Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/483/2295
The Socialist 19 April 2007 |
Join the Socialist
Build for national action against fees
Join the Campaign to Defeat Fees 27 April day of action
Fight for a national demonstration
Cardiff Socialist Students campaign, photo Dave Reid
Students live in a world of soaring debt, unaffordable or condemned housing, low-paid jobs with poor quality working conditions, course cuts and department closures. With vice-chancellors saying they want course fees to increase to £10,000 a year, the need for a coordinated national fight-back is more and more evident.
Suzanne Beishon, Brighton University Socialist Students
We need to show the scale of opposition to fees by building national action that leads to a mass campaign. The Campaign to Defeat Fees (CDF), launched by Socialist Students, has been organising and campaigning against fees at campuses and colleges across the country, showing how a mass campaign could be built.
We are organising for a national day of action on Friday 27 April to campaign for the NUS to call a national demonstration against all fees in the first term of next year.
We want a national weekday demonstration in London called under the slogans "no to all fees, cuts, closures and privatisation". This could be publicised during and after freshers' fairs and when FE colleges start the new term. This is what the NUS should be doing, so why is the leadership not acting?
The failure of the NUS leadership to fight for students' rights was shown at the NUS annual conference in March. The leadership told us that "demonstrations will not aid our cause".
Instead of a campaigning strategy based on mass action involving students uniting with workers, NUS proposed lobbying Parliament and compiling facts to give to the decision makers.
Southampton Socialist Students campaigning
However, politely asking Parliament to stop making attacks on education and other parts of the public sector is a tactic doomed to failure, just as it failed when tuition fees and then top-up fees were introduced.
But we will not wait for the NUS leadership to act! Building for the second CDF day of action on 27 April has already begun in many universities. Action will include a protest outside Exeter College, stunts and stalls in Bournemouth and Bristol universities, and possibly a debate with Bristol University's management.
The feeble New Labour excuse that they cannot afford to scrap fees and fund free education is hypocrisy if they can commit £76 billion to the renewal of nuclear weapons, while continuing to fund the occupation of Iraq.
Socialist Students recognise that the only way to defeat fees for good is to fight for publicly-run free education and a system that does not strive to profit from public services but is run for the benefit of society. This is why we actively support socialist candidates standing against big business parties in the elections on 3 May.