Socialist Worker

Students return to the streets

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2240

Glasgow students on the protest (Pic: Duncan Brown)

Glasgow students on the protest (Pic: Duncan Brown)


Thousands of students were set to march and rally across Britain this Thursday as they hit the streets for “Day X4”.

They are fighting for education in the face of a government that only has the interests of the rich at heart.

Glasgow shows what is possible. Over 2,000 students rallied against cuts to nursing, modern languages and social science courses there last Wednesday.

Lucky Dillon, a third year Glasgow university student who helped to organise the demonstration, told Socialist Worker, “We’ve had an occupation on campus for the last three weeks. We used it as a place to organise.

“On the Friday before the demonstration we had a meeting of 430 people on campus against the cuts.”

Anger

Lucky thinks that, with or without an occupation, the anger on campuses makes it possible to organise big protests.

“I think it’s important for students everywhere to occupy and demonstrate to bring the universities to a standstill,” she says.

Students and staff in Glasgow are setting up department committees to discuss the fightback.

“Everyone is getting ready to fight together when the UCU members strike for education and against cuts,” said Lucky.

“The politics of the movement has broadened.

“It is not simply about being opposed to the cuts, but questioning how universities are run, if there are any democratic rights for staff and students.”

Activists are planning an

all-Scotland anti-cuts conference for 15 March to bring together the different fights.

“The demonstrations in London have given us the confidence to fight,” Lucky added.

“We know it’s just a matter of time before they try to introduce fees for Scottish students in Scottish universities. But we’re prepared to stop them.”

The maximum £9,000 fees will become the norm in England if vice chancellors get their way.

Imperial College, Oxford and Cambridge have already announced they will charge the full fees. Others will follow.

It will exclude thousands of students without the money to pay.

The government’s argument that they can “study now, pay later” offers no comfort to people who will be condemned to a life of low wages.

Youth unemployment is soaring. Almost a million under-25s are now unemployed—even as the government claims a “recovery”.

And graduate unemployment is at the highest for a decade. One in five trying to find a job last year found there was nothing for them.

This figure hides the thousands who are in dead end jobs.

This is David Cameron and Lib Dem lapdog Nick Clegg’s vision of our future.

Ordinary young people are left fighting for minimum wage jobs, while the rich and privileged pay thousands for university and get cosy internships to help them climb the ladder.

The student protests, and the TUC protest on 26 March, are vital to show that we will not let the government trample the dreams of a generation.

Assemble 2pm, Thursday 24 February, Woburn House, Tavistock Square, central London, WC1H 9HQ. Go to

http://educationactivistnetwork.wordpress.com for other protests


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Article information

News
Tue 22 Feb 2011, 17:52 GMT
Issue No. 2240
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