“The student demonstrations have been marked by visceral class anger and anti-Tory hatred,” said Hannah Dee from the SWP central committee, opening the session on students.
“After the events at Millbank on 10 November we saw unofficial demos of thousands, occupations of universities and mass disruption in towns and cities across the country.
“Students have laid siege to parliament and smashed the windows of the treasury chanting ‘give us our money back’. They became an inspiration.
“The movement has caused a crisis in the heart of the government.
“Nick Clegg has gone from being the golden boy of British politics before the election to now looking as if he is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
“It has also expressed the anger of millions of people and shown that a fightback is not only possible but can win.
“The level of police brutality and a total of over 180 arrests are dangerous for the coalition and the police as their legitimacy is further undermined.
“In this new revolutionary current we can provide answers. Some 400 students have joined the SWP since the start of term.
“The student demonstrations on 29 January and the TUC protest on 26 March are key initiatives and can be used to bring students and workers together.”
Around 30 students from around the country spoke in the following discussion, with many more unable to speak because of time restrictions.
Samir, a further education student from Bury Cross, said, “The demonstrations have sparked the belief that we can do something.
“There is a wider understanding of the enemy and class struggle among further education students.
“I want to appeal to trade unionists to fund school students transport to the demonstration on 29 January.
“We deserve it!”
Rosie, a student from Sheffield university said, “I joined the SWP five weeks ago as I realised that this is a crucial time.
“Day X3 in December was an eye opener. It showed me the role of police in society—to frighten us off the streets.
“It increased the class conciousness of me and many others, and showed the government is afraid.”
Solidarity has been built between workers and students.
Hannah from Leeds university said, “The PCS and Unison unions gave us free printing facilities.
“Donations from the NUJ, CWU and Unison unions meant we could offer school students coach tickets to
demonstrations at lower prices.
“Trade unionists brought us much needed food and toothbrushes to our occupation.“
Students also debated the political make up of the movement, and the autonomous current within it.
This argues that political organisations are not needed in the new movement.
Anindya from Kingston university said, “Students often turn to a soft form of autonomism as an initial way to understand what’s going on.
“We have to say that leadership isn’t about a bureaucrat telling you what to do, it’s about taking initiative.
“Organisation is about coming together and acting as one.”
Arnie from Chiswick Community School said, “If it wasn’t for the SWP I wouldn’t have had the confidence to lead a walkout of over 1,000 students from my school.
“We need to take this into workplaces.”
Sheldon from Barnsley College said, “I joined the SWP on 9 December. After we were kettled for hours by the police, I realised we need a different type of society.
“Students need to act as leaders to build the TUC march on 26 March. We need to agitate for a bigger fight to bring down the government.”