Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/870/21409
Fight austerity in education!
■ Free education
■ Stop the cuts
■ Defend and extend student grants
Claire Laker-Mansfield, Socialist Students national organiser
Education is a privilege. At least it was for Cameron and Osborne: Eton, Oxford and then the well-trodden path to the Tory front bench. How different an experience to that of the average young person in austerity Britain and students arriving on campus this year?
Student debt, super-expensive housing and the prospect of graduating to low-paid and insecure work will be on the minds of many.
But despite the ferocious attacks the Tories are planning on education, including the abolition of grants and stealthy tuition fee increases, there is some cause for optimism. There is optimism because this summer has seen an enormous upsurge in opposition to this government and its austerity programme.
Thousands have filled the streets in protest. And Jeremy Corbyn has been swept to victory on the crest of a huge wave of enthusiasm for free education, anti-cuts and left-wing ideas. Politics is changing and young people are right at the heart of this process.
We know that despite what the Tories claim, getting your head down and working hard is not enough to secure a decent future. If we want to live lives in which insecurity, debt and poverty are no longer 'the norm', we have to fight back. That's why this autumn must be an autumn of revolt.
For students, that means building campaigns on our campuses to fight all cuts, and strongly re-asserting the demand for free education.
On a national level, the protests on 4 October at Tory party conference and the student demo on 4 November are important dates to be mobilising for. Over the summer, representatives of the National Union of Students have raised the idea of student strikes.
A strategy of organising mass walkouts of students, as part of a united fightback involving workers and trade unions taking action, could build the kind of movement necessary to defeat austerity in education.
To achieve this, NUS should be working with student unions, local campaigns and groups including Socialist Students right from the start of term - organising protests and other actions to build up momentum and raise the confidence needed to walk out.
Socialist Students aims to put itself at the heart of the fightback on every campus and in every college. Join us!
On most campuses we hold weekly meetings to discuss the politics of changing the world. Join us and get involved!
- Text JOIN plus name & uni/college to 0774 937 9010
In The Socialist 16 September 2015:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party feature
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