Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Massive 52,000 strong march against university fee hikes and abolition of EMAs WEDS 12 Nov

The turnout was stupendous, world-wide publicity, 52,000 people on the march against Tory/Liberal Democrat cuts to education- trebling the `cap' on annual university costs to students from £3,000 per annum to £9,000 per annum- affecting working class kjds. Also on the march, many very angry working class as well as middle class kids in their mid-teens from schools and further education  colleges very very angry about the abolition of the EMA (Educational Maintenance Allowance) payable to kids from low-income families to enable them to stay on at school between the ages of 16 and 19. I got this (a similar) grant to stay on at school when I wa s akid in the early 1960s. Millions of working class kids get it now. But the millionnaire cabinet is abolishing it!

Students are revolting! And quite right too. From the 52,000 strong demo in Westminster on Nov. 10th (which went via the Millbank Tory Party HQ- not your average day at the office!) to disciplined and organized student occupations, sit-ins and teach-ins at Leeds, Manchester, Sussex, Middlesex and other Universities, through subsequent Days of Action, to student protests across Europe- Paris, Lisbon, Athens, Dublin. Saying, chanting, acting, demanding, `No to Education Cuts’, `No to (increased) Charges for Education’, `Education should be Free!’ The 10 Nov demo, organized by the National Union of Students and the college lecturers union, UCU, was the biggest student demonstration in a generation.
The next round was Weds 24 Nov, `Day X’. Students at universities, further education colleges, Sixth Forms and secondary schools walked out, and demonstrating against cuts and tuition fees, in a national day of action. Some marched on their local Tory party offices, just as 300 students and trade unionists in Barnet marched earlier on the local Tory Party HQ in Finchley!
The next `Day X’ is the day of the vote in Parliament on 9 Dec 2010 over the fees increase. There’ll be  another massive demonstration. The Facebook group `Tuition Fee Vote: March on Parliament’ had 2,300 `attending’ within 45 minutes of being set up! Students and Workers realize this is a common struggle- Day X is supported by the three main anti-cuts umbrella organisations, The NSSN (National Shop Stewards Network), the RtW (Right to Work campaign) and the CoR (Campaign of Resistance) whose  27 Nov London rally of 1300 brought together organizations, socialist/ Marxist parties and groups, national organizations, local anti-cuts groups, students and school students.

One of the most remarkable and inspiring speeches, by 15 year old Barnaby, on Youtube at! Explicitly linked the student struggle to wider struggles and workers struggles.

Here are some of the pics from the 10 Nov march in London. It shook the government, the police, the Murdoch media. Ans since then has led to a nationwide rolling campaign of student- and school student/ high school walkouts, demos and marches.