Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://archive.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/522/3838

From The Socialist newspaper, 27 February 2008

Student feature

Fighting fees

Socialist Students in Exeter did a debt-o-meter on the Campaign to Defeat Fees day of action, photo Jim THomsom

Socialist Students in Exeter did a debt-o-meter on the Campaign to Defeat Fees day of action, photo Jim THomsom

On 21 February Socialist Students and supporters of the Campaign to Defeat Fees (CDF) organised protests and stunts around the country to draw attention to the need for a national campaign against university fees and for free education. Only last week it was revealed that 22% of students are forced to drop out of university, many saying that debt was the problem. This day of action showed that where a lead is given students will respond.


Cambridge

'What do we want? Free education! When do we want it? Now!' Despite the wind, rain, and cold, the rally against fees attracted around 60 students at Anglia Ruskin University and Cambridge University as well as from a local sixth form. Speeches roused the crowd, pointing out the hypocrisies of a Labour government that will bail out a bank to over £50 billion but forces students to bear huge financial debt.

After the rally it was decided that we would march through Cambridge. The protest was lively and loud which made us hard to miss; some young people who where in town at the time joined us and marched to the city centre. After the demo we met to discuss how we can continue to fight against fees in Cambridge. Movements in France and Greece have shown the power students can wield when we unite.

Mark Walmsley and Frankie Langeland

Exeter

Socialist Students in Exeter did a debt-o-meter on the Campaign to Defeat Fees day of action, photo Jim THomsom

Socialist Students in Exeter did a debt-o-meter on the Campaign to Defeat Fees day of action, photo Jim THomsom

Five members of Socialist Students handed out hundreds of leaflets and fake degree scrolls, showing the crippling cost of education. We also did a 'debt-o-meter' where we invited students to record how much debt they will be in when they graduate. By the end of the day the 'debt-o-meter' was full, with some people's debt above £30,000.

It was clear that although the NUS leadership has written off a fighting campaign against fees, students are still very angry towards New Labour and their cronies hidden away within the university ivory towers.

Moreover, Exeter Socialist Students found that there is a significant layer of foreign students for whom there is no cap on fees who find themselves hugely indebted and are desperate to fight. It is especially among students like these, and those from working-class backgrounds, that the Campaign to Defeat Fees will find support, while the NUS bureaucrats at Exeter and throughout the country believe the fight is lost and turn their backs.

Jim Thomson

Manchester

Socialist Students in Manchester on the Campaign to Defeat Fees day of action, photo Abby Taylor

Socialist Students in Manchester on the Campaign to Defeat Fees day of action, photo Abby Taylor

On the CDF day of action, Manchester Socialist Students held a stall outside the University of Manchester student union, encouraging students to sign petitions and 'diplomas of debt' illustrating the levels of debt students will be in when they graduate from university. We found that some had not yet considered how much they would owe, and were shocked to face such a huge figure for the first time.

Several students showed an interest in joining the campaign, and we had an interesting response from passing secondary school students who hoped to go to university but didn't know about the fees involved. They were keen to pass out leaflets for us and sign our petitions.

The BBC was around for a lot of the time, filming us as part of a documentary they are making about young people in debt and the presence of a camera seemed to attract a lot of attention! Unfortunately the students union were conspicuously absent from the day's proceedings. Three Socialist Students took the diplomas of debt to the vice chancellor of the university but he was not available to accept them.

Abby Taylor

Northumbria University

Students and trade unionists marched through Newcaste on the Campaign to Defeat Fees day of action, photo Northumbria Socialist Students

Students and trade unionists marched through Newcaste on the Campaign to Defeat Fees day of action, photo Northumbria Socialist Students

The campaign to defeat and reverse the introduction of tuition fees starts with the students. At Northumbria, students took part in a lively demonstration and marched from the campus into Newcastle city centre. We gave out a loud and clear message, chanting: "education is a right not a privilege!"

As the Socialist Student demonstration passed through the main shopping precinct we attracted a lot of attention and support from passers-by. One of the students was an exchange student from Germany where she was involved in a similar campaign against attacks on education. She said she had come on the protest because "education should not be a commodity".

A group of trade unionists marched alongside us. Jon Bryan, from the Universities and College Union national executive committee said: "I came on the demo to show support for the campaign against tuition fees".

This is just the beginning of the campaign to defeat fees at Northumbria. We will be planning many more activities.

Becky Johnson

Bristol

The response from ordinary students to the CDF day of action in Bristol was very welcoming. We collected over 70 signatures and created a 'wall of debt' for people to write solidarity messages on. Here is some of the content: "give us our money back", "fees = inequality", and "privatisation of education keeps the rich richer and the poor poorer".

Luke Sinnick

Socialist Students national council

Activists from around the country gathered on 24 February for the Socialist Students national council.

The first session, introduced by national organiser Matt Dobson, focused on the political situation facing students and on building Socialist Students in the universities and colleges. Reviewing the successful Campaign to Defeat Fees (CDF) day of action, the meeting agreed to continue building the campaign especially at the further education colleges.

Paul Philips from Northumbria University raised the need to build links with workers and trade unions as they also face attacks from the government. He highlighted the support from staff at his university for the CDF day of action.

Ted Smith from Aston University reported on the interest in a Che Guevara meeting and there was resolve to continue organising campus meetings on political topics. Socialist Students across the country are planning meetings to mark the anniversary of France's month of revolution in May 1968.

There was also discussion on our work in NUS and mobilising opposition to the governance review at the forthcoming NUS national conference. Socialist Students will campaign for Arran Cottam's election to the part time 'block of 12' on the NUS national executive.

In the second session, Ben Robinson from International Socialist Resistance and Naomi Byron from Youth against Racism in Europe (YRE) spoke on how to stop the racist British National Party. Naomi gave examples from the YRE's successful campaign in Tower Hamlets in mobilising workers, young people and the community against the BNP's presence in the 1990s.

She explained how racist ideas are a product of capitalism. Ben raised the need for socialists to mobilise opposition to the far right by campaigning against racism and for decent jobs, housing and public services. He highlighted the role of the main parties in increasing divisions and racism with their anti-youth and anti-working class policies and the need to raise a socialist alternative.


UK youth parliament question time

The 'UK youth parliament' held a question time debate on 22 February in Reading entitled 'I'm independent - get me out of here'.

Questions focused on the issues facing young people finding somewhere to live, managing their money, getting a job and going to university.

The panel included the Conservative leader of the Isle of Wight council, a Green Party local election candidate, a Liberal Democrat councillor, representatives from Voluntary Services Overseas and Connexions Berkshire and Matt Dobson, Socialist Students national organiser.

Matt explained that Socialist Students was organising a fightback against the government's attacks on young people. Most of the audience of about 30 young people (despite the presence of a sprinkling of vocal young Tories!) was receptive to these points. This was proved by people taking leaflets and buying copies of The Socialist after the debate.


100 Nottingham University students demonstrated against restrictions on the right to protest

100 Nottingham University students demonstrated against restrictions on the right to protest

Nottingham students also protested this week against attacks on freedom of speech. Video

Donate to the Socialist Party

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 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.
  • 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 Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 27 February 2008:

Rich get richer - We pay the bills


Unison witch-hunt

Editorial: Stop witch-hunts in Unison - defend those attacked!

Trade union activist fights intimidation

Members protest at Unison witch-hunt


Socialist Students

Student feature: Fighting fees


Campaign for a New Workers Party

Building the Campaign for a New Workers' Party


Workplace news

Shelter staff vote to strike

Acas staff ballot for strike

Journalists battle for union rights

Workplace News in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Scotland - Vendetta against Tommy Sheridan condemned

Feature: Fidel Castro's resignation opens up new chapter

Pakistan elections: Crushing defeat for Musharraf, landslide for opposition parties

Miliband's extraordinary apology on rendition

Sleaze in Northern Ireland: Keeping it in the family


Socialist Party campaigns

Don't let our hospital pay the price for PFI

Explosive mood on gas profits

Fight Devon and Somerset fire cuts

Marching against single status pay cuts

Neither Labour nor Tories will defend public services

Post Office closures

Sheffield buses campaign: 'Saving our services'


 

Home   |   The Socialist 27 February 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Socialist:

triangleCarlisle Socialist Party: What now for Ukraine and Russia?

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

triangle1 March: Socialist Party new website launch

triangleLondon Socialist Party women's meeting

triangleRail workers strike in Sheffield

Students:

triangleWorkers and students unite and fight

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

Fees:

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

triangleLots of sign-ups at freshers

triangleSunak's student special

Socialist Students:

triangleGetting organised for 2 March walkout

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

Northumbria:

triangleLocked down, hard up - Fight back!

Manchester:

triangleJobcentre Coronavirus outbreak leads to reps meeting call

Exeter:

triangleExeter Trades Council backs NHS protests

Cambridge:

triangleOxbridge gets private Covid tests: pool resources to test us all!

Bristol:

triangleTUSC by-elections round-up

Debt:

triangleTory NHS funding won't fix staff shortage

Education:

triangleTories instruct teachers to wipe Britain's real history

Young people:

triangleChile's working class delivers a landslide vote against ultra-right Kast

NUS:

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

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...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


July 2022

June 2022

May 2022

April 2022

March 2022

February 2022

January 2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999