MAY DAY at the University of London

1509247_1388010898145585_7572563998002243351_nNCAFC is supporting the mobilisation at the University of London for May Day this year. Join the facebook event, and spread the word.

We are collecting signatures for a public letter in support of the demonstration (below). Send yours to [email protected]

On 1st May, international workers’ day will remind the world of the continuing struggle for justice in the face of systemic attacks on workers, our communities and the services we rely on.

The University of London has been at the heart of this struggle: bad pay and worse conditions are imposed by unaccountable managers through the threat of unemployment and police violence. Over the past year, its outsourced workers have been fighting one of the most courageous and inspiring industrial disputes in the country, demanding sick pay, holiday pay and pensions; and management is attempting to repress dissent – by shutting down its own student union whilst repeatedly colluding with the Metropolitan Police to attack and arrest demonstrators.

Students are workers. We are forced to work to pay the bills in an increasingly hostile education system in which we pay to learn to work. Ours is a future of exploitation and precarity: permanent austerity means no jobs, no pensions and no welfare state.  We are not fighting for the rights of workers as an act of charity, but because we see solidarity as the only way of preserving our basic freedoms and fighting for a better world.

That is why we are supporting the call for a demonstration on May Day at the University of London. We urge the University of London to grant full sick pay, holiday pay and pensions to all outsourced workers in parity with in-house employees, with no redundancies at the Garden Halls; to ensure that its student union remains fully funded and under democratic student control; and to issue a public statement prohibiting the Police and UKBA from all Campus spaces without the express permission of elected student representatives.

An anonymous tumblr has called for a mass demonstration with the following callout:

The University has seen mass pickets by cleaners, caterers, students and other insubordinates, arm in arm before the gates of a paint splattered university HQ. Watching through clenched teeth and the multiple lenses of their surveillance equipment, management have seen this too, and have sought to restore exploitation in the only way they know how — with lies, evasion – and straightforward violence.

This fight was always about more than the university. Televisions blare out the news of our continued impoverishment: tuition fees up, wages down, No benefits for you! No pay for you! Repayment dates and overdue rent. “Seek assistance” the barriers scream. Another fiver today. Tomorrow, another. 

But in school classrooms and underground stations, amongst the underpaid of the opera houses and cinemas, something stirs: Disaffection is finding its feet. The people that capital likes to imagine are solidly under its thumb are taking the fight back to the bosses.

Join us and our soundsystem at the university HQ on the evening of May 1st for a CARNIVAL to celebrate these victories and show the bosses and cops that despite their continued intimidation, we will keep on fighting.

This is a Carnival for everyone: the precarious, the low paid, the zero-houred, the part-time, the temporary, the interned, the unemployed, the workfared, the sacked, the redundant, the indebted. Bring yourselves and your sound systems to ULU - Malet St - for 6PM, the parade will depart at 7.30.

Workers, students, unemployed of the world – ENJOY!

Sick pay, holidays, pensions now! End union busting! No more vice-chancellors! Cops off campus!


Why I don’t agree with No More Page 3

By Beth Redmond

The No More Page 3 campaign only explores the ideas of objectification and misogyny enough for the organisers to convince themselves they are actually changing something. There are elements of it I can get on board with, and it has been beneficial to the wider feminist community, especially in student unions, as a catalyst for discussion and discovering what we actually mean when using terms like objectification.
But the amount of liberal this campaign contains is reflected in how many times boobs are mentioned in its main petition: A LOT. Boobs are not the issue here, we shouldn’t be afraid of young children seeing “bare breasts” either in a newspaper or in everyday life. Young girls shouldn’t grow up feeling embarrassed about their own bodies because the only other pair of tits they’ve been allowed to see was in a biology textbook, and parents shouldn’t feel awkward about breast-feeding in public.
Let’s also remember that the page 3 models themselves are not responsible for their own objectification. The campaign is backed by the Evangelical Alliance, who, on their website, do exactly what No More Page 3 claim to protest against and talk about the “girls” as though they are objects, an irrelevance or something society should be ashamed of. The moralistic view of women involved in sex-work and glamour modelling being “smutty” is dangerous, and skews the politics of the campaign as a whole.
And the worst part is, Page 3 is not even the most sexist part of The Sun; the large majority of it is misogynistic bile. It includes paparazzi stealing photographs of non-consenting women and shaming their bodies for being too fat, too skinny, looking too old or having too much surgery to make themselves look young. If we were to get rid of page 3 on the grounds that is it sexist then we should also get rid of all those women’s magazines which mock us for… literally everything. The models on Page 3 are consenting and not being shamed for the way they look.
Getting rid of Page 3 will not eradicate the objectification of women, I’m not entirely sure it will do anything at all. And by identifying Page 3 as the only thing wrong with The Sun, the campaign is seemingly giving a thumbs up to the rest of the paper which is by and large shit.

This article is taken from one of the daily bulletins that was handed out at NUS national conference in Liverpool 8-10 April 2014.

INVITATION to a National Meeting on Free Education, 15 June

This week NUS Conference voted against the NUS leadership to support free education. This is a significant victory – but on its own it means nothing. We need to use this opportunity to organise an offensive in the struggle for free education. [Read more...]

Holding Poppy Wilkinson to account

Since January 29th we have been striving to make public Poppy Wilkinson’s record. This includes her decisions to (a) publicly condemn students demonstrating at the University of Birmingham, while 13 students were being arrested and in spite of heavy-handed violence of the part of security, police and university management, and (b) to vote against/abstain from decisions democratically agreed upon by students, and be complicit in the most undemocratic intervention by the Trustee Board in the Guild of Students’ structures seen in years. The latter has resulted in an abhorrent attack on Liberation groups at the University of Birmingham, and risks the decimation of Liberation representation.

Poppy Wilkinson, President of University of Birmingham Guild of Students and Labour Students candidate for NUS NEC, is re-elected President at our students’ union and is anticipated to follow the well-trodden path onto NUS leadership over the coming years. It is for this reason that we want to publicly condemn her actions this year. Her decisions ignited controversy more broadly, including, for instance, over one hundred elected officers from students’ unions around the country condemn her.

Over the course of the past few months we have been accused by Wilkinson and Labour Students of bullying.

We view this use of welfare and accessibility by Labour Students to dissuade us from campaigning against her as underhand and appropriative. It implicitly erases the welfare issues faced by the suspended students. As a result of our suspensions, and the vast portion of our time spent fighting for meagre political support from our students’ union (only 5 weeks after our suspensions began did the Guild even release a statement in opposition), two of us are re-taking their final years, and all of us are experiencing stress, depression or anxiety.

The decisions by the Trustee Board to remove assurances of the continued existence of Liberation Officers, and their refusal to put full-time Liberation Officers to referendum – which Poppy voted to remove as a question – will have profound effect on countless students at the University of Birmingham. It will remove any meaningful attempt to improve the lot of students defining into Liberation groups, who, as we know, are disproportionately likely to suffer depression, to self-harm, to attempt suicide, to experience abuse, bullying and violence, to be sexually assaulted and raped. The welfare of these students has not been taken into account one jot by the Guild of Students under Poppy Wilkinson’s leadership.

So while none of this denigrates Poppy’s experiences, it certainly does justify the interrogation of her record and the public condemnation of her decisions. It is not bullying to hold figures in public office to account.


Sign this statement: Build the student fightback

ncafcdemoThis statement is being launched to begin building momentum for a serious campaign of student struggle over the next year.

If you want to add your, your SU’s or your organisation’s name, please email [email protected]
[Read more...]

Emergency motions to NUS conference

NCAFC supporters have submitted emergency motions to NUS conference 2014 on two issues – the threat of higher fees and Ukraine. [Read more...]

Birmingham SU Trustee Board attacks democracy

Hard on the heels of KCLSU Trustee Board refusing to carry out a general meetings’s decision on Palestine, at Birmingham Uni the Guild of Students Trustee Board has acted even more outrageously in attacking student democracy. The following is a statement from Defend Education activists at Birmingham Guild of Students. [Read more...]

NCAFC events at NUS conference 2014

freeeducationfiestaThe National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts will be holding/taking part in a number of events at NUS conference 2014, which takes place in Liverpool Tuesday 8-Thursday 10 April. [Read more...]

#FightForYashika – save London student Yashika Bageerathi from deportation

Bj6KMjMIQAAyry5UPDATE: Yashika is being taken to Heathrow Terminal 4 tonight for a flight  at 9pm. There are a number of things that you can do, including:

  • Going to Heathrow from 7pm to protest
  • Pressuring @airmauritius not to fly
  • Bombarding Air Mauritius on 0207 434 4375

Yashika Bageerathi is a student from North London who is facing deportation by the British government. Find out more about her case here.

Sign the petition here.

NCAFC opposes all deportations and restrictions on where people can live and study.

Statement on NCAFC’s endorsement of Megan Dunn for NUS Vice President Higher Education

Having previously voted to endorse Megan (current President at the University of Aberdeen) for NUS Vice President (Higher Education), NCAFC now has serious concerns about Megan’s nomination, and therefore apparent support of, NUS Block of 15 candidate Poppy Wilkinson, President of University of Birmingham Guild of Students. [Read more...]