Socialist Worker

Students return to the struggle

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2234

Around 150 students protested in central London on Friday of last week to mark Nick Clegg’s birthday. They gave him a kettle for a present!  (Pic: Smallman )

Around 150 students protested in central London on Friday of last week to mark Nick Clegg’s birthday. They gave him a kettle for a present! (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Two upcoming student protests are a big opportunity to step up the pressure on the government.

The demonstrations are planned for London and Manchester on Saturday

29 January and show that resistance will continue.

The protest in London, supported by the UCU and GMB unions, the Education Activist Network (EAN), the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAF) and others will see students and workers march on parliament together.

The TUC has organised a youth rally in Manchester on the day.

The National Union of Students has backed this, but has disgracefully refused to support the London protest.

Students who have returned to campus have taken action already, as the movement begins to revive following the Christmas holiday.

In Leeds, students at Trinity College have been in occupation since 2 January against cuts proposed to their college and further education as a whole.


In London, more than 100 students—both university and FE—attended a student assembly last Sunday to discuss the way forward.

Meanwhile, deputy prime minister and all round flip-flopper

Nick Clegg is in no doubt how students feel about his spineless U-turn over his pre-election commitment to resist the rise in tuition fees.

Students with placards disrupted Clegg’s Oldham by‑election walkabout with the Lib Dem candidate on Thursday of last week.

They chanted against fees. Clegg made every effort to escape and security guards manhandled the students away.

But Clegg’s difficult day was far from over. As he left a meeting of local Lib Dems, students greeted him once again.

The students, together with trade unionists barracked him, running after his car as he sped away looking grim-faced.

Actions like this show that the student movement is far from over.

The 29 January demonstrations will be vital in ensuring the students and workers cement the solidarity in struggle that was begun in towns and cities at the end of last year.

Solidarity from workers has been key to the student movement so far. They have visited occupations, donated money for transport to demonstrations and invited students to speak in workplaces.


The battle is now on to show the Tories that their attack on the students is an attack on everyone.

The day of action on Wednesday 26 January to save Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is an important date to renew links between all students.

Universities have to be centres of mass direct action in the first weeks of term.

Mass meetings, rallies, protests and occupations need to target university management and bring new students into the struggle.

Vice-chancellors must feel the heat of rage in every university.

At Essex university last term students repeatedly occupied the finance office to demand

transparency in university accounting and that management opens the books.

After several protests, the university agreed.

Students are fighting on a local and national level to bring the government to its knees.

They are also demanding that their own vice-chancellors refuse to set fees levels above the current—already extortionate—amount of over £3,000 a year.

Vice-chancellors will be able to set fees of up to £9,000 if the plans go through.

A mass movement can stop them in their tracks, give another kick to the coalition and win free education for all.

Go to for details on the Leeds occupation and to for more on action

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Article information

Tue 11 Jan 2011, 18:33 GMT
Issue No. 2234
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