Winter 2011 Battle Plan for education

Position of strength

  1. The great youth and student rebellion in the last weeks of 2010 has put us in a strong position to continue the fight against fees and cuts in 2011, and we intend to win!
  2. The dynamism, size and radicalism of our protests – bringing school, college and university students together – took the government by surprise and hit them hard. They may have won the vote, but with the slimmest of majorities and at huge cost. The hypocrisy of those MPs who lied to get elected, then turned their back on students was exposed for millions to see.
  3. It spelled an end to the lie that young people are apathetic and uninterested in politics. It showed that we are no soft target for cuts and we will fight injustice all the way!
  4. We need to work hard to mobilise the many thousands of students who have become active for the National Day of Action on 26 January and the demonstrations in London and Manchester on 29 January.

Student and workers unite and fight!

  1. Some cities and towns across the UK saw large regular assemblies of school, college, university students and workers get together to decide how to proceed with campaigns.
  2. Even though parliament has voted through fee rises and funding cuts, these have yet to be implemented. Education assemblies should continue to fight the cuts and fee rises under the slogan: “Not a single penny on the fees, not a single cut to our jobs or courses”. Workers and students should agree to take direct action – strikes, occupations, lobbies, etc. – to block the cuts at university, college and school level.
  3. The movement certainly had an impact not just on the government but on the trade unions too. The Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ section received articles from the leaders of both the Unite and PCS unions praising the students and promising coordinated strike action in the months ahead. We will issue a call for union support for both 26 and 29 January, emphasising solidarity against the cuts.
  4. The GMB and London region UCU have said they will support a protest on 29 January. National education campaigns should meet with them to discuss how they can support us.
  5. The trade unions might be slow to move sometimes but with many teachers, lecturers and other workers joining student protests, marking students present on protest days and issuing statements of support it is clear we can work together. Young people and workers together have the power to shutdown the whole country and defeat these government’s cuts.
  6. This means asking them to support us – take part in our protests, invite them to our meetings, ask them to help fund our campaigns. They should use their websites, texts and emails to help build our protests. At times we may need to challenge union officials quite forcefully.
  7. It means us supporting them –  and fighting ALL the cuts, whether they are to education, healthcare, housing, welfare, services, pensions, and jobs. If we unite we are strong, if we value education at the expense of other services we divide our movement and become weaker. In the period ahead, workers will be fighting too – and we should make sure we have a powerful presence on their picket lines.
  8. We call on the UCU to fully support anti-cuts groups and the wider student movement beyond the NUS, and to fulfil their role in helping mobilise the education sector workers in their struggle.
  9. Now we will launch a massive effort to invite community groups, national trade unions, pensioner groups, trade unions branches and local anti-cuts campaigns to support and join in with every protest possible and support their demands.
  10. Recent statements by union leaders including Len McCluskey and Mark Serwotka saying the unions must fight are great – and will work with union activists seeking to hold them to this. A great start would be for teachers, lecturers and students to launch a national education strike.

Fight nationally and locally

  1. Local councils are suffering a massive cut in funding from the Con-Dems and that in turn will lead to hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs and all of us losing services we rely on.
  2. Most towns and cities now have local anti-cuts groups, coalitions of trade unionists and community groups. Youth and student should get involved in these groups and help to build them, by sending delegates from every school, college and university. The education assemblies should affiliate to their local anticuts groups and work as autonomous groups linked to the wider movement.
  3. We should demand that councils to do not implement the cuts and use their resources to engage every section of the community in a political fight against cuts. This government is illegitimate and has no right to smash up everything we rely on whilst the rich continue to get off scot-free.

Save EMA

  1. EMA access has already closed to new applicants and students who currently receive it will only receive it until the beginning of summer holidays. Then we will no longer get it – even if we still need to spend another year at college or sixth form. Parliament look set to have decided they won’t even vote on it.
  2. ALL OUT TO SAVE EMA!
  3. Many cities have already built up strong links between students and workers, now we need to use them. We will ask every councillor in every city to condemn the abolition of EMA. We will demand FE college managers and headteachers release statements condemning the abolition of EMA and requesting reinstatement, and put this up clearly on the college websites. This should be backed up with protest if they refuse to comply. We will make the colleges and schools ungovernable.
  4. We will invite councillors to speak at student and youth meetings, and ask them in front of the audiences to support our campaign and join the fight against fees and cuts to EMA.
  5. We will write articles to the local and national newspapers explaining how it will effect us and call for radical, direct action – including walkouts and occupations for EMA reinstatement

Make Labour fight

  1. The leadership of the Labour Party supports a graduate tax – and they have not promised to reverse the raising of the cap on fees. We should demand that Labour makes this promise, that they change their policy to free education and that they support student protests. We should work with the left in the Labour Party and with the affiliated trade unions to push forward these demands.
  2. Parliament have voted on raising the cap on tuition fees – but that doesn’t mean universities need to implement them.
    We will demand Vice Chancellors and university managers pledge not to raise the cap, and will use every form of action – protests, occupations, etc to make sure they do not.

Continue to fight fees and cuts

  1. In addition to the demand that university managements do not raise fees, university and college anti-cuts groups should develop a program of local demands on which they can fight (against particular cuts, in defence of courses and departments, for the cutting of senior management salaries etc etc). This is necessary in itself and also in order to give the movement a self-sustaining character.

TUC demonstration

  1. The TUC, which represents the whole trade union movement is holding what can be a massive demonstration on 26 March. We should start building for this now – and use every action we call to help get people along to this protest

Student unions

  1. Anti-cuts activists should seek to take over their student unions by running in SU elections. However, it is not just a question of replacing one set of officers with another. Most student unions are heavily bureaucratised. Anti-cuts candidates should seek to advocate replacing structures which act as a barrier to student involvement with the kind of democratic structures that have grown up in the anti-cuts movement, such as student general assemblies.
  2. We should help FE student activists to investigate transforming their student unions, or where necessary set them up.
  3. We advocate that school students set up regularly functioning, democratic committees or unions which can link up with university and town anti-cuts committees. They should apply for affiliation to NUS; we will fight in NUS for the ban on school students becoming part of the national union to be abolished.

Calendar

  1. 22 January – National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts conference
  2. 26 January – Day of action and walkouts against cuts to EMA (Day X4)
  3. 29 January – Regional protests in London and Manchester against EMA cuts
  4. 30 January –National Education Assembly, London
  5. 14-19 February – Coalition of Resistance week of action
  6. 26 March – National TUC demonstration

Comments

  1. John Adams says:

    Why have you stopped promoting this-it’s still up on your website and several others

    Save EMA! Parliament votes on scrapping EMAs, 11 January!

    On 11 January, Parliament will vote on scrapping Education Maintenance Allowances. So far this date has not been widely publicised; it looks like the Government is hoping to get the vote through without too many people noticing!

    There have been a lot of protests recently, and there will be more in the New Year, but this one is incredibly important.
    f you can get to Central London, we’ll be rallying there. Why not organise a Walk Out from your school or college to come and join us? And university students and trade unionists should come too!

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