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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 September 2012

Socialist students: Fighting for education

Student protest 29 January 2011, photo Senan

Student protest 29 January 2011, photo Senan   (Click to enlarge)

Extract from the editorial of Megaphone, the magazine of Socialist Students

Fees tripled, EMA scrapped, youth unemployment skyrocketing. This government will leave behind a brutal legacy.

We are governed by the rich, for the rich. The real interests they serve are those of bankers and big business - the '1%' or the capitalist class.

In an attempt to distract people from the true nature of its agenda, one of the government's favourite tactics is to attempt to turn people against each other. The young are 'feral', 'lazy' and have a sense of 'entitlement', so they should be first to face cuts, is one argument.

But the people with the real 'sense of entitlement' are the banks and big business. After their casino capitalism led us to disaster, not only did they expect a bailout for their bad debts, but to be able to keep the profits in private hands and enjoy huge bonuses, just as before!

But, in Britain, students were first to break the silence on cuts, organising mass protests, walkouts and strikes against fee hikes and EMA cuts.

This year the fight for our future will have to continue. The Con-Dems are coming for our education. Uni fees being tripled means the cost of a degree is now equivalent to a small mortgage. A three-year degree will set you back 50,000. Course fees for adults in further education (FE) are also being hiked. But while prices are increased, quality is set to be hit. Thousands of teaching and support jobs are threatened. This will leave students with overworked and undervalued lecturers, increasingly unable to deliver education at its best.


In higher education (HE) a plan for privatisation and marketisation is being formulated. David Willetts, universities minister, has stated openly that he wants HE institutions to stop thinking of themselves as part of the public sector.

Private companies are being brought in to run so-called 'back room' services. In reality this means education on the cheap. At London Metropolitan University, all services other than teaching and the vice-chancellor's office have just been outsourced to the private sector.

The approval of new private universities, such as the ultra-elitist 'New College of Humanities', represent another strand of the effort to create an American style system of education - a system where the highest paying 'customers' get the best education.

These attacks must be fought. This autumn two key dates for young people who want to fight back will be the trade union demonstration on 20 October and the National Union of Students (NUS) national demonstration on 21 November. We need to ensure that these demos are as big as possible with tens of thousands of students attending.

But they can only be the start of the fightback. The 2012 NUS conference voted to call a national student strike. We have to fight to make this a reality. To be most effective, this kind of action should coincide with strike action by workers, who, unlike students, have economic power. This should be the start of building a mass campaign organised around the following demands:

If you want to help build the fightback, join Socialist Students today

Read more in Megaphone. Order your copy for 1 including postage and join Socialist Students, by contacting 07749 379010

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 12 September 2012:

Fight against austerity

Build a 24-hour general strike

TUC passes general strike motion

NSSN lobby demands a 24-hour general strike

Teachers must unite against Tories

Socialist Party news and analysis

Nationalise the banks

Cabinet reshuffle

Con-Dem housing measures - in 'the thick of it'?

After the Paralympics... Stop the Con-Dems' assault on disabled

Cable attacks health and safety

'Red tape' bonfire puts workers at more risk

More bad news from media mogul Murdoch

International socialist news and analysis

Quebec Solidaire's electoral gains show potential for left

Honduras: Privatised cities in the global economy

Socialist Party feature: TUSC

We need a political voice to fight austerity

Socialist Party youth and students

Socialist students: Fighting for education

Bristol YFJ: "We're not lazy - we're fighting back"

Global youth unemployment rises

Youth Fight for Jobs in action! Coming events

Socialist Party workplace news

Workers' unity against brutal bosses at Cranswick Foods

East Coast train cleaners on strike

RMT assistant secretary arrested on picket line

Fighting NHS cuts

NHS under attack - Stop the closures, stop the cuts

Bromsgrove meeting opposes A&E closure

Demo against heart unit closure in Leicester

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Sheffield Socialist Party pickets strike-breaking facility

Brent Labour: Making families homeless

Young tenants to lobby Leeds council over housing crisis

Reviews and comments

The Reunion rewrites history: the Poll Tax

The shame of sexism in sport

How we stopped the racist EDL


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