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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 December 2008

Southampton uni students fight fees

AROUND 100 students attended a Campaign to Defeat Fees (CDF) protest at Southampton University on 1 December. The protest and the strength of the event highlighted the opposition to fees but also marked a new stage in the struggle around the possible lifting of the cap on top-up fees in 2009.

Vice-chancellors have been lobbying the government to be able to charge £6,000 a year or more, a doubling of the present rate. But the protest in Southampton, and the presence of a well organised group of activists with wide support, will have made that university's management think twice about publicly backing calls for higher fees.

They were forced, when asked by ITV regional news, to issue a very defensive statement which claimed that the university is taking no stance! However, Southampton is part of the elite Russell group of universities which are to the fore in calling for higher fees.

Scandalously, the students' union only attended the demonstration to tell the press that they were not backing it! Local activists had campaigned for official backing but after weeks of frustration and bureaucracy, organised a successful protest without official support. When the students union officials were asked by the rally organisers if they wanted to explain to the protest why they weren't supporting it, they sheepishly declined!

The protest was the culmination of weeks of hard work by a number of activists, led by Southampton Socialist Students members.

Students also attended from Solent Institute, links were made with local colleges, and the protest got coverage in the local and regional press. There were speakers from Sussex Students Union, Socialist Students, the Youth Parliament, the University and College Union, as well as a message of support from John McDonnell MP.

A CDF meeting was held in the evening, which was attended by students interested in getting active in the campaign. It was agreed to organise further action in the New Year, including a debate and to organise in support of the protest in London on 25 February.

Ben Robinson

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In The Socialist 3 December 2008:


Job losses

Fight back now against job cuts

Woolworths jobs threat

Fighting the threatened closure of Hoover factory


Environment and socialism

Our planet not their profit


Socialist Party editorial

India and Pakistan conflict

Terror mayhem strikes Mumbai


Socialist Party campaigns

Judiciary challenged over the right to protest

Building a left wing political alternative

Southampton uni students fight fees

Liverpool: mobilising against the far right

In brief


Comment

Social workers demand proper resources

Secondary education: PFI's gloss soon peels away


Socialist Party LGBT

Fighting homophobia


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Crisis-hit capitalism fears prospect of revolution


International socialist news and analysis

Venezuela elections: Chávez wins victory but opposition gains ground


Marxist analysis: history

The Isle of Man general strike 1918: Workers' power paralysed government


Socialist Party news and analysis

Help fund the alternative to big business politics

Socialist women: Looking at the past to take action today


Housing crisis

Stop the repossessions

New Labour's housing crisis


Socialist Party workplace news

Vote 'no' to BT's pension cuts

A Christmas message from the Unite leadership

Dover docks strikes

Appledore shipyard


 

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