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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 November 2016

Glasgow School of Arts students "let us learn" revolt

Students protesting at Glasgow School of Art photo Socialist Party Scotland

Students protesting at Glasgow School of Art photo Socialist Party Scotland   (Click to enlarge)

Glasgow Socialist Students

Several hundred students boycotted classes and organised a mass picket right in the middle of an open day at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) on 27 October. They were motivated by anger against cuts and demanding more facilities to "let us learn".

A fire in 2014 destroyed a large part of the campus and management have failed to invest and respond to the reduced space for students effectively. Placards and chants highlighted that many students are paying high fees of "50 a day".

One student, Euan, spoke to the Socialist: "GSA are saying they will bring in 25% more students but we are already 'hot-desking', there is no space. We have tried every form of dialogue and this was the only option left, the turnout today shows them we are serious. We want change."

Other students explained that they couldn't get access to material or technicians despite the college's renowned reputation.

GSA management, reflecting their panicked embarrassment at their open day being overshadowed by the creative protest powers of their own students, screamed at picketers to stay off the roads in front of the media cameras and tried to stop students being interviewed. As the protest grew they put up steel barriers around the picket, students responded by chanting "Glasgow School of Barriers!"

Mass meetings should be called of the GSA student body to discuss and debate the next course of mass action. The class boycott was an important tactic that should be repeated to achieve the widest possible participation of students. Occupation should also be seriously considered. Building links with trade unions on campus is also vital.

Socialist Students in Glasgow mobilised support from the wider trade union movement. On the same day we were involved in a protest with Glasgow City Unison at the grand lavish opening of the new Glasgow City College campus. These struggles should be brought together.

Socialist Students offers these ideas from our experience of participation of student struggles and hopes to be part of a discussion with GSA students about the way forward. We raised solidarity with the GSA protest through our links to the Sindicato de Estudiantes, the Spanish students union which organised a general student strike of 2 million the day before and with the outsourcing/fees must fall movement in South Africa.

GSA students should be commended for organising the largest campus student demonstrations in Scotland since protests in 2011. What they have done should be an example - if a fighting lead is shown then students will fight to improve their conditions.

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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.

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In The Socialist 2 November 2016:


What we think

Corbyn movement must seize initiative - or face defeat


Socialist Party news and analysis

Fight for decent jobs for all

Fight the 'burning' of our museums and libraries!

Battle of Orgreave: Establishment cover up continues

One third of 2010's new teachers have already quit

We are all Daniel Blake: no more deaths from benefit cuts

LGBT people need militancy, not false 'allies' like David Cameron

What we saw


Refugee solidarity

Solidarity with refugees

Demolition of Calais 'Jungle' camp - eyewitness report

My time in a detention centre


Socialist Party youth and students

Mass student strike rocks Spanish state

Glasgow School of Arts students "let us learn" revolt


International socialist news and analysis

EU-Canada trade deal battle points to Corbyn's Brexit opportunity


Environment and socialism

Heathrow expansion exposes Tory divisions


Socialist Party feature

Will workers on company boards make bosses accountable?


Workplace news and analysis

Sheffield bin workers' action strengthens in numbers and mood

Solid Southern strike continues against Britain's 'worst' train company

Newsquest strike: "It's impossible to do our jobs"

Outsourced ambulance workers strike in Tooting


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Glenfield heart unit closure: Over 1,000 march

Massive demo against A&E closure

Campaigners call on Greenwich council to oppose the Housing Act

Haringey care services face ruthless cuts and privatisation

Teaching assistants stage vigil and rally

"Our problems cannot be solved by capitalist politics"


 

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