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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 January 2012

NUS calls national student walkout

Name the date and build for mass action

The National Union of Students (NUS) has finally announced a series of actions to fight against the sweeping privatisation and cuts threatened to hit our universities if the government get their way. This comes after a week of twists and turns in which the government 'dropped' its controversial Higher Education white paper.

Unfortunately, however, much of what was contained in the paper is being implemented on campuses without the need for government legislation. The dropping of the paper is yet another signal that the government intends to take forward its agenda by more underhand means - perhaps due to a fear of a repeat of 2010's mass student protests.

NUS is organising a parliamentary lobby on 7 March and a 'week of action' from 12-16 March. The centrepiece of the student action should be the national walkout that has been announced. Liam Burns, NUS president, has called for this to take place this term. This development should be welcomed by all students who want to campaign against the whole range of attacks currently underway on our campuses.

Clearly, the NUS leadership has been forced to take this action by pressure from below. It cannot be forgotten that last term's two most successful protests aimed at students and youth, the Jarrow March for Jobs and the student demo on 9 November, were organised outside of NUS structures.

We demand that NUS immediately names the date for the walkout. Socialist Students activists will be organising on campuses across the country to make it a success, but NUS must organise and build for this strike to be nationwide and solid. To do this, the most important first step would be to name a date.

NUS should be mobilising to support teachers and lecturers in their battle to defend pensions. When these workers next take strike action NUS should mobilise student solidarity on the picket lines and rallies, calling on all students to join the strike. While very important, student action alone will not be enough to stop the higher education slaughter. Unity with workers, particularly when they strike, is key. Workers and students unite and fight!

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