These days, youth is facing another imperialist war and can play a crucial role in the struggle of the peoples against imperialist wars and their causes. At the same time, the rights of the working and studying youth are under constant attack by capital and bourgeois governments under capitalism. In conditions of either capitalist crisis or recovery, these attacks on the rights of the youth are further intensified for the benefit of the monopolies.
Unemployment has risen sharply all over Europe. On average, the unemployment rate among young people (15–24 years old) is around 15% in the European Union, while in some European countries it exceeds 30%. Young people are paying the price for the capitalist crisis, suffering the loss of their job or apprenticeship.
Even in the years before the pandemic and the crisis, there were repeated protests by students at European universities against cuts in education by various bourgeois governments. A constantly recurring problem was the lack of infrastructure at universities able to serve the increasing number of students, but also the increasing precariousness of working conditions at European universities and the consequent imposition of a European labour market with unacceptable conditions at universities. The bourgeois parties and their student organisations recommended and propagated the streaming of lectures as a solution to the lack of seats and overcrowded lecture halls. This has severe consequences for students and staff because it means a worsening of the student-to-staff ratio as well as an increase in the workload for staff. Instead of creating new jobs at universities in line with the needs dictated by the increasing number of students, the digitalization of teaching tends to further cuts in teaching staff. In the wake of the pandemic, streaming of lectures was introduced everywhere under the pretext of health protection and universities were re-equipped accordingly.
Pupils are also affected by the digitalization of teaching. Problems that already existed at schools due to dilapidated infrastructure and overcrowded classrooms have been exacerbated by the pandemic. The constant switch between digital and in-person learning, as well as many other problems, have left many pupils with serious learning gaps. Many students are struggling with concentration problems due to digital learning. In addition, the number of mental illnesses among children and young people has risen sharply due to the health policies and the crisis management of the bourgeois governments. These are problems that young people are left to face alone, as it is once again demonstrated that a health care system in the interest of the monopolies is, under no circumstances, capable of meeting the needs of the people.
The problems of the youth are linked in many ways to the problems of the working class and the popular strata. Therefore, the youth cannot repel the attacks of capital alone, but only in joint struggle with the working class and the popular strata against the dictatorship of the monopolies. The communists firmly oppose the bourgeois propaganda talking about a “generational conflict”. It is not the elderly who live at the expense of the youth or vice versa.It is capital that lives at the expense of the youth, the working class, and the popular strata.
The youth have no special interests detached from the rest of the working class. The youth as well must sell their labour power to capital. Consequently, the youth of the working class and popular strata must learn to become organised and to assert their interests in the framework of the common interests with the working class. Through their organised and disciplined behaviour in their workplace, university, school, and the streets, the youth have the momentum and possibility to provide fresh impetus towards the struggle of the working class for the improvement of their immediate social situation, as well as for a society free from exploitation of man by man, for socialism–communism.