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From: The Socialist issue 460, 26 October 2006: Unite & Fight to Save the NHS

Search site for keywords: Democratic rights - Students - War - Racism - Universities - Socialist Students - Anti-war - anti-terrorist

No to attacks on democratic rights

LAST WEEK the guardian reported on a leaked government draft document that "urged universities to spy on 'Asian-looking' students". Universities will be told to inform on students to Special Branch because the government believes campuses have become "fertile recruiting grounds" for extremists.

Campuses should be a forum for discussion and debate, but increasingly the 'anti-terrorist' measures are being used to divide students and to prevent protest. It is unlikely to be effective in checking the tiny minority whose anger against the government's foreign and domestic policies leads them to the mistaken methods of terrorism.

Socialist Students, with the vast majority of students including Muslims, completely oppose terrorism. We need to build a mass movement to unite all sections of the community, especially through the trades unions, to oppose war, racism and terror.

The document represents another attack on students' rights on campus, alongside the new proposals on good behaviour contracts and clocking-in systems, and comes at a time when the Muslim community is facing increased government attacks over the veil.

Socialist Students opposes the racist policies of "profiling" of Asian students and the clampdown on democratic rights on campuses. This legislation can also be used against all students who want to organise opposition to the government's policies of war and privatisation.

The document claims that Islamic societies at universities have become increasingly political in recent years and discusses monitoring their leaflets and speakers. However, students in general have become increasingly political with more and more participating in the anti-war movement and angry with other government policies of fees and privatisation.

Students are not alone with 61% of voters saying they want British troops to leave this year. Blair and Co. respond to the anger against the war by whipping up racism against Muslims and clamping down on our civil liberties such as the ban on protests within a kilometre of parliament.

This document represents an attack on students' rights to be political and to organise politically. The National Union of Students (NUS) has criticised the government draft but puts forward no programme for defending students or for building a movement against war and against fees and student poverty.

Socialist Students members from all over England and Wales marched on the anti-war demo at the Labour Party conference and will be organising meetings and protests under the slogans of "no to war, terror and racism and defend our democratic rights".

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