Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/656/11147
National education shutdown needed
Despite the government railroading its attacks on young people through parliament, the 29 January demonstrations showed that there is still willingness to fight back.
The young people who turned out on the protests in London and Manchester demonstrated to everyone that they understood that what parliament has made law can be made inconsequential by mass movements.
Claire Laker-Mansfield Socialist Students
Now young people will be looking forward, asking what is needed in order to win. If students are to win victories, escalating student actions and linking with workers in trade unions will be vital.
The lecturers' union, UCU, is currently balloting for strike action over attacks to the pensions, pay and conditions of workers. But it is also about the general attacks on education, including tripling tuition fees, scrapping Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and slashing the budgets of higher and further education.
If UCU members vote to strike in defence of education then students must give mass support - attending picket lines and organising demonstrations. But more than that, what's needed is for students to go out on strike too, in support of their teachers, lecturers and support staff and in defence of their right to an education.
So far, walkouts have been staged in schools, colleges and universities across the country but what's needed on the strike day is something bigger. We need a national education shutdown with every school, college and campus in Britain closed for a day of mass protest against this brutal government of the rich.
Added significance may well be given if, as is likely, the strike takes place on or around budget day on 23 March. If, on the day the government announces its next dose of pain, thousands of young people and workers are out on picket lines and protesting on the streets, it will send a very powerful message to the politicians in Westminster.
It will let them know that if they think that they will get away with making the worst attacks on ordinary people for generations, then they are mistaken.
The fightback is not over, it is only just beginning.
In The Socialist 9 February 2011:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party Marxist analysis