Monday, 19 November 2012

Students back on the streets this Wednesday, join the demo against fees and cuts

This Wednesday the 21st of November will see the return to struggle on a mass scale by thousands of students on the streets of London for the first time since 2010. The monstrous demonstration of 2010 still lives in the memories of many students and the government too. The NUS who have called this demonstration against their will are being forced to organise this due to mass pressure from below. Shamefully we suspect many NUS officers will be doing very little and have been doing really little in organising for this demonstration this week. So it will be left to groups such as socialist students who have had a big upsurge in recruitment and taking up of our ideas on campuses up and down the land this term already. Just like in 2010 much of the organising for the demonstration will be on the ground carried out by rank-and-file students many of which may be looking at socialist students and discussing with us our ideas. Unlike the NUS we are fully opposed to all cuts and all fees. We stand for a free fully funded education for students. An end to cuts in higher education and further education. In the winter of 2010, by the skin of their teeth, Cameron, Clegg and their rich mates managed to weather the storm of student protest, college walkouts and university occupations and forced through the most draconian raft of education 'reforms' ever enacted in Britain. These 'improvements' included the tripling of tuition fees from an already unaffordable £3,000 to a sky-high £9,000, the removal of vital EMA for college students, and the slashing of education budgets by up to 80% in some departments. The face of our education has visibly changed - university applications have already fallen by 15% in my native Sheffield. Entire groups of friends who were at Sheffield's colleges now languish on the dole, unable to afford to go to university and unable to get jobs. The neoliberal slash-and-burn of our education has had chilling effects. But though the student movement was set back by the passing of these vicious assaults on working class people's right to education, we're still here and we certainly haven't forgotten. The 50,000-strong demonstration in November 2010, the storming of Millbank Tower and the subsequent mass student uprising against the Tories still loom large in the minds of students. This year, the 'Class of 2010' comes of age - some of the students who walked out of their colleges, who took part in the biggest demonstration of college students ever, are now at university, forced to pay £9,000 a year. The need to kick out this shambolic government is becoming clear. The National Union of Students demonstration 'Educate, Employ, Empower', on 21 November, could open the floodgates to this simmering anger. This tide can be a storm surge, made unstoppable and irresistible by Socialist Students' ever-present slogan: 'students and workers - unite and fight!' Only the union between the dynamism and energy of the students with the industrial muscle of the organised working class can lead to success. The task is clear - taking forward the demands of Socialist Students beyond this demonstration and into the new year: free education, no budget cuts, fair pay for teaching and support staff, and to lend all support possible to workers in the coming struggles. We'll kick out this shower of posh boys and we'll fight for a socialist future.

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