The Socialist 12 November 2008
Defend workers' jobs and pay
'Students in the Red' day of action
The National Union of Students (NUS) called a day of action on student debt on 12 November. Members of Socialist Students welcomed this action, the first called by NUS on student finance for two years, and campaigned for it to be as successful as possible.
In Cambridge, Lincoln, Northumbria, Canterbury and elsewhere Socialist Students fought, alongside other student activists, for the protests to be serious, to make the case for free education and to involve as many students as possible.
Unfortunately this approach was not taken up by any individual or group on the NUS national executive. Where there was no Socialist Students group campaigning for it to be a serious event, the activities organised were largely photo opportunities, with the exception of one or two areas.
The day of action will have passed by the vast majority of students, many of whom would be willing to get involved in a campaign led by the NUS if they had the opportunity and had faith in the NUS leadership.
An indication of the priorities of the New Labour right wing of the leadership is that they got 25 student unions to pass motions in the space of a few weeks in favour of holding an extraordinary conference to continue attacks on NUS democracy, but the day of action barely involved 25 student unions, and a much smaller number of student unions mobilised for it.
The Campaign to Defeat Fees, initiated by Socialist Students, has called more successful days of action involving bigger numbers, but with fewer resources and often without the support of student unions.
Socialist Students will continue to enthusiastically partake in action called by the NUS, but will argue for a strategy of mass mobilisations to prevent increases in tuition fees, and for free education for all.
In this issue
Socialist Party campaigns
War and occupation
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
Socialist Party review