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YSA: Challenging capitalism, challenging the state
YOUNG SOCIALIST Action (YSA) played a significant role in this year's anti-capitalist May Day protests in London.
Zena Awad and Kieran Roberts
Not only did they oppose capitalism but also put forward a clear socialist alternative to the profit-driven system which young people want to abolish.
Such an intervention was crucial as a mood is growing toward socialist ideas. This was demonstrated by many young people taking our leaflets, buying all kinds of material from us and signing up for more information, or joining us.
YSA then held a highly successful meeting a day after the protests, under the title 'Opposing Capitalism, building the Socialist Alternative.'
Despite the fact many were still recovering from the previous day's ordeal in Oxford Circus, 35 people turned up to hear speakers from the YSA, Socialist Party and Committee for a Workers International (CWI - the international which the Socialist Party is part of).
Lois Austin spoke first about the need to build a socialist alternative and the need for May Day protesters to link up with workers to change society.
She also talked about the police's outrageous tactics around Oxford Circus when they blocked in 4,000 protesters for over seven hours. Not only was this a blatant infringement of the protesters' rights, we believe it was also unlawful.
We do not believe that the police should get away with this unchallenged. That is why we are organising a civil action against the police for unlawful detainment.
A barrister spoke at the meeting detailing the legal position. He is willing to represent a mass action by people encircled in Oxford Circus.
We also have the details of many who want to be part of a case against the police. If you know about what happened to them please give statements to YSA.
Vanessa Fatton, from Socialist Alternative, the US section of the CWI spoke about the growth of radical movements and anti-capitalism in the US in the last couple of years.
Clare Doyle spoke from the CWI about some of the different May Day events CWI sections around the world were involved in.
She also described the Quebec protests, in which she participated, and the police's brutal response to the protesters there.
The meeting highlighted the growth of an anti-capitalist consciousness and a determination by many young people to build an alternative to capitalism.
In The Socialist 11 May 2001: