Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/648/10666
No to victimisation, defend student protesters!
On 10 November over 50,000 students took part in a demonstration against the massive assault on the right to an education.
The Con-Dem government had already announced plans to cut higher education teaching budgets by 80%, raise tuition fees to £9,000 a year and scrap Education Maintenance Allowance.
What these attacks add up to is kicking out hundreds of thousands of working class young people from education.
The demonstration was a huge show of opposition from students and education workers who see these attacks as an attempt by the government to blame young and working class people for an economic crisis not of their making.
Their anger was heightened as the demonstration marched past Conservative Party headquarters at Millbank, where a number of students took part in an occupation.
For most involved this was the first demonstration they had been on and the occupation was a way of expressing their anger and frustration at their future being stolen from them.
A few broken windows is not significant damage when compared to the damage this government is inflicting on the lives of millions of young people.
However, instead of hounding lying politicians and big businesspeople, sections of the national press organised vicious campaigns against young protesters, harassing parents and searching through Facebook pages to try to come up with incriminating evidence. If a university vice-chancellor was subject to such a smear campaign there would be widespread outrage in the papers.
On Saturday 13 November, around 20 members of Youth Fight for Jobs and the Socialist Party lobbied outside a police station in East London to show solidarity with a student who had been arrested.
In 2003 a determined campaign of lobbies, hearings, protests and mass court attendance ensured that anti-war protesters threatened with jail sentences were found not guilty. We believe that the best defence is through a resolute show of support for victimised young people.
In February 2011, 57 of the students are expected to face trial. Many are also being threatened with disciplinary action by their schools or colleges.
This is an attack on the democratic right to protest. It is important that we defend this right for all of us. That is why, to aid the defence of the students involved and to campaign for the right to protest, Youth Fight for Jobs is appealing for donations to fund a defence campaign.
This national campaign must go hand in hand with action in local areas to defend protesters from being excluded from their education simply for taking a stand to defend their right to it! It is not just an attack on students but on everybody's right to protest.
Paul Callanan Youth Fight for Jobs
To donate, please send cheques made out to Youth Democratic Rights Campaign at PO BOX 858, London, E11 1YG
If you face victimisation, please get in contact with Youth Fight for Jobs for advice and more - email@example.com 020 8558 7947
In The Socialist 23 November 2010:
Youth Fight for Education
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis