Education is a human right. College must be available to all, including undocumented and formerly incarcerated students, free of tuition, fees, and debt. Furthermore, education is not accessible so long as marginalized students are not equipped with the resources necessary to support their growth, safety, and prosperity. Colleges, universities, community colleges, and trade schools alike need to directly invest in resources such as mental health and sexual assault counselors, disability and accessibility services, and guidance for first generation students, while divesting from police and ICE presence on campuses.
We take part in a global tradition of youth resistance. We draw on the wisdom and experience of other student and youth-led movements for justice, fights that are deeply connected to not only colonialism, imperialism, and racial capitalism, but also to legacies of resistance that transcend borders. We are inspired by the people of Puerto Rico who continue to resist US imperialism and its effects on debt in and outside of higher education, the students of South Africa who won a landmark victory for free higher education through their #FeesMustFall movement, and all the young people in the Global South and throughout history who have built and led cultural revolutions that have expanded our vision of what is possible.
We take responsibility. As young people, we are constantly told that we’re powerless, and that we don’t know enough about “how the world works” to be trusted to make decisions that impact our lives. We refute those lies. From history we know that young people have the potential to change the world. We are ready to hold that responsibility, because those in power will not do it for us. We will be the generation that makes change happen on a massive scale to combat the massive problems we face.
We stand together for each other’s struggles. Our movement does not exist in a vacuum. Economic inequality and structural oppression are inseparable. Low-income students, students of color, undocumented students, trans and queer students, and all who are otherwise oppressed throughout society are impacted, though differently, by our unjust education system. Not only this, but we know that our movement is so much more than making sure everyone has access to schooling––we have a radical vision of a better world that includes collective liberation for all of us.
We’re reaching beyond what is currently possible. We fight to win, but if we’re limiting ourselves to only fight for small reforms, we’re never going to get what we really want. We are aiming for big victories that fundamentally shift the balance of wealth and power away from the 1% and towards our communities. Our current campaign seeks Free College for All, not just affordable education for some. We will, however, win some stepping stone policy changes on our way.
We build together. We are a national political organization with a shared analysis and strategy, with national organizing working in concert with our local Student Action affiliates. Currently, we have growing groups of campus organizers who are building out our national campaign for Free College for All.We actively encourage experimentation and failure, and the collective seeks to support each of our different needs as they arise.
We’re in it for the long haul. We are building infrastructure to engage students beyond their graduation through People’s Action affiliate organizations and a Student Action alumni network. Too often, organizations engage students during short periods surrounding elections without continuing to invest in their development as leaders. As young people, we are uniquely positioned to carry out a long term agenda, and we need to be part of building a lasting progressive infrastructure to win the world we want.
We work inside and outside of traditional politics. Our struggle requires us to get people with our values elected to office at every level of government. But electoral work alone is not enough to combat the wealth and power of the 1%. For our education justice movement to fight racial, gender, and economic inequality, we need a bottom-up, people-driven approach to politics where a diverse mass of young people take the lead in transforming the political system, advancing our values, and winning real changes to improve all of our lives.
This movement is for all of us. We are accepting of people with diverse political backgrounds and beliefs. If we are to reach the amount of people necessary to create a mass movement, we must expand beyond the righteous few and graciously welcome all of those who have a stake in a just education system. We believe in a political unity based in deep, transformative relationships that move each other toward mutual understanding.
We will win. When we organize, we build power to transform the world as we know it. We are changing our relationship to power. We are done being pawns in a 1% game. It’s time for things to change – and we’re going to be the ones who make that happen