A proposal to the National Assembly for Education
The Assembly comes out of the almost unprecedented wave of student protests at the end of 2010, and the need to coordinate between the 50 occupations in universities and colleges that acted as organising hubs for this movement.
Now that MPs have voted to lift the cap on tuition fees, university managements will be making decisions on how much to charge and on associated cuts and restructuring. In this context the occupations will be more important than ever, and we need to discuss how to relaunch them, to spread them to involve more people on more campuses, and to make them as effective as possible.
We will need to focus on local targets around local demands – for example, targeting university open days in opposition to any fees hike on future students – but our success will still depend on our ability to coordinate our demands and our actions at a national level to really challenge the government in Westminster.
Unlike Aaron Porter, we do not accept the vote in Parliament and move on: instead, we demand that December’s tuition fees law be repealed, just like the poll tax and the French CPE. It was the 3 coordinated Day X actions that marked our greatest successes last term, and we should consider building a fourth in February with walkouts, protests, occupations, teach-ins, teach-outs and an evening demonstration in London. I suggest that the Assembly discusses potential dates and targets for such a Day X4.
Another important national focus for our movement will be the industrial action currently being balloted for inside the UCU. Education workers, including university and college lecturers, have played a very important role in defending our occupations and supporting our protests, now it is our turn to defend them. Student action in support of lecturers’ strikes was able to humble neoliberal managers at King’s College London and Sussex University in spring 2010 – and now we have a chance to deliver this kind of united action on a national scale.
If the strikes go ahead, it is expected to be on the week beginning 21st March. The Education Activist Network and the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts have called for a complete shutdown of the education system, either on the day of the strike or on Budget Day, March 23rd. This could be our most important day of action yet, and just days before the national demonstration on the 26th of March called by the TUC – for which we should mobilise as many students and education workers as possible to join up with everyone else who is determined to stop the Con Dems’ social and economic vandalism.
Our movement has delivered great things in 2010, but we have yet to win. This proposal can form the basis of a constructive discussion on Sunday about the strategy that can take our movement forward to victory. The focus will remain on the workshops, with voting on proposals (both those submitted beforehand and those from the discussion) taking place in the final session.
Proposals submitted so far (updated):
Proposals can be sumitted to: