Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/614/8936
We don't want to see a 'lost generation'
Invest in jobs, education & Training
"We should try to work with the masters of globalisation"..."Companies like McDonalds... provide a fantastic service that people value at a price that people can afford." Students and education workers will be horrified to learn that these were the words of Professor Don Nutbeam, vice chancellor of Southampton University, in a public debate on public service provision.
Clare Blackwell, Southampton Socialist Students
Planned cuts to universities are reported to total a third of their annual spend! No wonder students are increasingly asking: are we heading for a McEducation system with only job cuts and course closures on the menu? Nutbeam's "strategic plan" to take his university into the UK's top ten will mean nothing but job losses and course cuts.
First to be axed at Southampton are the sports and foundation programmes. Chris Russell, a Southampton graduate and pro-athlete for Team GB says: "The indefensible way in which this announcement has been made shows blatant disregard for the livelihoods, careers and sentiments of staff and students alike."
In a move designed to minimise opposition, the "consultation period" on the cuts ran over the holiday and exam period. These cuts come at the same time as the university is building an elite performance facility, a move attracting significant business investment. In a bid to secure private research investment our universities are selling us short on our education.
The UCU lecturers' union expect that this will mean thousands of job losses. Yet these cuts are coming at a time when record numbers of young people are applying for university.
Build the fightback!
Across the world anger at the attacks on young people's rights to jobs and education is erupting into mass movements. From occupations and walkouts in California, where more is spent on prisons than on education, to the mass action of students and workers in France, Austria and Germany, young people are saying: "we will not pay for this crisis!"
Movements are also beginning to develop here in the UK. On 1 March 150 students stormed and shut down a governors' meeting which was discussing cuts at Westminster University.
Andy Waterman, a member of Portsmouth Socialist Students reported on a protest of around 100 people at Portsmouth University. The university faces the likelihood of at least £3 million in cuts which, if implemented, will see the loss of around 100 jobs and the possibility of whole courses being shut down.
Socialist Students members from Leeds University helped to mobilise a 200-strong protest and demonstration, with large numbers of lecturers participating on Thursday 25 February.
Ian Pattison, Newcastle Socialist Students, reported that a big Newcastle Free Education Network meeting had lecturers, students and even people from other universities attending. It is clear that these cuts will not go unchallenged. Protests have also taken place against cuts at Sussex, Nottingham, Leicester and other universities.
Jobs and education
On Saturday 13 March, in Barking, east London, and in other places around the country, young workers and students will march together with trade unionists to fight the agenda of big business, of cuts and privatisation.
No to job losses! Fight all the cuts! For a fully funded higher education system accessible to all! For universities run in the interests of students, workers and society - not big business!
Join the action on 13 March
Barking, East London
Saturday 13 March
Assemble 12 noon, Mayesbrook Park, near Upney Station
Saturday 13 March
Assemble 12 noon, All Saints Park on Oxford Road
March to the city centre rally
Yorkshire day of action
Saturday 13 March
Rotherham, Bradford & Hull.
Contact Iain on 078 098 39793
11 March 7pm
Trillians Rock Bar, Newcastle
Bands: Unrelenting Fury and Starblind
Call 07989 806 104
Thursday 18 March: Protest against cuts in higher education
On Thursday 18 March the higher education funding council for England (HEFCE) will announce more detailed plans for university cuts. The government and university managements hope they can quietly get away with taking away our right to a decent education.
Socialist Students is calling for a national day of action to show them the huge opposition to cuts and fees that exists. We call on all students, anti-cuts campaigners, trade unions and workers to organise protests and campaigning and to come out in support of striking lecturers. Let's build a national movement to defend education.
Protests will take place at:
- 12 noon at Westminster University, Regent Street
- 3pm at the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, Whitehall
- And at Southampton, Newcastle, Cardiff, Sussex, Leeds, Leicester universities and more.
Contact Socialist Students for plans, details, and help organise in your area. Call 02085587947 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the website: www.socialiststudents.org.uk
Join the Facebook group here: http://tiny.cc/18march
In The Socialist 3 March 2010:
Youth fight for jobs
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
The Socialist Interview
Socialist Party women
Socialist Party feature