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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 March 2009

NUS conference - 31 March to 2 April

Students need a mass fighting organisation

Most students have to borrow thousands of pounds each year to pay tuition fees and living costs which mount up into colossal student debts. Many students also face an uncertain future with a large growth in graduate unemployment last year, a situation which looks unlikely to improve any time soon. On top of this it is likely that fees will be increased.

Iain Dalton, Candidate for NUS 'block of 15'

On 25 February there was a national march against tuition fees. In the past this would have been organised by the National Union of Students (NUS), using its resources to ensure that students can voice their opposition to fees. But the NUS has abandoned the struggle for free education. Instead, in an attempt to fill this void, a coalition of left student groups, including Socialist Students, and student unions organised a demonstration.

For a long time the official leadership of NUS has been in the hands of Labour Students, the student wing of the Labour Party and their co-thinkers. NUS did not organise a serious campaign against fees, failing even to organise a major demonstration on the day of the vote in parliament to introduce fees, despite a strong mood of anger and opposition. With one of the closest votes, such a tactic could have potentially swayed the extra few votes needed to defeat fees.

Since then the NUS leadership's role has become progressively worse. For example, the whole basis of the most recent NUS Wales lobby of the Welsh Assembly is based on acceptance that the Assembly is going to stop paying part of the tuition fees (currently up to 1,890) for Welsh students who study in Wales. That money is instead to be spent on bursaries, which are means tested and do not come near the huge levels of debt students face. This approach is based on the NUS leadership's belief that nothing can be done to stop the cap on fees being lifted.

The recent NUS governance review has been all about consolidating this do-nothing leadership and weakening the democratic structures.

In fact, the two most significant student movements this year bypassed the NUS nationally; firstly the wave of sit-ins against the invasion of Gaza across the country and secondly the small, but significant anti-fees demonstration.

NUS certainly needs change - but it is a change in political direction that is needed. Socialist Students provides a strategy for fighting attacks on students. That is why I am standing as a candidate in the NUS Block of 15 elections.

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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 25 March 2009:

Capitalist crisis: Make the bosses pay!

March for jobs!

Map of Youth March for Jobs route


Socialist Party editorial

Tide of job losses must be fought


Socialist Party election campaign

Rail union launches euro election challenge

An appeal from Bob Crow

No2EU Financial Appeal pdf

NO2EU Supporter appeal pdf


Socialist Party campaigns

Students need a mass fighting organisation

Credit crunch hits home

Campaign for a new workers' party

MPs - an honourable profession!

Fast News


Socialist Party feature

The uncaring care sector

Pay for your own vetting


Socialist Party marxist analysis

State repression in Britain

Keeping (illegal) tabs on us


International socialist news and analysis

France: Three million take to the streets in national strike

Canada: "Fighting back makes a difference"

Mass demo in New York against budget cuts

Scotland: International Socialists conference a big step forward

Dundee Prisme occupation: Workers remain defiant

Stop the slaughter of Tamils: London campaign meeting


Socialist Party workplace news

Nom-dom jobs slasher

New allegations hit Unison's right wing

Unison Four to face further hearings

Wales: United battle needed to stop college cuts

Fighting for justice for cleaners!

PCS Land Registry jobs and pay campaign

Workplace news in brief


 

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Related links:

NUS:

triangleHow students can fight and win

triangleLincoln Uni NUS disaffiliation: a question of on-campus democracy

triangle'Reforms' hollow out the NUS

triangleReject the rotten NUS 'reforms'

triangleSocialist Students LJMU victory

Students:

triangleYoung Socialists and Socialist Students day of action

triangleWhat would socialist universities look like?

triangleA socialist programme for schools

triangleTV: The school that tried to end racism

Fees:

trianglePay full fees for virtual courses? - No way!

triangleNorth London Socialist Party: How can Corbyn's policies be implemented?

triangleStudents and workers unite against fees, low pay climate change

Labour:

triangleLabour payouts: unions must discuss political representation

triangle100 years since the foundation of the Communist Party of Great Britain

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