing the Party on a clear ideological foundation. Without this internal discourse to clear out all misconceptions within its ranks, it was futile to formulate a broad programme for the Party and the Mass Movement. As this period of discourse was coming to a closure, the Party programme began taking shape and organizations and mass movements formed and led by the Party gradually emerged and began working in their respective fields of struggle. Thus, Youth for Chenge was formed in 2015 as the youth organization of the Frontline Socialist Party to organize and give leadership to the struggles against the manifold issues concerning the youth, and to organize this youthful force to fight against the Capitalist System from numerous fronts.

Fields of struggle

The Capitalist system under Neoliberalism in the twenty-first century has managed to create various new crisis that didn’t exist during its earlier classical period. Increasing exploitation across all forms of labour, accelerating wealth accumulation among an ever shrinking circle, relentless pursuit of profit at the expense of the natural environment without regarding the imminent and long term consequences, the emergence of Financial Capital as the driving force of Capitalism and its ability to wreak instant mass scale economic destruction, increasing Wars and refugee crisis, lack of food security, limited access to healthcare and education throughout the world, are a few of the problems faced by our society. Moreover, the strengthening of Capitalist ideology through both force and consent, and the weakened Communist ideology due to historical reasons has made the struggle against the prevailing socio-economic-political System increasingly difficult. Nevertheless, this challenge must be accepted and therefore with this as our intent, Youth for Chenge have identified four broad areas under which we can engage in an ideological struggle and also materially confront the crisis and evils of Neoliberal Capitalism.

1) Economic Struggle

The issue of Unemployment, Economic Hardship, and absence of Equal Access to Educational Opportunities, are rapidly becoming a major concern faced by the youth all over the world. The advance of Technology throughout the years has increased productivity exponentially although scarcely doing anything towards improving the working conditions of the worker. The advantage gained through new technology was always used to acquire more wealth rather than create new employment opportunities or to give better working conditions for the workers. As a result of this it is the youth who have suffered the brunt of this burden since they form the greater majority of the new workforce.

The Neoliberal programme of transforming education into a commodity has created an overwhelming burden on youths worldwide and has rapidly evolved into a major crisis. Due to this, the greater majority of young students ends up in heavy debt in the process of acquiring any form of formal education. In addition, the youth has been forced to choose their career path according to their purchasing power and the demands of the job market, rather than on their abilities and inclinations.

We believing that the Right for Employment and the Right for Education are inalienable Rights of the masses. ‘Education is a Right’ is a mass movement where the Youth for Chenge together with other progressive organizations, Trade Unions, and the Lankan student movement, are organized towards winning these Rights.

2) Environmental Struggle

Capitalism’s relentless pursuit of profit has given rise to an antagonism between the socio-economic system and our Environment. Under Neoliberalism, this antagonism has increased by alarming proportions creating the path for a global environmental catastrophe. The issues of water and air pollution, deforestation, health and environmental crisis caused by agrochemicals, so-called development projects which disregard the environmental cost of its implementation, waste generation and consumerism, and global warming caused by human activity, are a few of the environmental issues that the world is faced with and which cannot be ignored any further.

‘Greens for Chenge’ was formed as a mass movement to work together with other progressive environmental organizations and activists, and communities, to create a broader awareness among the masses of the interconnection between our political-economic system and its devastating effect on the environment.

3) Cultural Struggle

As a colonial country under British rule, Capitalism was superimposed upon Lanka during the 19th till mid-20th century, and is therefore inherently backward in its nature. As a county with a written history of over 25 centuries and a slowly progressing socio-economic-political system known as the “Asiatic mode of production”, it naturally contained many Asiatic vices such as the cast system, male domination, superstition, religious influence on State affairs, etc. that remained even after Capitalist reforms were imposed by the colonial rulers during their reign. Lanka gained its so-called independence in 1948 from the British, and by 1978 it had enacted neoliberal reforms, and in so doing opened up the national economy to foreign Capital. Along with foreign Capital, came the culture of Capitalism and Consumerism that sent cultural shockwaves throughout the conservative Lankan society. However, four decades of neoliberalism in a backward capitalist nation has now created a society where this conservative culture and its Asiatic vices exist alongside the broadly upheld bourgeoisie ideology.

The Youth for Chenge understand that only a truly proletarian culture can be the foundation of a future Socialist society. We are engaged in forming communal youth circles towards organizing the youth to work together and struggle for a truly progressive culture. Therefore together with progressive elements within society we struggle to ideologically challenge the existing backward and bourgeoisie culture and its ideologies, and to create a movement along the issues of cultural backwardness, consumerism, and the rights of the marginalized sections of society.

4) Struggle against Chauvinism and Fanaticism

For 30 years Lanka had been engulfed in a war between ethnic Tamil separatist movements dominated by the LTTE and predominantly ethnic Sinhalese government forces. This was a physical manifestation of the decades of divide and rule strategy of the colonial rulers which saw the creation of a systematic division within the masses along racial, religious, and territorial identities. Although the war itself ended in 2009 with the military defeat of the LTTE, the manner and brutality in which it was concluded and the lack of effort from the State towards any reconciliation between the long divided sections of the society, has reinforced chauvinist and fanatic ideologies to the core of the society.

The Youth for Chenge stand united with other progressive organizations and Left-wing political parties within the ‘Movement for Equal Rights’ which was established as a platform to address the root cause of the Lankan National Question within the progressive Left movement. We believe that only a united struggle can create true reconciliation and unite the long divided sections of the masses and organize them into a true struggle against the Capitalist system.

International Movement

Since Capitalism is a global phenomenon, we believe that the struggle against it should also be an international struggle if it is to succeed. Therefore we strive to create international connections with progressive Left youth movements and organizations throughout the world to engage in an international struggle against the issues faced by the youth under the present System, and to help guide that struggle towards Socialism.

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