Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/655/11026
Education Maintenance Allowance: 18 and 19 January days of action
Around 600 students marched in central London against the scrapping of EMA.
Inside the House of Commons, a motion calling for a parliamentary vote on the issue was voted down. Disgracefully, on this crucial issue for hundreds of thousands of young people, only a handful of MPs saw fit to attend the debate.
But the students gathered outside parliament showed that the movement against these cuts has not gone away.
Although smaller than the protests at the end of last year (affected by exams and other factors) this was an extremely important stage in rebuilding the momentum of the campaign.
Claire Laker-Mansfield, Socialist Students national organiser
The day before parliament voted on the future of EMA, 45 school, college and university students held a silent protest in Leeds city centre.
Prepared with banners, leaflets and taped up mouths, the protest had an eerie resemblance to what our educational institutions will sound like if the government's attack on them is successful: deathly silent. The response of many passers-by and passengers on passing buses was encouraging; with people taking leaflets and some offering words and gestures of support.
Eventually the protest sprung into angry chants for 20 minutes. The protest then marched back to Leeds Metropolitan University for a meeting on EMA and issues specifically relating to college and school students.
Youth Fight for Jobs and Education in Coventry organised an EMA demo as MPs were debating scrapping EMA.
Around 60 students and workers from around the city joined together and marched down the High Street to the Council House.
Socialist Party members Lenny Shail, Rob Windsor, Paul Hunt and 15 year old school student Joe Shail all spoke at the demo as well as several students.
The speakers clearly outlined that we should not have to pay for the banking crisis. This was highlighted again and again, as was the need for a socialist society. Following the demo, over 20 students attended a Socialist Party meeting. The local newspaper ran a positive story on the demo.
Coventry Youth Fight for Jobs
In The Socialist 26 January 2011:
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
National Shop Stewards Network
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party schools features
Socialist Party review