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From The Socialist newspaper, 23 February 2022

Workers and students unite and fight

Walk out on 2 March

photo Leeds UCU

photo Leeds UCU   (Click to enlarge)

Adam Powell-Davies, Oxford Socialist Students

The National Union of Students (NUS) has called a national student strike on 2 March in response to growing anger at our rotten university system - one in which students are exploited as 'cash cows' at the hands of vice-chancellors, executives, and private companies.

Anger erupted initially in the university rent strike movement of the first and second lockdowns, and has since found expression in impressive student turnouts at University and College Union (UCU) rallies and pickets.

Students are right to be angry. The experience of students over the pandemic - who were locked down in their rooms, paying sky-high rents and tuition fees for predominantly online tuition - has highlighted for many the rot at the core of the UK higher education system, which has spread from years of underfunding and marketisation.

But we should also direct anger at the 'official' student leadership. The NUS has been pushed by the vigour of the wider student body into calling a strike for free education, among other demands. But what has it done to build for it? Very few students will be aware that the strike is happening. Many others do not know what the NUS is.

This sorry state of affairs points also to the impotency of most students' unions on the ground. The vast majority are affiliated to the NUS, but consistently fail to link campuses to wider national actions.

Ultimately, both the NUS and students' unions have played regressive roles in recent campus struggles. In an online meeting at the height of the rent strikes last year, current NUS president Larissa Kennedy stated that the fight for free education was part of a "long-term project for the future", failing to channel the potential that existed at that time for a national movement for 100% publicly funded higher education. At the same time, students' unions attempted to rein in and conciliate the demands of local rent strike groups.

More recently, some students' unions have gone as far opposing the latest round of UCU strikes, while many others have simply shirked responsibility and 'stayed neutral' - in effect implicitly siding with university management in their attacks against staff.

Yet the example of last month's referendum at University College London, in which thousands of students successfully voted in favour of UCU strikes, shows the mood for joint staff-student struggle at large.

Socialist Students argues for a leadership that can actually channel the momentum of the wider student movement. Whatever happens after 2 March, we will be campaigning locally for mass assemblies of students and staff to discuss a campaign to win full government funding for universities, as the means to end the market-driven exploitation of staff and students alike, while seeking to build fighting, democratic student organisations on as many campuses as possible. If you would like to get involved in this fight, join us.

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In The Socialist 23 February 2022:


News

Unite and fight for a decent pay rise

Johnson scraps Covid safety measures

Tories instruct teachers to wipe Britain's real history

Bus services under threat


International news

Ukraine: Workers' unity against capitalist warmongers and imperialist meddlers

Canada: Prime Minister Trudeau invokes Emergencies Act to end 'Freedom Convoy'

One year after the military coup in Myanmar


NHS

Privatisation and crisis in the NHS


Erdington by-election

The Erdington byelection and the fight for a new mass workers' party

Vote Nellist for a workers' MP in Birmingham Erdington


Workplace news

Tube workers strike in defence of pay, pensions and conditions

University workers continue strike against bosses' attacks

Coventry bin strikers lobby strike-breaking Labour council

Scunny scaffs action forces bosses to the table

Usdaw: 'Reinstate Max' week of action

Trade union support for standing anti-cuts election candidates

Barts NHS workers to walk out again on 28 February

Just Eat couriers continue action to fight pay cut

Rail workers strike in Sheffield


Students

Workers and students unite and fight

Fighting fees and marketisation after 2 March student walkout


Campaigns news

Restore Cardiff's slashed services

Brighton Green and Labour cuts - workers and communities fight back

Surrey: Unions and campaigns say stand as an anti-cuts candidate

Newham City Farm - closed with no consultation

London Socialist Party women's meeting

1 March: Socialist Party new website launch


Review

TV review: This is Going to Hurt


 

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Related links:

Students:

triangleFighting fees and marketisation after 2 March student walkout

triangleCampaigning to make 2 March student walkout happen

triangleWhy I'm going to Socialist Students conference

trianglePerfect storm brewing in education

triangleKing's student union refuses to back staff strike and NUS walkout

Unite:

triangleUnite and fight for a decent pay rise

triangle'Labour by name - Tory by policy'

triangleScunthorpe scaffs mark 100 days of strike action with protests

triangleScunny scaffs strike restarts with a bang, barricades and a win!

Workers:

triangleFor workers' unity against war in Ukraine

triangleCanada: Prime Minister Trudeau invokes Emergencies Act to end 'Freedom Convoy'

triangleThe Erdington byelection and the fight for a new mass workers' party

Student:

triangle'I'm dreading trying to live on a nurse's salary'

triangleThis is students' chance to fight back - help build 2 March NUS walkout

NUS:

triangleNUS walkout: Organise to fight for free education on 2 March

Strike:

triangleRail workers strike in Sheffield

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

23/2/22

Cardiff

Restore Cardiff's slashed services

23/2/22

Pay

Just Eat couriers continue action to fight pay cut

23/2/22

UCU

University workers continue strike against bosses' attacks

23/2/22

London

Tube workers strike in defence of pay, pensions and conditions

23/2/22

Students

Workers and students unite and fight

23/2/22

Fees

Fighting fees and marketisation after 2 March student walkout

23/2/22

Brighton

Brighton Green and Labour cuts - workers and communities fight back

23/2/22

Anti-cuts

Surrey: Unions and campaigns say stand as an anti-cuts candidate

23/2/22

Newham

Newham City Farm - closed with no consultation

23/2/22

Women

London Socialist Party women's meeting

23/2/22

Socialist

1 March: Socialist Party new website launch

23/2/22

Coventry

Coventry bin strikers lobby strike-breaking Labour council

23/2/22

Strike

Scunny scaffs action forces bosses to the table

23/2/22

Usdaw

Usdaw: 'Reinstate Max' week of action

23/2/22

Anti-cuts

Trade union support for standing anti-cuts election candidates

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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