Wednesday was a day of revolt—and it was right to revolt. Across Britain, from Dundee to Bournemouth, young people rose up against the attacks on education.
Day X was a revolt against £9,000 university fees, the closing off of universities to all but the rich, and the abolition of the EMA allowance that 16-18 year olds rely on to go to college.
But it was also about the way the Tories are ripping up people’s futures.
It showed that the angry march and the occupation of Tory headquarters on 10 November was not a one-off event. There were as many if not more people involved this time than last time. And it wasn’t just in London.
There were major protests in Leeds, Bristol, Glasgow, Manchester, Oxford, Liverpool, Sheffield, Brighton, Newcastle and many others.
Tens of thousands of students, especially school students, took to the streets. These school students know
universities are being closed off to them by soaring fees.
They know the cuts mean that only a few will get more than low-paid jobs. What does the government expect them to do—wave dole cards in joyous celebration of the royal wedding?
Working class young people are getting hammered—and that’s why they’re fighting back.
We know of at least 15 colleges where there have been student occupations.
This is a great way to carry forward the fight.
The anger we have seen in Europe—in Greece, France and Portugal—has now come to London twice in a month. There will be much more protest in the future.
Wednesday’s fightback was the right response to a government for the rich by the rich.
The vicious budget rammed through in Ireland at the same time as the student protests gives a sense of the future here unless there is resistance.
Wednesday’s protest must be a launchpad for further resistance. We need to make Tory education secretary Michael Gove choke on his words that this government isn’t going to listen to street protests.
There need to be occupations and further big protests before Christmas. These will be discussed at a national co-ordination meeting of students this Sunday, 28 November (see page 4).
But the resistance can’t be left to students and school students. Everyone needs to join the fightback. Trade union leaders have made speeches against the government. We need action to stop the hurricane of attacks on working people.
The Tories and their lackey Lib Dem allies have launched class war. It’s time for us all to fight back.
Protest across Europe
On Wednesday other workers and students were also fighting back.
A general strike shook Portugal, where the government wants to slash public sector wages. Joao Proenca, head of the UGT union federation said, “If the fight against the deficit sinks the country, we have achieved nothing.”
In Italy some students stormed the senate after a march through Rome against education cuts. One declared, “Today we are taking back our future.”
In Ireland, the government unveiled a brutal package of cuts to pay for its latest IMF bailout. This will slash welfare by £2.5 billion, increase student fees and cut the public sector pay bill by £1 billion—yet corporation tax remains a low 12.5 percent.
Protesters in Dublin forced the Merrion Hotel, where IMF representatives are staying, to close.
A huge demonstration is planned for this Saturday.
Education Activist Network
- National co-ordination meeting of students Sunday 28 November,
12 noon – 5pm, Birbeck College,
Malet Street, London.
- Education for the people, not the market. A national teach-in on Sunday 5 December.
Go to http://educationactivistnetwork.wordpress.com for more information