After the demonstrations – February Fightback
February 1, 2011 Leave a comment
- Tuesday 8th February: London-wide meeting
- Return of the movement: report from demonstrations and assembly
- Support the strikes to defend education
- Take action against Vice Chancellors: Day of action on 24th February
- Saturday 5th February: Unite Against Fascism protest
- Saturday 12th February: People’s Convention
Tuesday 8th February: London-wide meeting
Learning from the past, debating the future…
HOW CAN THE GOVERNMENT BE STOPPED?
Public meeting 6pm, Tues 8 Feb, The Quad, LSE, Houghton St
- Professor Stathis Kouvelakis on the movement that defeated the CPE in France after it had been voted through Parliament
- Aaron Peters from UK Uncut
- Eyewitnesses from the Tunisian revolution, the campaign against the poll tax that brought down Margaret Thatcher and the 2010 strike at Sussex University.
- Jim Wolfreys, UCU NEC, on the campaign for industrial action.
Now that Parliament has voted to increase tuition fees and scrap the Education Maintenance Allowance, the question facing our movement is: where next?
Students will be turning up the pressure on the university managers who award themselves huge pay increases at the same time as hiking up fees, and lecturers in the UCU are balloting for strike action to defend their pensions. But in order to get results we need to unite around a strategy that can win.
In this meeting, we will discuss social movements that have won and debate the lessons they hold for our campaign to defend education.
Return of the movement: Report from demonstrations and assembly
The movement for education surged back into life this weekend. On Saturday thousands of students and trade unionists – from UCU, PCS, RMT, Unite, UNISON, NUT , CWU, GMB and other unions, many of whom brought their banners – took to the streets in London and Manchester in defence of education
In London up to 10,000 people marched, showing real determination to continue the fight despite the votes in Parliament. After a short rally ended the official part of the demonstration, a large number of marchers went on to the Egyptian embassy to show solidarity with those protesting against the government of that country.
And in a departure from previous protests, the police did not kettle the demonstration. We believe that this was in large part because of the organised and visible support of the trade union movement standing shoulder to shoulder with the students.
For further reports of the demonstration see:
This sets the tone for a new term of protests, strikes and occupations.
The following day around 150 representatives of occupations and campaigns around the country got together to discuss the way forward. Agreed priorities included going all-out to build support for the strike ballots in UCU, and a day of action against the Vice Chancellors on February 24th (more details below).
Since then, over 80 students at Glasgow University have gone back into occupation. See http://www.facebook.com/pages/Glasgow-Uni-Occupied/133691460021139 for updates and to send messages of support.
Students and workers unite – Support the strikes to defend education
This month members of the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) in universities and colleges will be balloting over industrial action to defend jobs, pay and pensions. The solidarity shown by education workers has been very important to the student movement – now it’s the students’ turn to get behind the staff.
Students’ active support for industrial action made all the difference in defeating cuts at King’s College London and the Universities of Leeds and Sussex last year. This year, the Education Activist Network and National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts are calling for students to join their staff on strike day, and in the meantime to do their utmost to show support for action.
Take action against university bosses – day of action on February 24th
Now that Parliament has voted to lift the cap on tuition fees, it is the Vice Chancellors and university managers who will decide how much to charge new students. These are the same bosses who are pushing through the attacks on staff… as well as awarding themselves an average pay rise of 20%, meaning that most are now paid around a quarter of a million pounds. This doesn’t include the perks and bonuses that would make an MP blush: for example the VC at Queen Mary’s University of London gets a free apartment worth £39,000 a year.
On Thursday 24th February the organisation representing Vice Chancellors, Universities UK, will be holding its spring members meeting. This will be a major day of action around the country with protests everywhere – including, in London, a march on the Universities UK conference.
Saturday 5th February: Stop the racist EDL in Luton
On Saturday the violent, racist English Defence League will be demonstrating against Muslims in Luton. A counter-demonstration has been called by Unite Against Fascism.
While the bulk of the EDL’s 30 “protests” have targeted Muslims, in December their leader Stephen Yaxley Lennon threatened that in future the EDL would turn up to “protect the police” at student demonstrations.
One of the main slogans of the occupations last term was #solidarity. On Saturday we hope that students and education activists will turn out and show that solidarity with the Muslim population of Luton.
For assembly and transport details see www.uaf.org.uk
Saturday 12th February – People’s Convention
To build resistance to cuts and austerity
Friends Meeting House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ
As part of the People’s Convention, the Education Activist Network and National Convention Against Fees and Cuts will be hosting a workshop.
Debate: Where next in the fight for education?
- Mark Bergfeld (NUS NEC, EAN)
- Michael Chessum (UCLU, NCAFC)
- Alan Whittaker (UCU President)
- Barnaby Raine (FE student)
Register at http://righttowork.org.uk