Socialist Students marching for free education, photo Johnny Dickens

Socialist Students marching for free education, photo Johnny Dickens   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Claire Laker-Mansfield, Socialist Students national organiser

“Students and workers: unite and fight!” This chant will ring out on London’s streets on 19 November.

The ‘United for Education’ march taking place that day is the first national demo organised jointly by the National Union of Students (NUS) and University and Colleges Union (UCU) since 2010.

Back then, a 50,000-strong protest sparked a mass movement against the tripling of tuition fees. Six years on, as students and education workers again march side by side, we continue that struggle.

Since Theresa May took office, we have witnessed fresh attempts to segregate young people and label them failures. The clearest example is the plan to turn the clocks back and reintroduce grammar schools.

But the blueprints for segregation don’t stop there. The Higher Education and Research Bill also threatens to create a ‘bronze, silver or gold’ tiered universities system. Meanwhile, viciously cruel cuts to further education will leave thousands of working class people out in the cold.

Despite their rhetoric of ‘aspiration’, the Tories’ real aim is to smash young people’s expectations. They want us to blame ourselves for the failings of their capitalist system. By labelling swathes of us second-rate, they hope to predispose us towards accepting a life of low pay, insecurity and poverty.

But this march will show that young people do not accept austerity Britain’s paltry offerings. We say education is a right, not a privilege. So as well as declaring our intention to fight every fresh attack the Tories have planned, we are also demanding an education system that works for all, not just the sons and daughters of the rich.

We are demanding a system that will nurture the talent and potential of every young person, whatever their background. A system that is fully funded, publicly owned, democratically run and universally free at all levels.

So when we chant “students and workers: unite and fight”, we will not be referring to any single demonstration. This must be a slogan that is taken back to every college, school and university. The ‘United for Education’ march must act as a launch for a mass campaign, organised on every campus across the country.

As the march rallies, Darletta Scruggs, a member of Socialist Alternative – co-thinkers of the Socialist Party in the US – will address the crowd. She will describe the huge protests already developing against the hated Donald Trump across America.

This gives a glimpse of the kinds of movements that can develop all over the world in the next months and years. Socialist Students is organising to help build a mass education fightback all over the country. Join us and get involved.

Join Socialist Students!

  • Visit
  • Text ‘JOIN’ plus your name and college to 07749 379 010 or call 020 8988 8761