Students out in force for free education on TUC demo: one month to go until 19 November

Students perform a banner drop on the TUC national demo

Students perform a banner drop on the TUC national demo

Students mobilised in significant numbers for the Trade Union Congress (TUC) national demo on Saturday 18th October. A large number of them marched with our free education bloc, which was one of the loudest and most visible blocs on the demo.

Between 80,000 and 100,000 people marched on Saturday in the biggest demonstration for two years, under the banner of ‘Britain Needs a Pay Rise’.

Protesters also occupied Parliament Square, where a number of NCAFC activists joined in a stand-off with the police to hold the space. For more on that, click here.

There is now just under a month until we march in central London for free education on November 19th. NOW IS THE TIME TO ORGANISE!

  • For the facebook event click here.
  • For all the materials you need to mobilise, click here.

FREE EDUCATION BLOC: march with us at the TUC demo

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FACEBOOK EVENT HERE 

Since the introduction of fees students are having to work harder to fund their studies, from long nights in a bar before early morning lectures, to Saturdays and afternoons in a shop to make up for the destruction of EMA, the freezing of maintenance loans and sky-rocketing masters’ fees.

This does not stop in postgraduate education; postgrad teaching assistants are exploited on precarious, low wage contracts and stipends for research have been cut on real terms just as salaries have. Women and migrant workers bear the brunt of this, with a sexist gender pay gap and racist discrimination rife in the workplace.

There is vast wealth in our society, but we who produce it see very little of it.
We demand:
• Taxation of the rich to fund education and decent jobs for all.
•An equal living wage for every worker, regardless of age, including apprentices and interns.
We must:
•Join trade unions and agitate for uncompromising industrial action for better pay and conditions.
•Organise in our workplaces, communities and campuses.
Use protest and direct action to win free and funded education which is accessible to all.

Meet under the red Free Education Now banner, Blackfriars, 10.30.

Statement by Roza Salih, writer of the motion on ‘Iraqi/Kurdish solidarity’

This is a statement by Roza Salih, NUS Scotland International Students Officer, and the writer of the motion ‘Iraqi/Kurdish solidarity’ that was proposed to NUS national committee, and which passed at NUS Scotland executive. The motion passed by NUS Scotland is below. You can view the NUS NEC motion here.

The recent attacks on the NUS from right-wing extremists is disgusting and must be opposed, I will be happy to work Malia and the NUS Executive Council to promote the issue of ISIS brutally attacking Kurdistan – and I am happy that this will be coming to the next NUS NEC with broad support. But I feel the need to address some comments made about my motion and its supposed islamaphobia.

As Vice President of Diversity and Advocacy at the University of Strathclyde Students’ Association and NUS Scotland’s International Students Officer, I proposed a motion to stand in solidarity with the Kurdish people. Whilst I am happy to write a new motion, I am disappointed that many people have said that the motion was written by ‘some student who made a mistake’, and it has been suggested that we’ll be working with them to make the motion ‘less islamaphobic’.

As my job titles and record show, I work on liberation and it is my priority, nobody has shown me what specifically in the motion is islamaphobic, and I feel that it is unfair to tag that to my name. I come from a Kurdish Muslim background and the motion that was submitted was for NUS to speak out in defence of my people – as they are brutally murdered by agents of the “Islamic State”. What the Islamic State is doing is wrong, and I look forward to our national student movement coming together through the politics to support these people fighting for survival.

The Scottish Executive Committee Notes:
1.The on-going humanitarian crisis and sectarian polarisation in Iraq – which has resulted to thousands of Yazidi Kurds been massacred.

The Scottish Executive Committee Believes:
1.That Iraqi citizens have suffered for years under the sectarian dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and in the US/UK invasion and occupation of Iraq.
2.That rape and other forms of sexual violence are being used as weapons against Women in IS occupied areas against minorities to ethnically cleanse.

The Scottish Executive Committee Resolves:
1.To work with the International Students’ Campaign to support Iraqi students in the UK.
2.To campaign in solidarity with the Iraqi people and in particular support the hard-pressed student, workers’ and women’s organisations against all the competing nationalist and religious-right forces.
3.To support Iraqis trying to bridge the Sunni-Shia divide to fight for equality and democracy, including defence of the rights of the Christian and Yazidi-Kurd minorities.
4.To condemn the “IS” and support the Kurdish forces fighting against it, while expressing no confidence or trust in the US military intervention.
5.Encourage students to boycott anyone found to be funding ISIS or supplying them with goods, training, travel or soldiers.
6.To meet with Iraqi and Kurdish organisations, in Iraq and here in the United Kingdom, in order to build solidarity and to support refugees.
7.To issue a statement on this basis.

Defend Malia Bouattia – a statement from the NCAFC national committee

This is a statement from the NCAFC national committee.

A recent motion entitled “Iraqi/Kurdish solidarity” (which can be viewed in full here) was debated and consequently voted down at the second NUS NEC meeting of this academic year. The motion was written jointly by Roza Salih, an Iraqi Kurdish independent (who sits on the NUS Scottish Executive Committee, where a very similar motion has since been passed), and activists in the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty. Because NUS NEC motions can only be put formally by members of the NEC, it was proposed by NUS NEC and AWL member Daniel Cooper, and seconded by International Students’ Officer Shreya Paudel and Young Greens co-Chair Clifford Fleming.

Shreya Paudel spoke in favour of the motion, and the speech in opposition was given by the NUS Black Students’ Officer, Malia Bouattia. The motion was voted down.

Since then, the right-wing media, as well as and right-wing and fascist individuals, have launched viciously abusive, anti-Muslim, racist and sexist attacks on Malia Bouattia. These attacks are vile and we condemn them unconditionally. Leftists and student activists should defend Bouattia and other targets of racism against bigotry, whether or not they have political disagreements. Some attacks also grossly misrepresented Bouattia’s politics to claim that she supports ISIS, and this is a disgrace. The attacks are reflective of much wider racism in our society against Black and Muslim people, and we stand shoulder to shoulder in the fight against racism and fascism.

NCAFC’s representatives have not and will not respond to media requests for comments on the matter other than to restate this condemnation. We ask our members to do the same.

The NCAFC has not taken a formal position on the text of the motion. We published a report of the NEC meeting by Daniel Cooper, which included political criticism of the opposition to this motion, which was clearly labelled as an individual perspective. We routinely host reports of meetings and events on our website, and believe it is right and important to do so. Equally, we believe it is vital to offer a right of response, which Bouattia exercised.

This report and its author have been criticised as intentionally inviting the abusive and bigoted attacks on Bouattia. We did not and do not believe that Cooper’s article intended to invite such abuse – we would not have published it otherwise. There remain a variety of views among members of NCAFC and its national committee about the motion and report, and we welcome debate on the issues they contain.

We will continue to oppose the press outlets and individuals responsible for racist attacks. The abusive, islamophobic and racist attacks from the right-wing press and individuals on social media sites toward the NUS Black Students’ Officer cannot be tolerated. When people in our movement come under these kind of attacks, we should close ranks.

THIS IS THE TIME TO RESIST – COME TO THE TUC DEMO THIS SATURDAY

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On Monday NHS workers went on strike. On Tuesday FE lecturers demonstrated for their right to strike. Today civil service workers are on the picket lines and right now people are protesting for social housing in Kensington and blocking Boris Johnson from entering the world’s largest housing fair.

Meanwhile students are mobilising for Free Education on their campuses. Successful motions have been passed in places from Royal Holloway to Stirling University; coaches are being booked from Birmingham to Warwick to Scotland; debates and events held in Falmouth, Plymouth, Cambridge; and supportive motions being passed in trade unions such as the UCU and the RMT.

The fight for Free Education is not an isolated one. It is part of the bigger fight against austerity, the fight for fair pay, the NHS and social housing. That is why this Saturday we will be marching together with the trade unions in London and ask you all to join us.

We will be meeting at 10:30 on Blackfriars Embankment. Look out for our massive “Free Education NOW” banner. (Facebook event here)

However, we obviously all know that this demonstration is only one step in the long struggle against austerity and for Free Education. That is why we will be meeting up after the demo from 7pm at London College 1964935_10152843698493408_9050376829880739828_nof Communication to have some fun and get to know each other better. (Facebook event here)

Finally, on Sunday there will be a meeting of the NCAFC NC to organise the next month in the run-up to the 19th of November, talk about the organisation and plan our national conference. This meeting is OPEN to all NCAFC members ! The meeting is happening at UCL (near Euston station) from 12 pm. (Facebook event here)

Have you have been convinced that London is the place to be this weekend, but don’t have anywhere to stay? Then please get in touch with us ([email protected]) and we will find some lovely students who will hook you up with a spare mattress or sofa in their living room.

Students turn out to support health workers’ picket

nhsstrikeStudents from University College London and other London campuses turned out to support members of Unison at University College Hospital on strike on Monday 13 October over pay. An activist with UCL Defend Education told NCAFC:

“Impressive numbers of nurses and supporters alike withstood horrible weather conditions to send a clear message to Cameron, Hunt and co ­ cuts to the NHS have to stop. The anger and betrayal the nurses (and midwives, on their first strike in 133 years) were feeling was clear to see in the passion and commitment with which they picketed, chanted and even marched around the hospital. With further industrial action to come in the week ahead, it’s clear hospital workers won’t give up the fight for the fair wage they so obviously deserve.”

ONE MONTH TO GO: London-wide organising meeting for the national demo

1384160_784198524973396_6805873319543349541_n***IF YOU’RE IN LONDON MAKE SURE YOUR CAMPUS IS REPRESENTED***

7-8pm Thursday 16 October
Ben Pimlott Building Lecture Theatre (the squiggly arts building!), Goldsmiths University
Click here for Facebook event

It is now just ONE MONTH until we march for free education. Mobilisation is going well across the country, but a large proportion of the turnout will have to come from London. That means that Londoners need to take responsibility and get the turnout out – and to do that, we need to co-ordinate.

On the agenda will be:
– linking up FE and HE in London: working with school students
– what we’re doing about the TUC demo
– what we’re doing for strikes
– sharing resources
– co-ordinating direct action

A response to a report of NUS NEC: ‘solidarity with the Kurds’

This is a response to NCAFC member Daniel Cooper’s report of NUS NEC.

The NUS Black Students’ Campaign stands in support of Black communities across the globe and uncompromisingly against imperialism and Western interference which history shows all too often leads to the suffering of Black people.

We stand in complete solidarity with the Kurdish people against the recent attacks by ISIS and join many others in condemnation of their brutal actions. In doing so we recognise that condemnation of ISIS appears to have become a justification for war and blatant Islamaphobia. This rhetoric exacerbates the issue at hand and in essence is a further attack on those we aim to defend.

The NUS Black Students’ Campaign will be working with Kurdish students and the International Students Campaign to raise this issue within the NUS. A motion will be taken to the next NUS National Executive which truly reflects the situation. This motion will pose a condemnation of the politics and methods of ISIS as well as unequivocal support for the Kurdish people. It will in no way pander to Western imperialistic intervention or the demonisation of Muslim peoples.

Malia Bouattia, NUS Black Students’ Officer

Zekarias Negussue, NUS Black Students’ Campaign NEC Representative

Aaron Kiely, NUS NEC

Zarah Sultana, NUS NEC

Abdi Suleiman, NUS NEC

 

UK student solidarity for Hong Kong democracy protests

10355001_731960050212323_5263113539912234199_n10534724_877479252262967_644358709544393374_nOn Friday 10 October, in collaboration with NUS London and the Hong Kong Overseas Alliance, NCAFC called a demonstration in solidarity with the democracy movements in Hong Kong. Around 150 students attended, in spite of police opposition to our presence. Demonstrator Amy G from UCL wrote the following report:

Day 19 of the protest in Hong Kong and the 25th anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square seems a fitting time for protesters to descend on the Chinese Embassy, to demonstrate against the appalling lack of democracy Hong Kong is currently suffering under. The police presence was farcically large, with far more present than necessary to control the peaceful but passionate protest, that saw hundreds of people crying out for workers rights and civic nominations in solidarity with their Hong Kong peers. There were rousing and empowering speeches from Chinese students as well as those from the UK, denouncing the shameful behaviour of the Chinese government and encouraging the UK and the rest of the world to stand by Hong Kong. One thing was clear, workers and students worldwide will always support each other in the fight for democracy.10633691_10152319055531607_2764832572780139990_o

FE and school mobilising day: London

5204402762_e489693def_z[1]For the facebook event click here. Time: 11am to 5pm, 1st November 2014.  Place: London College of Communication (Elephant & Castle)

This meeting is co-hosted by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and Unite the Youth

On Saturday 1st of November, school, college and university students from all over London will be coming together to plan the campaign for free education.

We will talk about the issues that affect us, and plan for the national demonstration and walkout on November 19th. There will be workshops, how-tos and discussions about current issues. Snacks will be provided.

What is free education?
We are being attacked by the government. We have lost our EMA, we’ve seen tuition fees triple and we’ve had our services cut. We face a future of unemployment, and we’re demonised by politicians and the media. Our colleges and universities are becoming profit-driven corporations.

We are told there is no money to pay for a free, public education system – or for decent jobs, or rebuilding the NHS. But the money is there, in the soaring profits of businesses and the wealth of the rich. It should be taxed and used for the benefit of everyone. Free education for all!

 Whey we are marching
Politicians won’t give us a future if we just ask nicely for it. We have to mobilise and organise collectively: we have to take to the streets and take action. That is the only way that ordinary people have ever won anything.

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NCAFC is already leafleting at schools and colleges in London, and we have produced a special leaflet. To get some leaflets for colleges and schools in your area, or if you have any questions, email [email protected] or call 07749263622