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Statement of Principles (US)

Nearly two decades into the 21st century, humanity remains beset by unemployment, wars, inequality and poverty.

Despite great advances in technology and communications, tens of millions in the United States are unemployed or underemployed, while half the population is either poor or near-poor. Worldwide, billions live in hunger and want, millions are displaced by war, and democratic rights are under attack.

Throughout the world, governments are turning toward increasingly authoritarian and right-wing forms of rule. The Trump administration, a cabal of billionaires, generals and intelligence officials, personifies the ruthless financial oligarchy that dominates society.

Perhaps more than any other section of society, today’s youth have been made to bear the brunt of this social impasse. Millions of young people around the world will have shorter lives, lower incomes and fewer opportunities than their parents and grandparents.

A Socialist Program

The crisis that began in 2008 has revealed itself as far more than an economic downturn; it is the failure of an entire social system—capitalism. Nearly a decade after the financial crash, this systemic crisis of capitalism is driving the global rise of authoritarianism and the threat of world war.

War, poverty and attacks on democratic rights are the inevitable outcomes of the capitalist system, which subordinates everything to the expansion of corporate profit and the wealth of the financial elite.

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) is an organization of students and youth around the world which insists that chronic social problems, including the danger of war, can be solved only through an end to capitalism. Society must be reorganized along international socialist lines—on the basis of social need, not private profit.

The IYSSE Demands


The American war machine must be dismantled! US imperialism, seeking to reconquer the globe, threatens a third world war, this time fought with nuclear weapons. The vast sums expended on militarism must be used to meet pressing social needs.


Billions for education and social programs! We demand a reallocation of resources worldwide to provide employment for all those who need it. There is plenty of work to be done, including meeting the basic needs of the population for food and shelter, rebuilding schools, expanding access to health care and providing cultural institutions accessible to workers and young people.


Halt the anti-immigrant raids and deportations! The working class is an international class, and workers must be allowed to live and work where they choose. The massive US surveillance apparatus must be dismantled. The witch-hunts against Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and other whistleblowers and journalists must end, as must police brutality and the militarization of US police forces.


Nationalize the banks and major corporations! Democracy is incompatible with the levels of social inequality that prevail in the US and throughout the world. To break the financial oligarchy’s stranglehold over the economy, the IYSSE calls for the nationalization of the banks and placing all large corporations under the democratic control of the population.

For the Political Independence of the Working Class

The issues students face—including high tuition, joblessness, student loan debt and an education system starved of resources—are inseparable from the broader questions confronting the working class. None of these problems can be solved in schools and on campuses alone. Students seeking to oppose social inequality, unemployment and war must reach out to workers throughout the country and internationally.

Above all, the working class needs its own political party, in opposition to the Democrats and Republicans, the parties of the ruling class. The IYSSE rejects the position that these parties can be reformed or pressured.

In 2008, many young people supported Barack Obama, hoping for “change” from the Bush administration. But Obama brought only war, police repression, state murder, poverty, inequality and unemployment. The Democratic Party offers no alternative to Trump: it is one of two pro-war, big-business parties in the US.

There is growing opposition to the capitalist system and the political establishment, which found a distorted expression in the mass support for the campaign of Bernie Sanders in 2016. Notwithstanding his socialist pretensions, Sanders cynically made appeals based on economic nationalism, and attempted to channel opposition to the status quo back into the capitalist, pro-war Democratic Party.

In opposition to the racial and identity politics promoted by the Democratic Party, the IYSSE calls for the unity of the working class, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, gender or religion, in an international struggle against the capitalist system.

A turn to the working class does not mean support for the trade unions, which are dominated by well-heeled bureaucrats and tied politically to the Democratic Party. Against the existing trade unions, the IYSSE calls for the building of independent rank-and-file workplace, school and neighborhood committees to unify different sections of workers and youth in a common struggle.

The IYSSE seeks to build a mass political movement of the working class that will fight for power, establish a workers’ government and reorganize society on a democratic, egalitarian and rational basis.

Oppose Imperialist War!

The United States has been continuously at war for a quarter century, or longer than most high school and college students remember.

Now, the innumerable regional conflicts raging throughout the world threaten to metastasize into a new world war targeting Russia and China, both nuclear-armed powers.

The struggle against war must be rooted in the working class. The IYSSE places this struggle at the center of its political work. We insist that this is not separate from, but integral to, the fight for socialism. We warn youth and students that a new world war is not only possible, but inevitable without the emergence of a mass revolutionary movement based on the working class and dedicated to putting an end to capitalism.

For Socialism and Internationalism

The two basic features of capitalism—private ownership of the means of production and the division of the world economy along national lines—block the rational use and development of humanity’s productive forces. None of the problems humanity confronts, including climate change, can be dealt with on a national level.

The problems faced by working people and youth in every country are fundamentally the same. In all countries, the IYSSE opposes nationalism, chauvinism and racism, which are means to divide and weaken the working class. Working people of all countries must join together in a common struggle.

Socialism—the rational and democratic reorganization of the economy to meet social need, not private profit—arises as a historical necessity from the breakdown of capitalism. The IYSSE has unshakable confidence in the development of an international socialist movement because socialism corresponds to the objective interests of the working class, the vast majority of humanity.

For the Rebirth of the Socialist Movement

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality, the student movement of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), fights for the revival of a socialist movement among young people throughout the country, as part of an international socialist movement of the entire working class.

The IYSSE stands in the tradition of revolutionary socialism, from the origins of Marxism in the 1840s, through the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the implacable struggle, led by Leon Trotsky, against the bureaucratic degeneration of the Soviet Union under Stalin.

In the 21st century, the IYSSE, SEP and ICFI are fighting to unify and mobilize the working class and youth internationally, to prepare the working class for the conquest of political power and the establishment of a genuinely democratic, egalitarian and socialist society.

Join the Fight for Socialism! Join the IYSSE!

We urge all students to study the program, history and analysis presented on the World Socialist Web Site. Make the decision to join the IYSSE, and help build a chapter of the IYSSE at your school, university, workplace or neighborhood.

Join the IYSSE!

Take up the fight for socialism!

Read the IYSSE Statement of Principles for your country, and submit your contact information to join the International Youth and Students for Social Equality.

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