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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 November 2014

Students march for free education

Socialist Students

On 19 November, over 5,000 students joined a lively march calling for free education. The demonstration was a brilliant display of huge anger and determination to fight back. Students had come from around the country, some without any support from their student union, instead organising with friends to make sure they could attend.

Socialist Students had a vibrant contingent with lots of chanting and some fiery speeches. Over 60 Socialist Students members joined this bloc on the march, with more throughout the demonstration.

One of our chants was "students and workers, unite and fight!" The most immediate task following the demonstration is organising solidarity with university staff in their battle over attacks on pensions.

Students who took part were rightly outraged that the right wing leadership of the National Union of Students (NUS) had withdrawn support for the demo.


This kind of betrayal is not new. The inspiring 2010 student movement against the trebling of tuition fees and scrapping of EMA was kicked off by an NUS-organised demonstration but then they abandoned the fight. This, combined with workers being blocked from taking action at the same time by their own weak union leaderships, meant that the movement ended in defeat.

We have to fight to avoid the same this time. We have to step up the action with more protests, strikes and occupations.

We also have to have discussions on every campus about what students should do at the ballot box in May. The rich 1% have four big parties all organised to represent their interests. We need our own party - one that fights in the interests of all workers, young people, poor and oppressed. Organisations like the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition have stood in elections as a no-cuts challenge to the big business parties.

Socialist ideas

And we have to make sure that the movement is armed with ideas that can lead to real change. Socialists reject the notion that ordinary people must shoulder the burden of paying for a crisis created by bankers, big business and the super-rich.

We oppose every cut and fight for a society in which the big monopolies are owned publicly and run under democratic control. Rather than production being organised to satisfy capitalist greed, the economy would be planned democratically to meet the needs of ordinary people, without destroying the planet.

Young Greens and the Socialist Party

In the run up to the 19 November free education march the right wing leadership of the NUS pulled out from backing the demonstration, citing concerns over the safety of the students participating. Some NUS officers also raised the presence on the demonstration of left wing organisations, including the Socialist Party, as an excuse for pulling support, outrageously presenting this as a 'concern' over the issue of violence against women and sexism within the student movement (see statement on the Socialist Party website).

The NUS officers, and others who repeated their attacks, were careful not to be specific enough in their published comments to risk legal action for defamation. The youth section of the Green Party, the Young Greens, however, did post a statement on their website which was clearly defamatory in its allegations about the Socialist Party. They had made no attempt to contact the Socialist Party beforehand.

The Socialist Party wrote to the Young Greens, offering to meet them to answer the misinformation they had clearly repeated without question, but also demanding that the offending post be removed within 48 hours. The Young Greens agreed to remove the statement and no further action was taken on this occasion.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 26 November 2014:

Socialist Party news and analysis

14 day deadline to breadline

Hands off our NHS

Rochester: 'Business as usual' politics falling apart

World economy - heading for the junkyard

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

Anger erupts in Ferguson over acquittal of killer cop

Ireland: establishment attacks water tax protests

Anger grows over missing Mexican students

Socialist Party features

Housing crisis! What do socialists say?

Education: "a hurricane of ill thought initiatives"

Socialist Party youth and students

Students march for free education

Victories against sexism in Leeds

Fast Food Rights campaign

Socialist Party workplace news

Health workers walkout in second NHS pay strike

UCU pensions: reinstate the action!

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Are you a socialist?

Council beaten on austerity tax

TUSC says no to cuts in Notts

Way to go, Watford!

Socialist Party reviews and readers' comments

Assassin's Creed Unity

The People Speak: Democracy is not a spectator sport

NHS campaigners must fight all cuts


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