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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 April 2021

Pimlico Academy protests: "Run by racists for profit"

London school students marching against Trump, 13.7.18

London school students marching against Trump, 13.7.18   (Click to enlarge)

Helen Pattison, West London Socialist Party

Anger has been growing in schools for a long time. Decades of underfunding, increasing class sizes and growing pressure around exam results have created schools which feel more like exam factories then places of creativity and learning.

This is linked to the slow loss of a say in our schools as many have been converted into academies, losing democratic structures. But, in reality, we never had a real say in our education.

Protests like those at Pimlico Academy, where students carried out a sit-down strike outside the school on 31 March, are therefore more likely. The spray painting said "Pimlico academy... run by racists...for profit". The students were protesting, amongst other things, a new school uniform policy which targeted black students' hair styles and the brightness of hijabs.

This and other changes came the year after the huge BLM movement, many of which happened down the road from Pimlico outside the new US embassy in London.

National Education Union members at the school have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion of no-confidence in the headteacher and for moving towards a ballot for industrial action. Their grievances include unacceptable management style, not providing a safe working environment for staff, and unreasonable workload.

Racism must be challenged in our schools alongside sexism and sexual harassment, the extent of which has recently been exposed.

The students at Pimlico can already see why racist ideas have been relied upon in the uniform - it's because the school is run like a business. It isn't run to give the best education to students. It isn't run in the interests or needs of the local community. It is run to help line the back pockets of anyone who can get contracts with the school.

So if profit is part of the problem, the solution has to be kicking profit motives out of our schools. To do this we will need to build school student unions and mass struggle. Part of our fight has to be for a genuine say in how our schools our run. We want real democratic community control of our local schools so that parents, teachers and students can oppose sexism and racism and have a say, not just in dress codes but also in the curriculum and how it is taught.

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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 7 April 2021:


News

Pay NHS staff 15%!

Racism exists! Unite to fight all inequality

Report condones vigil police violence - democratic community control a necessity

Low-paid workers shouldn't pay for Covid crisis

The system is broken... youth unite and fight back

Fighting Fund: An amazing 39,948 raised


Schools

Sexism in education: It shouldn't be like this!

Pimlico Academy protests: "Run by racists for profit"

Academy schools have become business ventures


Protests

Defiance continues against anti-protest bill

London: #BuhariMustGo protests are back


Local elections

Councillors have a choice - don't vote for cuts

Former Labour parliamentary candidate to stand for TUSC


Workplace news

NEU elections: Elect a socialist leadership to fight for national action and a united campaign

GMB general secretary election: A fighting, socialist leadership needed

Sparks take deskilling protests to Hinkley Point

Marley Tiles workers strike against bullying bosses

New British Gas deadline and strike dates

Bristol Water walkout


Childcare

Childcare in crisis: A socialist solution


Liverpool

Right-wing Labour and Tory commissioners out of Liverpool!


Brixton riots

1981 Brixton riots: Racism and poverty - the anger explodes


International news

Brazil: Bolsonaro regime plunges into a deeper crisis


Readers' opinion

The Socialist Inbox


 

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