1. The Right to Free Public Education and Job Training with Stipend
We believe that education at all levels is a right and that this includes training in all vocational fields. Young people should be free to determine their career without fear of drowning in debt incurred by rising tuition fees.
We believe that the great expenditure on war, jails and prisons and on corporate welfare is a crime; and that these billions could instead partly be used towards providing education for all and guaranteeing jobs.
Education is a lifelong endeavor, not only to provide a person the tools to be productive in society, but also to connect a person and their surroundings to events in history. We therefore believe that the long view of history and the science of human and societal development should be taught.
The history of all oppressed nationalities and the true history of colonization of their lands and subjugation of their people should be taught as well, rather than the oppressors slant on history that is taught in schools across the country. To this end, we support all oppressed people and their right to educate their own people.
2. The Demilitarization of Our Schools
Today many schools, especially those in inner cities and neighborhoods of oppressed nationalities, look like prisons: bars on the windows, metal detectors at entrances and roving police patrols. These things are not conducive to a positive learning environment and serve to intimidate and criminalize young people.
Military recruiters should not be allowed access to young people. With college tuition increasing and access to loans decreasing, the military option appears more attractive to youth uncertain about their economic future and that of their families. Recruiters spread lies to persuade youth to join a military that is used to wage war in the interests of a system that perpetuates exploitation.
As a whole the No Child Left Behind Act should be repealed, and especially the portion that allows recruiters access to students.
3. The Right to Healthcare
Millions of poor and working people lack access to medical care, and the greatest disparity can be seen amongst oppressed nationalities. The resources wasted by the military and the Pentagon for the aims of the rich and super rich could be used to provide a national healthcare system for every person in the U.S.
There should be a government healthcare program providing 100% coverage for all people, including vision, dental, and reproductive health.
Such a thing would make insurance companies completely obsolete. In fact, health insurance companies view healthcare as a commodity and that is what it has become, instead of a form of subsistence for oppressed and workers. As a right, it frees workers to be healthy, productive members of society.
4. The Right to Housing
Housing, as all things necessary to live a healthy life and maintain dignity, is a right. Why should people be thrown out or evicted from their residence because of inability to pay? Why should there be millions of homeless people, many of them with families in tow when there is no shortage of housing?
Housing prices have become astronomical and in many cases account for 50% or more of a person’s income. Millions of homes and apartments sit empty when there are people that could use them. This is a crime.
What’s more, landlords have become increasingly restrictive in who they rent to, denying people based on credit scores or criminal records.
There needs to be guaranteed housing. A massive works program may not even be necessary, except to repair and make livable crumbling apartment buildings and public housing. In many cases, the government can simply seize empty homes and apartments and move people into them.
And, seeing as the government owns 75% of the country’s mortgages after having taken over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, an indefinite moratorium should be issued and terms favorable to workers and the poor can be determined.
5. Stop the Raids and Deportations
It is an undeniable truth that the people of Latin America, who make up the largest percentage of immigrant workers, are the original inhabitants of the Americas. So to label any Latin American as an “illegal alien” is to wipe away thousands of years of history.
We believe that no human being is “illegal” except the imperialists and that as capital is free to flow–interrupting the livelihoods of people across the globe–people should be free to travel, especially to escape conditions imposed upon them by the ravages of imperialist intervention in their homelands.
We believe that all workers, be they from the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, Asia or Europe are driven to the U.S. ultimately because of imperialism.
We demand that the government cease all raids and deportations, which interrupt lives including the lives of young people, many of whom were born in the U.S. and are being separated from their families.
Immigrant workers should not be the scapegoats of the rich who want to drive down wages for all the oppressed and workers. This scapegoating is racist in nature and meant to pit U.S.-born oppressed and workers from foreign-born oppressed and workers.
6. The Right to a Job
The oppressed and workers have a right to employment. Many young people have dropped out of the job market altogether, because of the dim prospects of securing a gainful, well paying job.
A large swath of territory was devastated by the deindustrialization period in the U.S. This did not have to happen. Oppressed people and workers should not have to pay for the greed and mismanagement of corporations. Those who work should be able to determine the fate of their jobs.
There is much that could be done in the U.S. A program of much-needed improvements in infrastructure, especially in the inner city, would provide for hundreds of thousands of jobs. Young people could take pride in being productive members of society, instead of the dread that they face because of an uncertain future.
7. The Right to a Clean and Healthy Enviornment
Workers have the right to breathe clean air, drink safe water, and consume healthy, untainted foods. Capitalism has threatened this right through profit-driven industrial pollution and the damaging effects of imperialist wars of conquest. Young workers and students are particularly impacted by environmental degradation as the true effects of today’s pollution will be felt decades from now.
We demand an end to the environmental racism exemplified by selective enforcement of environmental rules and regulations in communities of color, the intentional targeting of these communities for placement of polluting industries, and the exclusion of these community leaders from regulatory bodies.
We demand worker and community control of industry for the creation of a sustainable ecology in contrast to the anarchy of capitalist production.
8. Shut down the prison industrial complex
As job opportunities, student loans and options in general for youth steadily disappear, youth are increasingly being railroaded into the prison industrial complex. In fact, prisons and the military seem to be the most viable option for many youth in urban cities. Especially affected by the criminal injustice system are youth of color; lesbian, gay, bi and trans youth; and immigrant youth.
Rather than reverse this trend–by funding education, jobs programs, extracurricular activities and social services–federal, state and local governments can be seen pouring money into more law enforcement and more jails.
We demand an end to the criminalization of youth for the way they dress and talk; to the quelling of righteous dissent amongst youth and students; to police brutality on the streets and a racist and unjust court system. We further demand an end to the racist death penalty, and freedom for all political prisoners, including Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier and so many others who have been imprisoned simply for defending the rights of themselves and their communities.
9. Self-determination is a right
In the face of hundreds of years, since the very founding of the United States, of outright oppression and repression of communities of color throughout the U.S.–slavery, the theft of Native lands including more than half of Mexico, the enforced sterilization of women of color, lynchings, concentration camps for Japanese Americans, the wholesale incarceration of people of color, and on and on–we demand the right of oppressed communities to determine their own destiny.
We affirm the right of oppressed communities to decide what is best for their own communities, and the right for them to fight for those rights by any means necessary. We support any demands for reparations, in whatever form, that oppressed communities may make upon the racist U.S. government.
10. Defeat U.S. imperialism
As we make demands for self-determination within oppressed communities in the U.S., we also affirm these rights for oppressed nations around the world, many of which are fighting valiantly against U.S. imperialism.
Wherever U.S. imperialism goes–whether in the form of military, political or economic incursions–what inevitably follows is death, poverty and the destruction of cultures, infrastructures and economies.
We stand in solidarity with the people of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and beyond, who continue to resist the efforts of imperialist countries to exploit their lands and peoples.
11. Justice and Equality for All Women
Young women are living in a time where the rights that women fought and died to establish are being threatened and, in some states, taken away all together. We demand and end to attacks on women’s rights and the establishment of social, economic and sexual equality for all genders and sexes.
We demand reproductive justice for all women including affordable, accessible and safe abortions, full access to safe sex materials and comprehensible funding for childcare.
We must take strides to stop sexual assault and rape. We demand honest and in-depth education about rape and sexual assault for all youth. We demand free recovery programs and counseling, and full legal and financial support for survivors of sexual assault and rape.
We demand equal education for all sexes including equal access, support and encouragement in all classes and extracurricular activities. Campuses need to include anti-sexist trainings for all students.
Abstinence-only-education is preventing schools from teaching all methods of safe sex and from creating programs for young parents. We demand inclusive sexual education and parenting programs for young parents in every school.
We demand equal pay for equal work, on the job childcare, paid maternity leave and family care days, and comprehensive programs and guidelines to prevent sexual assault on the job.
12. Safety and Equality for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer (LGBTQ) youth
We demand an end to the harassment and the verbal, sexual, and physical assault of LGBTQ youth at the hands of police officers. LGBTQ youth are often stopped and forced to present identification to officers, especially if our gender identity and presentation is not that of our assigned gender/sex.
As a result of family disputes and sexual abuse, LGBTQ youth are often likely to be in homeless shelters or living on the streets, where they often have little to no security and support and are even more vulnerable to assault and harassment. We demand funding for safe and accessible community housing for LGBTQ youth. We further demand affordable, accessible, LGBTQ inclusive housing on every campus.
We demand that LGBTQ youth and our allies be free to set up student organizations and events with the full support that any other student group receives. We demand LGBTQ centers on our campuses to provide safe space and resources for LGBTQ youth.
All youth need inclusive and comprehensive sexual education that focuses on the spectrum of sexuality, sex and gender; prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and youth pregnancy; and teaches about sex in a positive and realistic light.
We demand respectful and adequate healthcare, inclusive health clinics and full health coverage (including hormone treatment, surgery and therapy) for LGBTQ youth. We demand all medical personnel receive LGBTQ inclusive medical training.
We demand job training and placement, anti-discrimination and LGBTQ inclusion trainings for all employees and employers, and legal protections from employee-employee harassment/discrimination.
On the necessity of the fight for a socialist future:
FIST is a youth group that believes the eradication of all forms of oppression and repression is only possible with a revolutionary change in the social relations. While it is important to fight for gains and make material demands on the capitalist government, history has shown that, especially in times of crisis, capitalist governments will always seek to erode demands in the form of social services and that the capitalist class will always seek to take away gains won against them and increase exploitation.
These demands are a platform for struggle, but can ultimately be protected from bourgeois reaction by overthrowing bourgeois society for a socialist future.