Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/707/14042
Student walkout - build mass action
Claire Laker-Mansfield, Socialist Students national organiser
The National Union of Students (NUS) has called a walkout against cuts and privatisation for 14 March. With the government's plans to dismantle and privatise higher education, on top of tripled fees and the scrapping of EMA, this is an overdue and absolutely necessary step.
The walkout is less than two weeks away. However, so far, the NUS has failed to build for a day of mass action across the country.
Socialist Students members should contact student union officers to find out what the union is planning - if anything - and how they intend to build for it.
Where a student union refuses to build for the walkout, then Socialist Students could put an emergency motion to the student union council to mandate the officers to take action.
But this shouldn't be a substitute for building for the walkout ourselves. Mass postering and leafleting around campus can help raise the profile of the strike.
Socialist Students members could organise for their own course-mates to take part in the walkout. This could act as an example for other students to follow.
Socialist Students groups could also call meetings open to all students and groups who are willing to organise action. These 'action committees' could then help organise the strike as well as any protests and rallies.
Socialist Students is calling for the student strike to be spread to colleges and schools. In some towns, central meeting points for demonstrations could help link up university students with school and college students for a march. In other areas, on-campus protests might be the best option.
Liam Burns, NUS president, has said: "...let's clear out the lecture theatres, the seminar rooms, the ITC suites and the libraries and demonstrate clearly that without students, universities are just empty buildings.
"Let's work hard together to show that students care and make the national walkout count."
These are fine words, but words alone are not enough.
We need democratic, fighting student unions to defend education. We say no to cuts, fees and privatisation - bring back EMA. Strike back on 14 March!
Then, for 28 March, plan for coordinating follow-up action with lecturers as they take action alongside teachers and civil servants in defence of pensions.
In The Socialist 29 February 2012:
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