Socialist Worker

Students picket university bosses

Issue No. 2241

 (Pic: Smallman )

(Pic: Guy Smallman)

Hundreds of students protested in London last week. They were outraged by the rise in tuition fees and the cuts being imposed on education by the government and vice-chancellors.

Up to 400 students picketed the offices of Universities UK—as vice-chancellors from Britain’s “top” universities met.

They were discussing how to drive through the cuts. Students blocked Euston Road and went on to occupy crossroads and branches of banks across the city.

The demonstration then marched to the US embassy to show solidarity with Libyan activists protesting there.

Students from the LSE, Kings, Soas, Westminster and other colleges joined the protest.

Ellie from UCL said, “It’s a disgrace that the heads of our universities are cheering the government on as they turn our universities into businesses.

“Before long it will be dozens of universities that are charging the £9,000 maximum fees.”

Max from Birkbeck College said, “I started going to the protests at the end of last term. They were the first I’ve been involved in and I think they give us a huge sense of empowerment. They show we want to hold our vice-chancellors and the government to account.”

Other protests happened on the same day in several places with universities across the country.

While these protests were smaller than those at the end of 2010, the recent occupations—including Glasgow, LSE and Manchester universities—show the continuing politicisation and radicalisation of students in Britain.

The successful occupation of the LSE was in protest over the university’s acceptance of funding from the Gaddafi regime in Libya.

The occupation succeeded in forcing the university management to refuse further donations and fund scholarships for underprivileged students from Libya.

The Education Activist Network is organising a teach-in on 16 March, to bring together students and workers to discuss and organise the way forward.

Many activists want to bring the vibrancy and militancy of the student movement into all the other struggles against this government.

Students are organising to bring the biggest possible contingents onto the TUC demonstration on 26 March—and to help build the fightback that follows.

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Tue 1 Mar 2011, 18:46 GMT
Issue No. 2241
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