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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 November 2012

Student demo 21 November

March for jobs and education

Chaz Lockett, Sheffield Socialist Students
20 Socialist students activists marched round Sheffield city centre against tuition fees and to restore EMA, joined by NUT rep, photo Sheffield Socialist Students

20 Socialist students activists marched round Sheffield city centre against tuition fees and to restore EMA, joined by NUT rep, photo Sheffield Socialist Students   (Click to enlarge)

In the winter of 2010, by the skin of their teeth, Cameron, Clegg and their rich mates managed to weather the storm of student protest, college walkouts and university occupations and forced through the most draconian raft of education 'reforms' ever enacted in Britain.

These 'improvements' included the tripling of tuition fees from an already unaffordable 3,000 to a sky-high 9,000, the removal of vital EMA for college students, and the slashing of education budgets by up to 80% in some departments.

The face of our education has visibly changed - university applications have already fallen by 15% in my native Sheffield.

Entire groups of friends who were at Sheffield's colleges now languish on the dole, unable to afford to go to university and unable to get jobs.

The neoliberal slash-and-burn of our education has had chilling effects.

But though the student movement was set back by the passing of these vicious assaults on working class people's right to education, we're still here and we certainly haven't forgotten.

The 50,000-strong demonstration in November 2010, the storming of Millbank Tower and the subsequent mass student uprising against the Tories still loom large in the minds of students.

This year, the 'Class of 2010' comes of age - some of the students who walked out of their colleges, who took part in the biggest demonstration of college students ever, are now at university, forced to pay 9,000 a year. The need to kick out this shambolic government is becoming clear.

The National Union of Students demonstration 'Educate, Employ, Empower', on 21 November, could open the floodgates to this simmering anger.

This tide can be a storm surge, made unstoppable and irresistible by Socialist Students' ever-present slogan: 'students and workers - unite and fight!' Only the union between the dynamism and energy of the students with the industrial muscle of the organised working class can lead to success.

If the NUS does its job and campaigns energetically over the next few weeks for a good turnout, students will return home from London on the evening of the 21st having seen the mass TUC rally on 20 October, the Southern European general strike on 14 November, and now a show of strength from their classmates all over the UK.

The task is clear - taking forward the demands of Socialist Students beyond this demonstration and into the new year: free education, no budget cuts, fair pay for teaching and support staff, and to lend all support possible to workers in the coming struggles.

We'll kick out this shower of posh boys and we'll fight for a socialist future.

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In The Socialist 7 November 2012:


 

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