As we head into our second full week of the new semester at Northeastern, college students around the country are getting back into the swing of things: Hanging out with friends, going to class, and joining clubs. For many students, figuring out how to make money is another step added on top of all this. At Northeastern, tuition, room and board and miscellaneous fees add up to over $60,000 per year.

College tuition everywhere is getting out of control, but more and more we are taught that if we don’t get a college education, we’re screwed. And the student debt crisis isn’t the only crisis we’re facing. In order to maintain their profits, the 1 percent exploits both people and the planet, putting us on a path to surefire environmental catastrophe. Mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow, and it’s the police’s job to enforce this racist system by murdering people of color continually. The 80 richest people in the world own as much wealth as the poorest half, or 3.5 billion people.

But at this moment, people are fighting back and the world is changing. Last September was the biggest climate march in history. This past year saw the explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement, a major opposition against this deeply racist system. Bernie Sanders, with his left-wing politics and progressive message, is gaining momentum and poses a real threat to the corporate establishment.

But is electing one really progressive person as president enough to fix an otherwise deeply broken system?  What else can we do to build a successful movement to change the system?

Last year, Socialist Alternative Northeastern led the first campaign in the country for a campus-wide minimum wage of $15 per hour. This year, we’re helping the Seattle branch of our organization to re-elect Kshama Sawant, the first socialist US city councilor in decades. We’ll also be participating in the #MillionStudentMarch national day of action against student debt on Nov. 12.

The people are the vehicle for progressive change and history has shown that when we fight, we win. The Socialist Alternative is an international organization that organizes in communities, workplaces and on campuses. We are not just students – we are people of all ages and formal education levels, all colors, genders and sexual orientations, and what unites us is our vision for a better world.

– Elan Axelbank is a third-year sociology major and a member of Socialist Alternative.

Photo courtesy Bob Simpson, Creative Commons