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From: The Socialist issue 870, 16 September 2015: A new era for the 99%

Search site for keywords: Education - Austerity - Students - Student - Socialist Students - Cuts - Grants - College - Debt - NUS

The Socialist Students contingent on the 19 November 2014 free education march in London, photo Jonny Dickens

The Socialist Students contingent on the 19 November 2014 free education march in London, photo Jonny Dickens   (Click to enlarge)

Fight austerity in education!

■ Free education

■ Stop the cuts

■ Defend and extend student grants

Claire Laker-Mansfield, Socialist Students national organiser

Education is a privilege. At least it was for Cameron and Osborne: Eton, Oxford and then the well-trodden path to the Tory front bench. How different an experience to that of the average young person in austerity Britain and students arriving on campus this year?

Student debt, super-expensive housing and the prospect of graduating to low-paid and insecure work will be on the minds of many.

But despite the ferocious attacks the Tories are planning on education, including the abolition of grants and stealthy tuition fee increases, there is some cause for optimism. There is optimism because this summer has seen an enormous upsurge in opposition to this government and its austerity programme.

Jeremy Corbyn

Thousands have filled the streets in protest. And Jeremy Corbyn has been swept to victory on the crest of a huge wave of enthusiasm for free education, anti-cuts and left-wing ideas. Politics is changing and young people are right at the heart of this process.

We know that despite what the Tories claim, getting your head down and working hard is not enough to secure a decent future. If we want to live lives in which insecurity, debt and poverty are no longer 'the norm', we have to fight back. That's why this autumn must be an autumn of revolt.

For students, that means building campaigns on our campuses to fight all cuts, and strongly re-asserting the demand for free education.

On a national level, the protests on 4 October at Tory party conference and the student demo on 4 November are important dates to be mobilising for. Over the summer, representatives of the National Union of Students have raised the idea of student strikes.


A strategy of organising mass walkouts of students, as part of a united fightback involving workers and trade unions taking action, could build the kind of movement necessary to defeat austerity in education.

To achieve this, NUS should be working with student unions, local campaigns and groups including Socialist Students right from the start of term - organising protests and other actions to build up momentum and raise the confidence needed to walk out.

Socialist Students aims to put itself at the heart of the fightback on every campus and in every college. Join us!

Socialist Students

On most campuses we hold weekly meetings to discuss the politics of changing the world. Join us and get involved!

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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.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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