Student unions, Student Respect groups and other activists are gearing up for what it’s hoped will be the largest free education demonstration in years, called by the NUS in London on 29 October.
Despite soaring student debt and the imminent arrival of top up fees, there was no demonstration last year. The previous year the NUS leaders backed off from a London demonstration.
However, this year’s NUS conference saw the first appearance of Student Respect as the largest left delegation on conference floor, who were able to win the demand for this year’s campaign.
And with anger strong among the new generation of top-up fee paying students, the demonstration is really connecting with the mood on the campuses.
Coaches are already being filled from student unions around the country. Plymouth university cancelled a train they had booked because its 400 capacity was too small.
The student union at Queen Mary University in east London has assigned a team of activists to each hall of residence to maximise turnout among first years.
Commitment to this broad unity is vital to achieving not just the thousands on the streets on 29 October, but also to a genuine, vibrant campaign that can move beyond the demonstration into a movement that can seriously challenge the government’s agenda.
It is equally vital that activists are continually raising the importance of a radical, militant strategy including pickets of vice chancellors’ offices and university occupations. As we have seen with students in France and Greece, this is a strategy that can win.
Demonstrate Sunday 29 October, assemble 11am, Malet Street, central London.