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Students demand - 'save our EMA'
Join the demos on 29 January
AS STUDENTS restart their protest action in the New Year over the rise in fees and cutting of Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), a poll has revealed the extent of the impact that the attack on EMA will have on working class young people.
Of 160 colleges surveyed from across the country 94% thought the abolition of EMA would have a significant effect on students' ability to get to college. This is a damning indictment of the government's vicious proposal to scrap a grant that will only save a measly £500 million.
The 'Save EMA' days of action this month on 19 and 26 January will build towards two demonstrations on 29 January in London and Manchester. These student demonstrations will be the first to take place on a weekend with the aim of drawing in more support and linking the fight for a free and decent education to the broader anti-cuts movement.
The student protests have been seen by many to be the tip of the iceberg. As the cuts to public services and jobs begin to take effect there will be waves of demonstrations, protests and strikes on a scale not seen since the anti-poll tax movement of the early 1990s (see page 11).
Students have shown spontaneity and ability to organise and have won concessions in Scotland and Wales - saving EMA and defending the cap on fees.
However students will not be able to defeat the government alone; it will only be through the weight of the working class and trade union movement joining the students that we will be able to see a lasting victory. A glimpse of the power of the working class is shown when the RMT and TSSA rail unions strike and bring the 'all powerful' city of London to a standstill.
The demonstrations on 29 January have, for the first time in this struggle, won official support from a number of trade unions including the Trades Union Congress, the lecturers' union UCU and the civil servants' union PCS. Using this support to build for a huge turnout on the demonstrations and future protests and mobilising students for the TUC national demonstration in March will be the next challenge for the movement.
- For the Manchester demonstration assemble 10.30am outside the Manchester Museum, Oxford Road, M13 9PL. See www.youthfightforjobs.com for latest updates on the London demonstration.
In The Socialist 19 January 2011:
National Shop Stewards Network
Socialist Party NHS campaign
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news