Socialist Worker

The students' Day X across Britain

Issue No. 2230

The anger felt by students and young people across Britain has become a movement.

The demonstrations on Wednesday of last week. saw working class students come to the fore, young people who want to have education and decent jobs with pay they can live on.

The slogan “Tory scum, here we come” rang out across Britain.

This was Day X, and the anger spilled out onto streets of towns, cities and villages.

In London thousands of students gathered in Whitehall in a mass protest, with thousands more walking out from colleges and schools in other parts of the city.

By lunchtime, UEL, Southbank, Soas and UCL universities were in occupation. For young people, London felt like a city in revolt.

The story was the same in many other cities. There were at least 15 university occupations on the day.

The involvement of so many school and FE college students was a turning point in the struggle.

In Leeds, 5,000 took to the streets, forging a route through the city centre and ending the day by occupying the city’s two main universities.

In Manchester, the universities—joined by college and school students—caused chaos in the city, and Manchester university was occupied.

Liverpool and Brighton each saw 3,000 walk out, with demonstrators from schools and colleges joining up with workers and those from universities for a rally.

Protesters laid siege to one of Brighton’s Vodafone shops—the firm that has become an icon of the skewed priorities of the system since its legal tax dodging schemes became infamous.

Newcastle saw one of its biggest demonstrations in years, as 3,000 students and workers surged through the city.

The occupied university became an organisational and political hub for the protesters.

But the movement wasn’t just there in the big cities. In Bournemouth, Truro, Southampton, Nottingham, Bury, Colchester and Dundee and many more students revolted.

The mood for nationwide walkouts developed after the siege of the Tory’s Millbank HQ and the huge 50,000 NUS-organised demonstration on 10 November.

School students were undeterred by threats of suspension and expulsion, college students evaded teachers, climbed over walls and blocked roads.

In Bristol, school and college students joined those from the university. They broke through police lines, pelted riot cops with eggs and took control of much of the city centre.

This was a day when the mood changed in Britain—the idea that everyone agrees with the cuts has been smashed. The lack of a mandate for the Tory coalition government is clear.

Students have also been inspiring workers outside Britain. In Italy, France and Austria students held protests against austerity measures and neoliberalism.

The Tories wanted their Lib Dems allies to help them sweep the attacks on education under the carpet.

But now they are a national focus—the young people’s revolt has put resistance to the cuts at the political centre.


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