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From: The Socialist issue 659, 23 February 2011: Public services: Not for sale

Search site for keywords: Education - Cuts - Students - Poll tax - Colleges - Fees - Youth - University - Jobs - Universities - Tuition Fees - EMA

Hands off our future!

Workers and students unite!

No to cuts! Youth Fight for Jobs demonstration, photo Suzanne Beishon

No to cuts! Youth Fight for Jobs demonstration, photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

The government has an entire generation in its sights. It is determined to price working class young people out of education. It has voted to triple tuition fees to 9,000 a year, savage funding to universities and colleges, and scrap EMA.

Jethro Waldron, Youth Fight for Jobs colleges organiser

It is true that this vicious cuts agenda has been made law. But this doesn't mean that the fight is over. The government can still be made to back down.

The poll tax, a regressive tax that attacked the poorest in society, was made law by Thatcher's government in 1988. A mass campaign of 18 million non-payers succeeded in removing the poll tax from the statute books in 1991. It also sent Thatcher packing from Downing Street.

The movement to defend free education is not the same as the movement against the poll tax. But that movement showed that a broad, united and militant campaign can win. This is why students must seek to link up with workers, particularly lecturers, teachers and education support staff.

Youth Fight for Education (YFE) gave support to the protest outside the Universities UK conference in London on 24 February.

Save our EMA - student demonstrates against the cuts with Youth Fight for Jobs placard

Save our EMA - student demonstrates against the cuts with Youth Fight for Jobs placard   (Click to enlarge)

Vice chancellors and other university managers were set to discuss the best ways for them to do the government's dirty work: raising fees, closing faculties and campuses, and cutting jobs.

Instead of meekly passing on the cuts, YFE calls on university managers to fight the government. They should set 'no-cuts' budgets and build a campaign to win back the funding that the government is stealing from us.

YFE is also organising protests on campuses and in town centres up and down the country to make our opposition to the cuts loud and clear.

We can use these protests to set a marker for building students' links with workers and the wider community. At the end of March, YFE calls for a national shutdown of the education system, coinciding with possible strike action by the UCU trade union.

We must have this monumental event in our sights as we organise for and take part in the forthcoming protests. Students and workers united can stop this government in its tracks!







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