Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/792/17868

From The Socialist newspaper, 11 December 2013

Cops Off Campus: NUS must call a national demonstration now!

Brutal policing on student protests in 2010, photo Senan

Brutal policing on student protests in 2010, photo Senan   (Click to enlarge)

Claire Laker-Mansfield, Socialist Students national organiser

The shocking brutality meted out against peaceful protesters at the University of London (UoL), witnessed by millions via the internet, has sent shockwaves through the student movement. This was a deliberate and concerted attempt to crush protest through brute force. It is clear that police and university management worked together in order to first remove protesting students from their own campus, and then attack demonstrations taking place outside.

Within the closed towers of a marketised higher education institution, dissent, debate and protest are dangerous and threatening. As far as UoL's management is concerned, student representation and democracy are easily disposed of luxuries. This is most clearly demonstrated by their attempt to close down the University of London Union (ULU) - one of the attacks that sparked the protests.

It's not just at UoL where there has been a crackdown. At Sussex University, where students have been fighting the privatisation of campus services, five students were suspended for their role in the campaign. This follows a series of occupations and a violent eviction by the police carried out last year. They were later reinstated under huge pressure from the campaign but as we go to press disciplinary action is still being pursued against them.

Sending a message

Elsewhere, at Birmingham, individual students have been targeted by the university's management with legal costs for obtaining an injunction against an occupation. Injunctions seem to have become the 'go to' response to occupations. On 4 December UoL's management obtained an injunction banning all 'occupational style protest' on any of their campuses. Across the country, university managers are uniting with a clear message: protest will not be tolerated.

Students must respond to this repression with a mass campaign to defend democratic rights. It's important that there is an escalation of protests at both UoL and Sussex. The student union at Sussex responded quickly and called an emergency members meeting and then a student strike in protest at the suspensions.

Crucially, we need to organise solidarity demonstrations on campuses across the country. Socialist Students was key in calling the second national 'Cops Off Campus' day of action on 11 December.

Socialist Students is also demanding that the National Union of Students (NUS) lives up to its name and immediately calls a national demonstration as a first step in building a mass campaign for democratic rights as well as against fees, cuts and privatisation. Since the campaign to save ULU started, the right-wing leadership of NUS has given it zero worthwhile support. As cuts and privatisation have rained down on our campuses, NUS has remained inactive. It's time for those who lead this union to stand up and fight or stand aside.

Defence campaign

We also have to take measures to defend protesters against the police, and to support those who have been arrested and victimised for their role in campaigning. Our movement should be bold in its demand for the police to drop all charges against protesters.

We must also fight for a student and trade union-led inquiry into the brutality. NUS has called on Boris Johnson to organise an inquiry! This is the man who has said he would like to see even tougher anti-union laws brought in to effectively ban strike action for underground workers. No inquiry led by him and his cronies would have any legitimacy in the eyes of students and workers.

The trade union and anti-cuts movements needs to take preparation and well-organised stewarding of demonstrations very seriously, including youth and student demonstrations. Stewards need to help protect participants from potentially brutal or punitive actions by the police, guard against the role played by provocateurs and ensure the maximum degree of unity and collectivism, where our greatest strength lies.

This brutality, just like that which took place during the 2010 student movement, gives lie to the notion of the state as a neutral force within society. Under the blows of police violence ordinary people learn the true role of the police within a capitalist society: to protect the interests of the rich and powerful. For those who want to see a society run in the interests of the 99% it's necessary to understand the role of the state.

Democratic and civil liberties have been won by working people over generations of struggle and must be vigorously defended. But it will only be when capitalism is completely removed and a socialist society built, that our rights and freedoms can be fully protected and developed to a higher level.

Socialist Students says:

Sussex

On 3 December an occupation of the conference centre at the University of Sussex left to join picket lines, in solidarity with the strike in defence of fair pay in higher education. We had been occupying since 26 November, despite best attempts by university management to starve us out by refusing to allow supplies up to where we were staying. The occupation was in solidarity with the strike, and in protest against the privatisation of university services.

On 4 December five of us received an email from the university notifying us that we have been suspended indefinitely from our studies, and that we were banned from campus.

We fully condemn this draconian move to suspend students for exercising their right to protest. We have been singled out as "key organisers" and "instigators" of the movement which has been ongoing since May 2012 and has involved hundreds if not thousands of students.

Adriano Mérola

Exeter

On 3 December student support was organised at both the university and the college in Exeter for the higher and further education strike. A short occupation was organised at Exeter University in the Queens building senior common room from 5pm until 11.30am the following day.

At the college, the picket line was strong. Students at the college stood with their teachers and brought a (much appreciated) large flask of coffee which was supplied by a local café. Students from the college also took coffee up to pickets on the main university campus. There was a lot of discussion among students about the strike and how we can unite to beat back the vicious Con-Dem government.

Jesse Dodkins Exeter College Socialist Students

Coleraine

On the evening of 2 December, students at the University of Ulster's Coleraine (UUC) campus began an occupation of the senior common room in opposition to plans to close the space.

The Socialist newspaper in Ireland spoke to Chloe Gault, a member of UUC Socialist Society and an organiser of the occupation.

"The Senior Common Room is one of the only public spaces at UUC where students and staff can relax and socialise. It's an essential space for clubs and societies on campus. It also has historical importance for the student movement and as a space where students from across the sectarian divide come together to mix and discuss. When we heard of management's plans to close it and turn it into a 'corporate dining room' for the great and the good, we felt we had to act.

"At the same time as management is holding down staff pay, student services are being cut to the bone. As far as I'm concerned, students and staff are in the same fight. Attacks on staff pay hit morale and impact on our education. We need to stand together. We've developed a very close relationship with the staff. We've been visiting their picket lines and they've been coming up to support the occupation.

"Most students here understand the importance of what we're doing and have been really positive. We've already got great support from activists from further afield, through Twitter and so on, but also some have come to visit us - even driving up from Belfast and bringing us bags of food! NUS-USI [the official student organisation in Northern Ireland] has also been very supportive.

"So far, management has simply ignored us because we have the right to be in our common room 24/7. Perhaps they hope we'll just go away - they're wrong! We're in this for the long-haul, until the future of the SCR is guaranteed."

Tweet @occupycoleraine and email occupycoleraine@outlook.com with your messages of support!

See www.socialiststudents.org.uk for reports from the 11 December day of action and further protests

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


In The Socialist 11 December 2013:


International socialist news and analysis

After Mandela: The struggle must continue

Cameron 'kowtows' to Chinese dictatorship


Socialist Students

Cops Off Campus: NUS must call a national demonstration now!


Socialist Party news and analysis

Osborne's budget statement - work 'til you drop or fight back!

Reactions to the Autumn Statement

Fight for our NHS: Public health, not private profit

Struggling workers say 'fight poverty pay'!

Austerity and the new working poor

Them & Us


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Floods: "Daddy, there's water on the floor"

Swansea councillors: which side are you on?

Why I've donated to the Socialist Party Christmas appeal

Obituary: Joel Lane, 1963-2013

Message to our readers and contributors


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Building TUSC in byelections


 

Home   |   The Socialist 11 December 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Students:

triangleSocialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

triangleSchools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

triangleCardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg

triangleLeeds Socialist Students marks 'International Safe Abortion Day'

NUS:

triangleFight for free education

triangleNUS leadership: Blairites supported by establishment

Exeter:

triangleWindow strikers joined by second plant

triangleHundreds protest the decimation of Devon NHS

triangleInvigorating and inspiring South West day school

Sussex:

triangleSocialist Students: setting out our stall...

triangleEducation under attack! Reports from the front line of the fightback

University:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

Student:

triangleWhat we saw

Union:

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

Protest:

triangleUprising to save the NHS!

Occupation:

triangleHousing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

Strike:

triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

London:

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

Higher Education:

triangleMay's lies about foreign students exposed

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

PCS

Balloting members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

triangle25 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2