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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 December 2020

York students determined to build for rent refunds and free education

  (Click to enlarge)

Iain Dalton, Socialist Party Yorkshire

Students held a protest in York city centre against their ongoing treatment by the government and university management. The protest took place the first day lockdown was lifted on 2 December, with the support of trade unionists from York Trades Union Council. This was after an attempt to hold a protest at York St John's University campus the week before had been stopped by large numbers of police.

There was significant public support for the protest. One pensioner who passed just before the protest began, saw Socialist Students' placards demanding 'refund our fees' and commented "I completely agree". Other people out shopping now stores had reopened came up to ask questions and take leaflets.

Anger among students has grown under lockdown at how university management and the government have lured them back to campus over the summer, with promises of a relatively normal student experience. The reality is that they have been told to attend so that halls rents and tuition fees could be collected to prop up the unsustainable higher education funding system.

Two weeks prior, at the University of York, around 75-100 students had held a protest demanding rent rebates, and now 200 students in halls are pledged to join a rent strike if this and other demands aren't met.

Maurice, a new Socialist Party member and college student, spoke about how 'bubbles', designed to separate students in case of Covid outbreaks, were regularly collapsing. As students move around to different lessons they are regularly coming into contact with different 'bubbles', undermining staff and student safety.

With students being 'evacuated' from campuses ahead of Christmas, the next month will be relatively quiet for expressions of student anger. The next term will be a different matter. All those on the protest were determined to build for a bigger and more sustained movement in the new year.

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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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 9 December 2020:


News

Fund NHS, not Tory crony contracts

Covid vaccines only first step - fight job losses, austerity and 'virus' of capitalism

High street jobs, safety and pay: We have to fight

Super-rich tax evasion costs 34 million nurses worldwide

Luxury for some, poverty for the rest of us


What we think

Should Corbyn stand for London Mayor?


Workplace news

RMT gen sec election - vote for Steve Hedley

Further education workers win pay rise in Wales

HMRC pay talks - PCS needs to organise members now

Reinstate sacked Unite London bus rep Judith Katera

South London council workers vote to strike


International news

Right populism after Trump

Malaysia: Massive capitalist exploitation of migrant workers exposed by Covid pandemic

International news in brief


Engels

Engels and the answer to the housing question


Campaigns news

Welsh trades councils rally against the pay-freeze

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Tenants and workers unite to take on landlords

'Oxford, Cut the Rent!' campaign kicks off

York students determined to build for rent refunds and free education

London Socialist Party hits the streets


Readers' opinion

TV review: Red, White and Blue

The Socialist Inbox


Obituary

Obituary: Roger Priest


 

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