Last weekend, young comrades from across the Federation of Marxist Students came together for an inspiring summer school on the life and ideas of Lenin. Marxism is on the march. There has never been a better time to join the fight for socialism.
From June 24-26, 80 comrades from the Marxist Student Federation traveled to the Peak District to participate in MSF’s first residential Marxist summer school.
Comrades from London to Aberdeen traveled to take part in a weekend of political discussions and activities.
In a speech to the Third All-Russian Congress of the Young Communist League of Russia in 1920, Lenin said:
“The tasks of youth in general, and of the Communist Youth Leagues and all other organizations in particular, could be summed up in one word: learning.”
The comrades have therefore taken it upon themselves to devote this weekend to the important theoretical contributions made by Lenin to the ideas of Marxism.
War and imperialism
The weekend began with a session on war and imperialism, moderated by Daniel Morley of Socialist appeal and the International Marxist Tendency.
Daniel began by explaining why war is inherent in capitalism. Imperialism, as Lenin pointed out, is a product of monopolization and the need for capitalists to find new markets.
The war in Ukraine was also mentioned in this discussion. Capitalism in this age of decadence and crisis leads to proxy wars between the great powers, with workers serving as cannon fodder in these inter-imperialist struggles.
Many comrades came into the discussion to talk about different aspects of imperialism. Why do capitalists seek new markets? What stage of imperialism are we entering?
The comrades had carefully considered their contributions and were eager to discuss prospects and tasks for the immediate future.
After the opening session, the comrades spent time socializing, playing frisbee, soccer and board games, while conducting political discussions in a more informal environment.
Marxism and the State
The next morning we got up early, with comrades exploring the beautiful grounds around the hall.
The day began with a political discussion on Marxism and the state, with MSF national organizer Fiona Lali.
Fiona’s talk began by discussing the origins of the state, before moving on to how Marxists should respond to the arguments of anarchists and reformists when it comes to the state.
After Fiona’s presentation, the comrades separated into breakout rooms, providing space for free and lively discussion.
Topics covered included: how different states function in class society; what the “withering away” state would look like; what a classless – communist – society will look like; and how we should fight for socialism now.
After the morning session, the comrades set off on a walk to the stepping stones of Dovedale, where we stopped for lunch. Some chose to climb the cloudy peak of Thorpe, while others swam and sat by the Manifold River.
I had a blast @MarxistStudentis the very first Marxist summer camp. We had excellent in-depth discussions about Lenin’s ideas, met comrades from all over the country, sang revolutionary songs and climbed a mountain – all in one weekend! pic.twitter.com/nft1prTwf7
– tye ☭ (@bolsh3vik) June 26, 2022
Eventually, a short burst of rain forced the comrades to pack their bags quickly, before setting off again for the last political session of the day.
Lenin and the Bolsheviks
The third lecture of the weekend was given by Rob Sewell, editor of Socialist appealwhich started with Lenin and the Bolsheviks.
Rob’s talk began with the early years of Lenin’s life and how this future revolutionary leader was politicized after his brother was hanged by the Russian state for trying to kill the Tsar.
Lenin went on to study law, but soon found his true calling in Marxism. From then on, he dedicated his life to building the revolutionary organization – an organization that would become the Bolsheviks.
It served as a lesson to the comrades attending this weekend school, with the comrades emphasizing the need for true revolutionary leadership throughout the discussion.
After dinner, we had a social evening, which included a Marxist quiz and revolutionary songs, such as “bread and roses”, “Smash the van” and “el pueblo unido, jamás será vencido”.
The national question
Sunday morning started with our last session of the weekend, on the national question.
Shaun Morris, editor of Revolution Scotland, spoke on this subject. He explained that there is no magic formula for how Marxists should approach the issue. Each national question must be studied in its historical evolution.
Shaun began by referring to Marx’s writings on Ireland, before going on to explain Lenin’s many writings on the national question and the works of other important Marxists such as James Connolly.
Again, we broke into separate rooms to facilitate a larger discussion. This resulted in a huge range of topics covered: from black nationalism to Scotland to Catalonia.
struggle for socialism
Capitalism remains in its deepest crisis. We urgently need to strengthen the forces of Marxism, in Britain and around the world.
MSF’s weekend school has played a vital role in this task, providing theory and camaraderie to a new generation of class fighters.
We draw a lot of inspiration from the life and ideas of Lenin. We will move forward with enthusiasm and confidence, armed with these ideas, and continue the struggle for socialism.