Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/614/8961
Portsmouth students and workers unite to fight cuts
Wednesday 24 February saw the first protest organised at Portsmouth University in opposition to the proposed cuts in education funding.
Andy Waterman, Portsmouth Socialist Students
Around 100 people gathered at University House to hear speeches from UCU lecturers' union and student activists, and to raise awareness about what effects the cuts will have on students now and in the future.
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.
The demonstration forced the vice-chancellor of the university, John Craven, to address the rally and ensure us that he 'understood' our concerns. However, it is not the vice-chancellor who will suffer through these cuts but the ordinary workers, lecturers and students.
The demonstration was called by University of Portsmouth Against Education Cuts (UOPAEC) which, on paper, has the support of the students union and the local UCU.
Unfortunately, to the dismay of the activists at the rally, the students union decided to organise a trip to London for an audience with local LibDem MP Mike Hancock on the same day as the protest and in the same week as its 'fee fighters' initiative!
In contrast, Youth Fight for Jobs activist Ben Norman spoke at the rally and called for a vote for Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate Mick Tosh in Portsmouth North in the general election, showing that young people and workers have an alternative to the cuts and privatisation agenda of the mainstream parties.
Portsmouth Socialist Students, who have played a key role in this campaign, distributed leaflets linking the fight for free education with the fight for decent jobs and calling for another demonstration on 18 March when the Higher Education Funding Council for England announce the education funding plans for the forthcoming year (see also back page).
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