This is an ideal group for anyone in Cambridge who wants to discuss Marxist theory and its application to modern events.
The group organises debates, discussions, talks, film showings, and reading groups based around the works of Karl Marx and other related thinkers, along with events that address current affairs and campaigns from a Marxist perspective.
The Cambridge MDG was launched at the Freshers’ Fair of 2009 to provide a forum for exploring the broader ideas that were being raised amongst an increasingly radicalised layer of youth. The economic crisis, which had blown wide open in the Autumn of 2008, had led to a full-blown recession by the following year, and many students were graduating into an increasingly competitive job market. People were once again openly discussing Marxist ideas in relation to the crisis-ridden nature of capitalism, and there was a general sense that the youth were particularly being affected by this crisis.
The response to the MDG was instantly very positive, with over 200 people signing up to the society, attracted by our term card of events, including discussions on Marxist theory, history, and current events. The society was an instant success, with around 40 people attending the first meeting and good turnouts for the rest of the year.
By the beginning of the new academic year in October 2011 we were easily the largest political group in Cambridge, with hundreds of people on our mailing list, including some representatives on the student union council.
Perspectives for the future
The experiences of the Marxist societies that have been established in universities across the country show the importance of education and theory, rather than simply encouraging blind activism; of having a sense of perspective and proportion; and of patiently building a base from to intervene in the wider student and labour movements.
From these concrete examples, one can see in practice how to connect socialist ideas with the broad mass of students over a period of time and thus play an important leading role in the student movement at the decisive points in the movement, providing the vital subjective factor when the necessary objective conditions are present.
The crisis of capitalism has dealt a hammer blow to the consciousness of students in Britain in the last few years. The movement of 2010 has temporarily subsided, but only to give way to a wider anger in society and thus prepare the ground for a return of the student movement on a qualitatively higher level – this time as a mass movement of students and workers.
The forces of Marxism in Britain are still too small to play a decisive role at a national scale; but in particular areas and struggles – where a base has been built – the Marxists have played an important role, and in some cases decisive, role – from the student occupation in Cambridge, to the Sparks’ dispute in Unite the Union, and now with the ongoing fight of the Labour councillors in Hull.
Importantly, thanks to the foundation of Marxist societies in universities across the country, these forces are growing and a new generation of youth are coming into contact with the revolutionary ideas of Marxism. These newly educated cadres are beginning to play an increasingly active and important role in the student movement across the country and will go on to become leading activists within the labour movement also. This is the music of the future; a future that we – the Cambridge MDG – are trying to build now. We encourage you to join us in this fight.