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From The Socialist newspaper, 28 October 2020

Birmingham: 'Refund our fees' protests

Locked out, but we still marched to campus

Birmingham Protest

Birmingham Protest   (Click to enlarge)

Tom Green, University of Birmingham Socialist Students

After growing discontent among students and staff, Birmingham Socialist Students called a march on 21 October. Students arriving in Birmingham were met with an almost immediate reduction of contact hours, restricted library access, and extremely limited contact with university representatives.

Faced with these restrictions, and having to isolate for 14 days with inadequate support, the mood on campus was one of dissatisfaction. For weeks students have taken the brunt of the Tory blame game, in spite of the government's disastrous and neglectful handling of the pandemic that only serves the interests of the profiteers.

So Socialist Students announced a protest - demanding student fees are refunded and for free education in general - and campaigning for two weeks to ensure a strong turnout began. Students leafleted in areas with large student populations - halls of residence, the local high street, surrounding residential areas, and spaces around campus.

We placed posters along the main roads every few days. And students kept a strong social media presence with regular Facebook updates. Our protest gained traction, and an article from the Birmingham Tab student website boosted exposure.

On the day of the demonstration, 80 protestors came to the student university entrance. But peaceful protestors were locked out by security, so we took an alternate route to campus.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 28 October 2020:


What we think

Tories' school meals outrage


Coronavirus News

Don't let Tories starve our kids

Tory 'Starve a Kid to Save a Quid' scheme

Boots launches 120, 12-minute Covid test

Under the microscope


Workplace News

Backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary

Royal Mail: No more behind closed doors talks

Fight Leeds Labour council's massive cuts

Workplace news in brief


News

NHS England's 1bn winter shortfall: we need union action, not platitudes!

BAME Covid deaths due to capitalist inequality, confirms government

Mayor and government compete to attack London transport: fight for no cuts!

Grenfell watch: landlord's 800,000 saving


Food Standards

Food and a capitalist Brexit: No trust in Tory Deals!


International News

Nigeria protests shake regime

"We need a leadership that comes from the movement"

Bolivia elections: Crushing defeat for the right as MAS secures landslide victory

US presidential election


Campaigns

Online youth rally says: We won't pay with our futures

Birmingham: 'Refund our fees' protests

Solidarity with the movement in Nigeria

Evicted students can fight back and win

Waltham Forest Save Our Square:

Why I joined the Socialist Party - "I'm 15, and already I've lived through two global recessions and a pandemic"

Bristol jobs protest: We want 100% pay


Readers' Opinion

One rule for them, and another for us

Books that inspired me: Germinal

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Students:

triangleSocialist Students national meeting: Refund the rent, cancel the fees and fight for free education

triangleExams scrapped again - young people need a future with jobs and free education

triangleRefund student rent and fees - fight for free education and make the 1% pay

triangleUniversity teaching moves online in England

triangleRefund the rent, cancel the fees, for fully funded, publicly owned education

Fees:

triangleSolidarity with Manchester students - fight for democratic control of campus safety

triangleMaybe now they will listen - Refund the fees!

triangleFight for your future at the online rally

triangleStudents speak out: isolation and uncertainty reign

Birmingham:

triangleProtests in solidarity with Indian farmers

triangleDiego Maradona - Working-class rebel, football genius

triangleBirmingham NHS porters' 48-hour strike against shift changes

Socialist Students:

triangleRent strikers' victory in student halls

triangleWales exams scrapped: What's behind the headline?

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