The Socialist Youth Movement is reborn ahead of their public launch on June 16.

After more than half a decade, the Socialist Youth Movement (SYM) plans to relaunch the youth wing of the Workers and Socialist Party (WASP), with aims to decolonise and de-commodify higher education.   

The party was officially relaunched on May 29 2021, but the public and national launch will take place on Youth Day, June 16, in Soweto. 

SYM says it recognises that the crisis of financial exclusion in higher education is a product of capitalism, and opposes this by taking a Marxist stance.

 According to the SYM  financial exclusion can only be solved by the cancellation of student debt “through a bail-out by the state”.  Specifically, this should be funded by taxing of the rich. The new party says its aim to challenge the current leadership on campus, which it says has failed to lead the way to free and decolonialised education.  

SYM was first started in 2013 at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and had a presence on five campuses around the country, including the University of the Free State and the University of Limpopo. But in 2014, when WASP mother body suffered heavy losses during the general elections, the youth wing decided to restructure. Many of its members had graduated, presenting another obstacle.    

However, during the #FeesMustFall movement of 2015, WASP saw a gap and rebooted its call for public funded and fee-free higher education for all, and SYM 2.0 was born.   

 According to Raees Noorbhai, a Wits astrophysics masters student, and SYM member, a conference to properly discuss these issues was supposed to happen, but it did not take place and SYM dissolved, “largely for the same reasons that the movement for free education thus far has failed.”  

 Noorbhai says the third attempt at launching the youth wing started at the end of March and he credits the protests over free education that took place earlier this year as the reason SYM 3.0. 

 Noorbhai tells Wits Vuvuzela  that  “[they] are now rapidly expanding [their] broad program, to seek justice in every domain at our institution and in our societies.”  The party aims to unite the struggles of students, the working class, community activists, progressive internationalists and the forces of climate and social justice. 

 The party has taken a stand on other issues. They have rejected the recent South Point evictions and aim to “shake South Point to its core through strike action,” says Noorbhai.   

SYM has also partnered with General Industries Workers Union of South Africa (GIWUSA) to found the Braamfontein community forum to further working class struggles”. The #FreePadsNow is also on their agenda, along with raising awareness about the situation in Palestine and about queer and gender rights.  

FEATURED IMAGE: The official SYM logo. Source: Twitter.