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Defend student protesters_

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					6               the Socialist
                2-8 December 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             the Socialist
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2-8 December 2010

We can win: student struggle must escalate
O      n 24 november 130,000 school,
       college and university students
       walked out in the biggest edu-
cation action for 25 years. There was a
mood of jubilation in discovering their
                                               the nuS had put its weight behind the
                                               protests, they could have been even big-
                                               ger and more coherent.
                                                  Porter has now apologised for failing
                                               to give a lead and has agreed that nuS
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                24 novemBer was the day the young
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                people of Liverpool showed their resil-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ience to government spending cuts with
strength, and determination to defeat          should back a day of action on ‘day X’     .                                                                                                                                                                     2,000 school, college and university stu-
these brutal cuts.                             Whether he follows through with this re-                                                                                                                                                                         dents protesting.
   Youth fight for Jobs (YfJ) called for ac-   mains to be seen but if nuS is not going                                                                                                                                                                            We ruled the streets of Liverpool, traf-
tion on 24 november and led many of the        to lead the fightback, we need to build                                                                                                                                                                          fic was stopped, police lines were broken
protests, organising many directly and         bodies that can.                                                                                                                                                                                                 and the city was disrupted, gaining ap-
campaigning for students to walk out              The London region of the uCu lectur-                                                                                                                                                                          plause from members of the public, who
and join the protests.                         ers’ union has called for a demonstration                                                                                                                                                                        flooded out of shops to commend our
   YfJ is organising as Youth fight for        on ‘day X’ and other unions should come                                                                                                                                                                          protest.
education (Yfe), and its call for local or-    behind this and send delegations along.                                                                                                                                                                             The police presence in the city was over
ganising meetings across the country to           Local student unions should put on          And elsewhere...                                                                                                                                                  the top. Helicopters, horses, CCtv vans,        400 demonstrated
discuss what next went down a storm.           transport from their institution for all                                                                                                                                                                         and police filming and taking pictures of       in Exeter after
   most of the population supports the         who want to come to London to demon-                                                                                                                                                                             the protesters (90% of whom were under
student protests. The Welsh Assembly           strate, but also for others from the local     400 students and                                                                                                                                                  25).                                            a walk out from
and Scottish Parliament have already an-       area including school and college stu-         staff protested                                                                                                                                                                               Tara Staunton       Exeter College
nounced that education maintenance             dents and local trade unions.
Allowance (emA) will be saved in their            This is a fight for all of us. Links must   in support of an                                                                                                                                                                                                  shut down three
areas. This is a victory for the movement      also be made and strengthened with the         occupation at                                                                                                                                                     Winchester                                      quarters of
throughout Britain and shows that the          trade union and anti-cuts movements            the University of                                                                                                                                                 tHere WAS an electrifying buzz as hun-          planned classes.
pressure is having a real effect.              that exist outside of education.                                                                                                                                                                                 dreds of students from Peter Symonds
                                                  Alongside students losing their right to    Birmingham.                                                                                                                                                       College poured onto the streets of Win-         350 marched in
    Get organised for day X                    education, government cuts are also an         500 demonstrated                                                                                                                                                  chester, joining up with students from          Bournemouth.          School students attempt to stop protesters attacking the police van.
                                               attack on many workers’ jobs - part of a                                                                                                                                                                         nearby colleges in eastleigh in response                                                                                          photo Paul Mattsson
                                                                                              in Oxford followed                                                                                                                                                                                                200 marched in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Defend student protesters!
tHere IS the potential to defeat these         huge attack on all public services. Some                                                                                                                                                                         to the YfJ call.
emA cuts and fees increases, and to do         of the protests on 24 november were            by 50 sixth formers                                                                                                                                                  Staff joined students on the gate to give    Coventry.
that we need to escalate the action. With      initiated by local anti-cuts alliances, and    occupying the                                                                                                                                                     their support. over 1,000 students rallied      250 demonstrated

greater organisation and preparation we        many of the following occupations had                                                                                                                                                                            in the town centre with home-made plac-
can sound a real warning that govern-          speakers from education unions.
                                                                                              Radcliffe Camera       Over 100,000 have taken part in the protests.                                                                             photo Senan      ards venting their anger at the Con-dem
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                at Warwick                   or tHe ‘crime’ of protesting, a       the media to portray them as violent. In
ment plans can be disrupted. A nation-            Students by themselves cannot have a        Building of the                                                                                                                                                   government who had “lied their way into         University followed          new generation is facing police       fact they and a YfJ activist physically
al, coordinated shutdown of education          significant impact on profits, which is at     Bodliean Library.                                                                                                                                                 power“. YfJ leaflets were snatched up as        by 70 students               repression and huge intimida-         blocked the van.

                                                                                                                        Reports from 24 November day of action
through both student and education             the end of the day what this government                                                                                                                                                                          students wanted to discuss the way for-                                tion from the media and head teach-            our movement must oppose all po-
worker participation could do this.            and their big business backers care most       200 students and                                                                                                                                                  ward for the campaign. Socialist Party          occupying the arts     ers. Around the country, unorganised        lice intimidation and victimisation of
   Yfe calls for school, college and uni-      about. But by uniting the struggles we         trade unionists                                                                                                                                                   member and president of Peter Symonds           centre.                groups of young people were protesting      protesters, including those arrested for
versity meetings as well as city and re-       can defeat the government.                     rallied in Hastings.   Leeds                                                                                                                                      nuS, toby north, appeared on regional           200 marched in         peacefully until the police intervened.     protesting, college students who lose
gional coordinating meetings to discuss           even if this undemocratic government                                                                             the university gave in to two demands of      cially amongst school and fe students.         tv in the evening making it clear: “We                                 Police ‘kettled’ demonstrations in Bris-    their emA and school students who
the next stage in the struggle.                ignores the vast majority of the popula-       70 students            StudentS from all three universities          AACC. not only have occupiers won free-       As we handed out 1,000 leaflets we were        can defeat these plans.”                        Leicester.             tol and London and violently attacked       walk out and are victimised by head
   nationally, Youth fight for Jobs is         tion and votes to increase fees, it will       occupied               and many colleges joined the walkout          dom from victimisation for taking part in     swarmed by young people grasping for                                         Nick Chaffey      200 marched in         an occupation in Brighton and protests      teachers.
holding a meeting on 4 and 5 december.         not be the end of the movement. Laws           Portsmouth             and demonstration in Leeds. At Leeds          the action but the university’s vice chan-    them out of our hands. over 70 students                                                        Lincoln.               elsewhere.                                     YfJ is organising solidarity action and
Students who have organised and led            can be changed and repealed, such as                                  university, Socialist Students members        cellor, dr david Grant, has invited an        then occupied newcastle university.                                                                                      In London Youth fight for Jobs had       a legal defence campaign and is appeal-
protests will speak and there will be the      Thatcher’s poll tax which was defeated         university             helped run the Leeds university Against       elected delegation from the occupiers to                              Elaine Brunskill       Sheffield                                       100 protested in       agreed a route with the police to march     ing for donations. In London a protest
opportunity for democratic discussion to       by a mass movement 20 years ago.               and forced a           Cuts (LuAC) ‘picket lines’ to persuade        a meeting to discuss students’ concerns.                                                     A demonStrAtIon of 3,000 in Shef-               Nottingham.            through Parliament Square. This was         has been called at new Scotland Yard
agree a way forward for this movement.            In the local elections in may students                             students to walkout. 3,000 marched to                        Cardiff Socialist Students                                                    field town centre was followed by over                                 ignored by the met Police who were          on 11 december and we are appealing
   Such coordination would also mean           and student bodies should stand and            commitment from        the city centre.                                                                            Manchester                                     one hundred students moving swiftly             60 students            clearly out for revenge for the millbank    for statements to hand in to the police
we could organise protests and dem-            support candidates who oppose cuts in          the vice-chancellor       Afterwards students marched back to                                                      ABout 3,000 people marched through             into the Hicks building at the university       walked out from        protests two weeks earlier.                 to make it clear what really happened
onstrations with proper stewarding, an         education and all cuts and pledge to fight     to publish details     the university where 700 occupied the         Bristol                                       manchester city centre. The plan had           of Sheffield.                                   Upton High sixth          most of the media has repeated the       on 24 november.
agreed route and rallies, etc. organising      back – individual councils could contin-                              michael Sadler building. The occupiers        ‘A LArGe game of cat and mouse’ is the        been to march to the town hall but we             A programme for the occupation was                                  lie that the demonstration was kettled
ourselves in this way would help ensure        ue to pay emA from their own budget for        of the cuts            tried to take demands to the vice chan-       term that has been adopted by many to         were informed at the last minute that this     agreed - opposition to all tuition fees; op-    form in Chester.       because of an attack on an old, rusty po-   To donate, please send cheques made out
the police could not prevent our right to      example.                                       planned.               cellor (and head of the russell Group)        describe the demonstration that took          would not be the case and were taken to        position to public sector cuts and solidar-     50 protested in        lice van that had been left in the middle   to Youth Democratic Rights Campaign at
peacefully protest (see box on far right).                                                    100 protested in       michael Arthur, but were stopped by se-       place in Bristol. 4,000 students and work-    a desolate part of the city.                   ity with every person affected by the cuts.     Huddersfield.          of the road. However, this was only at-     PO BOX 858, London, E11 1YG
   The date of a vote in parliament, pos-               Need to continue                                             curity staff. However we did stop Arthur      ers took to the streets.                        disgruntled students decided to relo-        Also, a demand for the right to recall all                             tacked after protesters had been kettled    If you are one of the students accused,
sibly before Christmas has to be the main                                                     Southampton.           passing a resolution condemning the              The march began at Bristol university’s    cate to the town hall where we felt our        mPs found to be breaking their pre-elec-        50 marched in          for some time.                              please get in contact with Youth Fight for
focus point for the movement - a ‘day X’   .   tHeSe StudentS, with a large propor-           150 students           London demonstration.                         Senate House, surrounded by riot police.      position would be more prominent and           tion pledge not to raise tuition fees.          Truro.                    many school students explained that      Jobs for advice and more – youthfightfor-
Plans should be made for the shutdown,         tion from working-class backgrounds are                                  Ian Pattison, Socialist Student member     We marched onto College Green, where          our voices given more chance of being             The occupation received support from                                smashing up the van would be used by 020 8558 7947
for mass walkouts of all students. Those       fighting for their future. A small but sig-
                                                                                              occupied the           and LuAC press officer said: “There is a      the police expected us to stop our protest    heard.                                         unions including PCS, unison and uCu.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                300 college
who can should come to London to pro-          nificant section is open to socialist ideas.   Jeremy Bentham         positive mood in the occupation that has      but students wanted to march into the           The student union executive did not          When threatened with forcible eviction,         students walked
test outside parliament in a mass show         The 24 november protests surpassed             Room at University     been boosted by the news that emA is go-      city centre.                                  follow the majority’s decision and so, at      we decided to leave the Hicks building          out and protested
of opposition. further away, demonstra-        the hugely significant student walkouts                               ing to be saved in Wales.”                       After trying several routes, it became     this point, the march was divided.             and moved the occupation to the cor-
tions should be held in city centres, or       against the Iraq war, and made it clear        College London.                                        Iain Dalton   clear that we had been ‘kettled’ by po-         Later on in the day, the two groups          ridors outside the vice chancellor’s of-        outside the gates
outside town halls or mPs’ offices.            that this is a serious, determined move-       100 school                                                           lice. A trickle of news came though that      joined together again and an attempt at        fice. But when the police were called, we       of Gower College’s
                                               ment with the potential to force back the      students from          London
                                                                                                                                                                   some students had managed to occupy           occupying a building was made.                 marched out to continue building for the        Gorseinon campus
                  NUS                          government.                                                                                                         the university of Bristol’s student union       When this was unsuccessful, we opted         next day of action.
                                                  Saving emA in Wales and Scotland can        Great Marlow           from 11Am waves of chanting, angry            building.                                     for a peaceful ‘sit-out’ in the middle of                                    Chaz Lockett      near Swansea.
tHe nAtIonAL union of Students                 be the first victory of many, both locally     school walked out      and determined students poured into              In solidarity with these students, the     oxford road, one of the busiest roads in
(nuS) refused to build for 24 november         and on a Britain-wide level. We need to        along with 6 from      trafalgar Square. Some in school uni-         demonstration marched to join them,           manchester. This lasted for about 15 min-
and president Aaron Porter condemned           continue to escalate the action and build                             forms, many carrying homemade plac-           despite efforts of the riot police to block   utes before being broken up by the police      Brighton
the call for a national day of walkouts. If    for a ‘day X’ mass show of opposition.         Borlaise Grammar       ards, they were all clear: ‘these cuts are    our way. There was also an attempt by 300     and police horses.                             3,000 mArCHed in Brighton. following
                                                                                              in Marlow.             unfair and we will fight them’ .              students to occupy one of the colleges.                                       Anna Tully     the call from YfJ, students in at least three
                                                                                                                        Yfe activists were surrounded as stu-         The occupation of the university of the                                                   schools walked out of class to attend. The
                                                                                                                     dents filled in join forms and discussed      West of england which started the week                                                       mood on the day was electric. many stu-
                                                                                                                     how to build the movement.                    before 24 november is continuing.             Bury                                           dents (some as young as 11) were attend-
                                                                                                                        Just before 1pm this whirligig mass                                  Frankie Langland    1,400 StudentS from Holy Cross Sixth           ing their first demonstration. When the
                                                                                                                     assembled for the Yfe march – but the                                                       form College and Bury College walked           march had completed its route it did not
                                                                                                                     8,000 didn’t march – they ran!                                                              out on Wednesday and marched to a              stop but carried on!
                                                                                                                        Absolutely disgracefully their right to    Newcastle                                     huge rally outside Bury town Hall. Stu-           Around 50 students, including mem-
                                                                                                                     protest was brutally attacked as the po-      “fACeBook CLASSeS warned over join-           dents simply surged round the ring road        bers of Brighton Socialist Students, then
                                                                                                                     lice kettled the entire demo, only releas-    ing fees rally” was the headline of the lo-   bringing traffic to a halt.                    occupied the Pavilion Parade building
                                                                                                                     ing the last protesters after 10pm! But       cal paper.                                       With home-made placards such as             of Brighton university. After riot police
                                                                                                                     their intention to frustrate the movement        However, the facebook generation           ‘david Cameron education snatcher’ and         stormed the building and attempted to
                                                                                                                     will not succeed.                             took to the streets in their thousands.       ‘nick Clegg Liar’ (and worse!), and with       remove us, we agreed a set of demands
                                                                                                                                          Sarah Sachs-Eldridge     more than 3,000 young people joined           deafening chants against the tories and        issued to the vice chancellor of the uni-
                                                                                                                                                                   the YfJ demo to show their opposition to      Lib dems, workers and shoppers were            versity and the government.
                                                                                                                                                                   the brutal attacks proposed by this rotten    left in no doubt about the strength of feel-      Since then we have been holding regu-
                                                                                                                     Cardiff                                       Con-dem government.                           ing. Lorry and bus drivers hooted or gave      lar teach-ins, discussions and talks with
                                                                                                                     A 2,000-strong demonstration in Cardiff,         As the first noisy wave of students ap-    the thumbs up.                                 staff who are sympathetic to our protest.
                                                                                                                     including students from half a dozen col-     proached the monument, shoppers                  In a fighting speech often interrupted      At times numbers in the occupation have
                                                                                                                     leges ended with 300 people occupying         stopped and applauded. many of the stu-       by cheers Paul Gerrard, a Socialist Party      grown to over 100.
                                                                                                                     Cardiff university.                           dents had homemade placards: “I’m so          member and retired teacher, congratu-                        Jack Poole and Jon Redford
                                                                                                                       Action Against Cuts - Cardiff (AACC)        angry I made a sign, You had your educa-      lated the students on their organisation
                                                                                                                     held two mass rallies outside Cardiff uni-    tion - now let me have mine”  .               and attacked the coalition’s plans for             We are unfortunately unable to carry
                                                                                                                     versity’s main building which showed the         School and fe students had their faces     education.                                     all the reports we have received. Please
                                                                                                                     enormous support for the occupiers.           painted with ‘emA’ on their cheeks.                          Manchester Socialist Party
Students demonstrate in Newcastle.                       photo Newcastle Socialist Party                               The occupation ended in success as             our Yfe leaflets hit a chord - espe-                                                      see for more                                Students carry YFJ placards.                                   photo Suzanne Beishon