Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/571/7049
Fight tuition fees: fight for jobs: fight for a future!
Campaign to defeat fees
Socialist Party congress 2009, photo Paul Mattsson
Last month Wes Streeting, president of the National Union of Students, claimed that "moving to the right on tuition fees makes sense".
Stephen Burrell, Birmingham Socialist Students
Now a report for university vice-chancellors has been published claiming that fees should be increased to £5,000 - £7,000 a year. The report also dreamily claims that such a rise would not put young people off going to university!
University is already not an option for many young people, who are put off by fees of £3,145 a year. This is especially the case now, as the number of so-called 'graduate jobs' available shrinks rapidly. Many of those already studying are being forced to drop out because they cannot afford to continue their courses.
Fighting fees - student demonstration in central London, photo Rob Sutton
The Campaign to Defeat Fees (CDF), initiated by Socialist Students, has been leading the fight on the campuses for the scrapping of fees altogether. The CDF played a key role in the recent national demonstration of over 1,000 people against fees. University should be free for all those who want to go, not a privilege for the dwindling numbers that can afford it!
The government is planning to review higher education funding this year. Several universities have already started budgeting for the kinds of increases being mooted by this report. That shows how confident they are that the government will agree to their demands.
Meanwhile the National Union of Students has abandoned the struggle for free education. Instead they plan to plead with ministers, cap in hand, for no further increases in fees. This, at a time when the government has spent hundreds of billions to bail out the banks! We should be demanding money for students and education.
Now the Campaign to Defeat Fees is more important than ever if we want to stop these brutal attacks on education. So join us on the March for Jobs on 2 April, where we will not only be demanding an end to fees but decent jobs for all young people, who are being failed by capitalism. Our generation is now facing a fight for our future!
Youth march for jobs
"Truly terrible". This was how David Blanchflower, member of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee described the latest unemployment figures. With unemployment topping two million he's not wrong!
A TUC survey revealed the horror of the crisis for those who have lost their jobs. On average there are ten job seekers for every vacancy, with some areas much worse. Hackney in east London, for example, has 37 claimants for every job.
And young people will suffer disproportionately. Unemployment among 16 to 24 year olds is already over 15%. Young people often have little or no savings to fall back on while also suffering a miserly rate of Job Seekers' Allowance at £47.95 a week.
Meanwhile, showing their priorities, the British government has ploughed a higher proportion of GDP into bailing out banks than any other country. 20% of national income has been poured into the black hole of the banking crisis. They have no solutions to the recession.
But construction workers at the Lindsey oil refinery showed what's possible. After only around a week of united strike action, Total, the employer, was forced to guarantee jobs on trade union rates of pay. It is such determination that is required. The Youth Fight for Jobs campaign gives young people a way to get organised and fight for our future.
Less than two weeks to go until the Youth March for Jobs hits town on Thursday 2 April. Passing through London's highest areas of unemployment from Southwark, through Tower Hamlets and Hackney, the march ends at Newham's ExCel centre where the capitalist leaders of the G20 nations are meeting. The march also passes the Bank of England and Parliament.
YFfJ is telling the G20 capitalist politicians - you won't make us pay for your crisis!
If you want to be a marcher, please get in touch with Youth Fight for Jobs on 020 8558 7947 or go to www.youthfightforjobs.com to sign up. Overnight accommodation is available for 1 and 2 April, but the organisers need to know in advance.
In The Socialist 19 March 2009:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party congress
Socialist Party election campaign
Socialist Party workplace news