Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/179/7960
Grants Not Fees
MANY FIRST-year students already feel the financial burden of being at university, 41% will be looking for jobs, predominately low paid and highly exploitative to keep their heads above water. Some are still waiting for their loans to come through, yet under pressure to pay fees.
Kieran Roberts, Save Free Education (SFE)
Over coming months, thousands of students will drop off their courses. Save Free Education (SFE) and the Socialist Party are stepping up their campaign so every student can stay on their course. We are building mass action to force the universities and the government to allow every non-payer and student who cannot afford to pay the fee to remain at university.
We believe, tuition fees can be defeated and the grant won through a campaign of mass non-payment of the fees. If the thousands who cannot afford to pay their fees, unite with the many who oppose fees on principle, they can be made unworkable.
SFE members around the country are building this strategy and attempting to involve as many students as possible in the campaign.
We are particularly building for the national 'Grants not Fees' demonstration called by the National Union of Students (NUS) on 15 November.
Scandalously, the NUS's New Labour leadership has consistently refused to build a mass movement against fees for fear of moving against their friends in government. They attack the strategy of mass non-payment, the strategy that is best capable of defeating fees and winning the grant. However student pressure from below has forced them to organise a demonstration explicitly against fees and for the grant (which they are opposed to introducing).
SFE and the Socialist Party want this demonstration to be even bigger than last year's when 20,000 students marched through Central London. A massive show of strength by students would show Tony Blair that students are ready to stand up to New Labour's policies and fight against fees and for a grant. It would also give thousands of students the confidence to take a stand and refuse to pay their fees.
Join us, to make sure the demonstration is a huge success and that the message of non-payment gets through on the day.
In The Socialist 27 October 2000: