Dated: 11 Dec 2010
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We need to bring down this government—raising student fees to £9,000 a year and abolishing the Education Maintenance Allowance was never "inevitable", it was a political choice by David Cameron and Nick Clegg.
A forum on "How Can We Unite to Stop the Cuts" hosted by the Right to Work (RTW) campaign last Saturday saw important moves towards more effective and united work.
The steering committee of the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) had a tumultuous meeting last Saturday.
The student revolt and the fight against Tory cuts have created new political debates in every workplace, college and community.
The Tories blame ordinary people for their own poverty to justify benefit cuts. They paint a picture of parents as feckless scroungers who can’t be bothered to find a job and help their children.
The GMB union last month found that there are 1,359,282 unemployed claimants and just 521,729 job vacancies.
An official government report into plans to cut housing benefit says more than 930,000 households—over two million individuals— will be hit by the policy.
Remember Sir "Fred the Shred" Goodwin, the banker who brought the Royal Bank of Scotland to its knees?
Women will lose almost three times more than men from the cuts, according to gender equality campaign group, the Fawcett Society.
Workers at seven benefit processing sites are to strike for two days on 20 and 21 December against plans to turn them into call centres.
The result of the strike ballot to defend hundreds of jobs at the Passport Office in Newport and interview offices around Britain was due on Wednesday of this week.
Around 270,000 members of the PCS civil service workers’ union began balloting this week to reject the government’s attacks on their redundancy pay.
The proposed transfer of Wycombe District Council’s council homes to a private company has been stalled.
Firefighters in London are voting on a deal to end their dispute over shifts. Socialist Worker is calling for a "no" vote on both options.
Unison members at two South Buckinghamshire hospitals have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strikes in a dispute over pay and conditions.
Workers at the Heinz Kitt Green site in Wigan have voted overwhelmingly to strike over pay. The 1,200 members of the Unite union are now set to strike for 24 hours from 10pm on Wednesday of next week.
Around 1,500 campaigners marched through central London last Saturday to call on the government to take action on climate change.
Teachers at Villiers high school in Southall, west London, were set to strike on Wednesday of this week.
Workers at energy provider National Grid are to be balloted for industrial action over pay.
Lecturers at Dundee University have started a ballot for industrial action against 193 job cuts.
Members of the RMT union at Manchester’s local operator Northern Rail are balloting to strike over pay, in a dispute that could hit Christmas services.
Activists on Merseyside are set to march against cuts this Saturday.
The wave of protests against the cuts has reached new heights of militancy and size.
In Scotland, the chances of coordinated strikes across the public sector have taken a significant step forward.
Anti-cuts campaigners descended on high street shops across Britain last Saturday, calling on fat cat bosses to pay their taxes.
In a sign of the disastrous impact Islamophobic ideas can have, arsonists attempted to burn down a mosque in Stoke-on-Trent on Friday of last week.
The Irish government was pushing through its latest austerity budget on Tuesday of this week.
The ruling class response to the continued release of diplomatic emails by Wikileaks is telling.
More than 90 percent of Sefton council workers have voted for industrial action in response to massive job cuts, attacks on conditions and the culling of public services.
A work to rule by hundreds of Birmingham refuse workers has been postponed for two weeks for talks between the unions and the council.
An angry 250-strong meeting of the Islington council workers’ Unison union last week called for action over cuts.
We have seen another huge outpouring of student anger onto the streets of Britain this week.
Activists in the RMT and TSSA unions are continuing to push for an escalation of strikes on London Underground.
Robert Stephenson died suddenly at home last week. He joined the SWP in the 1970s while at Swansea university and then trained to be a teacher at Charlotte Mason College in Ambleside. He organised an occupation of Kendal council over cuts in 1976.
A deal has been brokered between BBC management and representatives of the Bectu and NUJ unions at the corporation.
Journalists at the Newsquest-owned Southern Daily Echo in Southampton and The Argus in Brighton struck on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
Lecturers across Britain were backing mass protests this Thursday—and some called for walkouts.
Teachers in Bolton have backed a decision by their national NUT union to ballot for strikes to defend their pensions.
Another wave of walkouts is set to hit colleges on Monday 13 December—a day dubbed "Save EMA Day".
Bob Crow, the RMT transport union general secretary, wrote, emailed and sent text messages to union members to encourage them to join the student protest on Thursday.
Manchester activists set up a "Sponsor a student protester" Facebook page, asking for donations to help students travel to London.
The GMB union’s S38 branch in Sheffield this week voted to pay for a coach to take students to Thursday’s London demonstration.
The University of Cambridge is not particularly well known for its student radicalism. Our recent 10-day occupation may change this.
Many new occupations have bloomed across Britain this week.
Managements in universities across Britain have tried to intimidate students with the threat of injunctions—with some going as far as getting court orders to evict students.
The government is trying to dampen anger at its education cuts by offering concessions to poorer students.
Around 250 school students from King Edward school in Sheffield have marched on the city’s Town Hall this evening.
Students from occupied Newcastle university, Northumbria university and local sixth forms occupied the main Council Chambers of the Newcastle Civic Centre today.
Tube workers in the RMT union’s London Underground Engineering branch tonight passed full support for the student protests – and donated £250 to the Education Activist Network (EAN). The workers also called for the student protests to be part of wider and deeper resistance by workers, including a general strike.
Manchester University march and occupation Manchester students have now booked seven coaches to the national demonstration in London tomorrow.
Sixth form students began a 24-hour sit-in at Camden School for Girls, in north London at 9am this morning, Wednesday.
Local residents living in temporary accommodation heckled Tory housing minister Grant Shapps yesterday in Broadwater Farm, Tottenham, north London, over attacks on housing.
10.10pm Up to 1,000 people are being held on Westminster Bridge in a police kettle. The protesters includes school students, some as young as 15. They are singing songs and chanting, but are being held surrounded by riot police on the middle of the bridge with no indication when they will be allowed to leave.
The student protests very nearly defeated the coalition less than six months into its rule.
The student march at the beginning of the London protests against the trebling of student fees on Thursday 9 December
Download Socialist Worker two-page A4 special <a href="http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/graphics/2010/keep/x3special.pdf">X3 Special</a>172kb PDF
The student protests very nearly defeated the coalition less than six months into its rule. MPs voted by 323 to 302 to allow fees to rise to up to £9,000 a year. A coalition majority of 80 fell to 21.
There will be more parliamentary votes over fees and the Education Maintenance Allowance. And, as the protests against the cuts show, other issues will rise to become the focus for the whole movement.
The root of the coalition’s attacks on education is a desire to make workers pay for the bankers’ and bosses’ crisis.
University, school and college students besieged parliament today.
Metropolitan police commissioner Paul Stephenson says that "any right-minded individual" will condemn yesterday’s student protests in central London.
Management at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne are threatening legal action against students who are occupying there.
Some 40 Middlesex students and lecturers, present and past, gathered outside Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith, west London, today to hold a vigil for their friend and fellow student Alfie Meadows.
Trade unions across the world, including the TUC, are calling for solidarity with Iranian trade union leader Reza Shahabi, who has been on hunger strike since 4 December in protest at his continuing imprisonment.
Radical journalist John Pilger's new film is released in cinema's today (Monday). It will be shown on television tomorrow (Tuesday).
Students at the University of Hull went into occupation this morning.
As of 8.30am this morning, students of Aberystwyth University started a teach-in in the main lecture hall on Penglais Campus.
Students in the Parliament Square kettle on the day of the fees vote in Parliament—and the behaviour of the police
"Rabble", "thugs", "yobs" and "criminals" – just some of the words used to describe students taking part in the London protest against the tripling of tuition fees on 9 December.
The fragile government of Italy’s prime minister Silvio Berlusconi suffered another significant blow as students poured onto the streets over the past two weeks to protest against proposed education reforms.
Memories of repression under Franco’s dictatorship returned to Spain at the weekend when a "state of alert" was used to end a strike by air traffic controllers.
For far too long there has been a big gap between the anger that millions of people feel over the cuts and the timid response of most union leaders.
The year 1968 saw student revolt spread all around the world. Everywhere capitalism was modernising itself, and needed a more educated workforce—and so higher education was rapidly expanded.
Britain’s rulers like to present democracy, the welfare state and legal equality as gifts that they have given to ordinary people.
You will probably know that this week Coronation Street reaches 50 years of continuous broadcasting. ITV is celebrating the event with the razzamatazz it normally reserves for royal weddings and successful world cup bids (oh dear, cancel that one).
This is a nasty film—but it could well scoop a Best Documentary Oscar next February.
Iconic London music venue the 100 Club is set to close—but campaigners intend to fight to save it.
National Coal Mining Museum, Wakefield. Until 23 January 2011
As the student movement has taken to the streets, the police have blocked off roads, kettled young people for hours in freezing temperatures, and hit out with batons, shields and fists.
Whatever happens in parliament this week, the student movement has transformed politics. It has shattered the myth that people are too ground down, or bought off, or apathetic to resist.
Firefighters: Socialist Worker is right on strikes After reading FBU union official Ben Sprung’s attack on Socialist Worker’s coverage of the London firefighters’ strikes (Socialist Worker, 4 December), I feel I should come to the paper’s defence.
‘It brought me back to the days when I used to protest against cuts. My heart goes out to them’