Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/458/5504

From The Socialist newspaper, 12 October 2006

Student fees can be defeated

The media tend to depict students as lazy but, with the TUC reporting that 630,718 full-time students work in part-time jobs, the stereotype is a bit out of date.

Sarah Sachs-Eldridge

A survey into stress, conducted by Manchester University in 2001, showed that 53% of students suffer from stress, anxiety or depression at some point during their course. A Swansea Institute student hung herself last year when her debts became too much.

Students are suffering and students are angry. Millions of them have taken part in the demonstrations against the war and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan - both nationally and locally on campus. "Education not occupation" is a common slogan and now we need to build a movement against every aspect of the marketisation of education.

Universities will receive around 1 billion in income for this year's students. According to the Liberal Democrats, the government has no idea how much money is needed in education. Happy to criticise New Labour, they have no real alternative to the problems facing education because they have no alternative to privatisation. The government's priority has been to break down the opposition to fees with the aim of raising the level at the earliest possible opportunity. Many vice-chancellors (who earn on average 154,000) are already clamouring for the cap on fees to be raised to at least 5,000.

This should not be inevitable - but the government have been aided in this by the inability of the New Labour-led NUS leadership to lead a campaign to defend free education. We have to fight back to defend our rights to education. We can have no illusions that the money needed for our services will be found unless we build a mass campaign.

Belgian victory

Students in Belgium are seeing changes in the way their education is organised and financed including the introduction of fees, in some cases as high as 25,000. The Free University of Brussels was threatened with over 200 job cuts but socialists from the Committee for a Workers' International in Belgium, who are in the leadership of both the university branch of the trade union and the student union, organised a mass campaign with a demonstration of 2,500 students and workers.

They forced the university management to cancel the cuts and to create an extra 20 posts! Universities across Belgium joined the struggle and eventually the minister for education was forced to increase the overall budget for higher education by 51million!

However, the new finance mechanism opening the way to marketisation and cuts remains. In neither Belgium nor Chile (see box) are victories secure while the governments there defend the fat cats' right to make a profit but not young people's right to free education. But they do show that a struggle of students, with the support of the trade unions, can win victories.

They also show that free education is not a question of what we can afford but of how this New Labour government wants to run education. We don't want the cap on fees to be raised - what we need is a fighting strategy to defeat all fees. Lobbying MPs and writing letters have their place, but we won't win anything through those means alone.

The main NUS demand for the demo on 29 October is to maintain the cap on fees. Socialist Students opposes charging more money but it is urgent that we challenge the whole idea of charging for education.

Fighting strategy

NUS should be seeking the best strategy for forcing the government into retreat - they should learn the lessons from events abroad and in Britain. When 1.5 million public-sector workers threatened strike action to defend their pension rights, the government were forced into what the Financial Times called 'a huge climb-down by ministers'. Workers' pensions will face further attacks and they will need to take further action to defend them. Nevertheless, the government's retreat shows that determined action can win.

Fundamentally only a transformation of society where education allows people of all ages to develop their skills and talents, which is democratically and publicly planned and run, can defend the right to learn against the profiteers. That is what Socialist Students fights for.

Socialist Students' anti-fees campaign material includes a model motion to take to the students' unions to encourage them to build support for the demo, a leaflet you can distribute to advertise the demo and explain our strategy, a petition to show that students do want a campaign on this, and a guide to campaigning.

This is all available on the Socialist Students website at www.socialiststudents.org.uk. Let us know if there are other things that would be useful for your campaign.

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


In The Socialist 12 October 2006:


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Health workers beat the privateers

Get organised! Join the march on parliament!

NHS - not safe in their hands

Protests at health cuts

Angry marchers keep up the fight


Socialist Students

Fees can damage your education

Student fees can be defeated

Campaigning in the schools and colleges

Chile: solidarity appeal


International socialist news and analysis

All views welcome at Socialism 2006

Huge meeting greets socialist movement

Cable Street 1936: When workers drove back the fascists

A 'race to the bottom' for workers' rights and a disaster for the environment

Dave Nellist's global warning

Kazakhstan - appeal for support

Brazilian elections: Lula fails to win in first round

"Bertiegate" scandal rocks Ahern coalition


Socialist Party workplace news

Blood service faces cuts

Trade unions must organise casual workers


 

Home   |   The Socialist 12 October 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Fees:

triangleWhat we saw

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleFreshers week campaigning reports

triangleFight for free education

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

Education:

triangleUniversity of Leeds workers walk out

triangleFight university's 'sackers' charter'

triangleFight tuition fees

Belgium:

triangle1987 Zeebrugge disaster

triangleInternational news in brief

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

PCS

PCS ballots members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

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

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

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

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

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