Days of Action in January

Since it is still not clear when and whether there will be a vote on EMA, we will drop the 11th as a day of action and put all our strengths into organizing the events on the 26th and the 29th of January.
 
Let’s make these two days to remember!
 
The 26th is a day of nationwide action – organize in, and walk out of, your school, college and university! On the 29th there are two large demonstrations held in Manchester and London. Flyers and leaflets can be downloaded from the top of our website.
In addition, on the 22nd of January, the NCAFC will have its conference at University College London (UCL). On this day students from across the country will come together to discuss what to do next and how we wish to organize ourselves as an organisation. Please make an effort to attend or to send representatives from your local campaign group and email us at [email protected] if you require help with transport or accommodation.

EAN Conference Report

Four hundred people, mainly students but some teaching and support staff, attended the EAN conference at Kings College University on 31 October.

The conference was a good mix of plenary rally style meetings and workshops focusing on particular issues, like the economy, unions, the future of education and so on. Plenty of international speakers gave a flavour of the struggles going on across Europe, from France to Greece, with a student from Austria explaining the background to the occupations earlier this year against the Bologna process. The conference also heard from an FBU member who gave an excellent speech on the struggle of the fire-fighters in London against mass sackings.

The session on “Defeating Cuts in your Institution” saw a debate occur between NCAFC supporters and EAN members about how central the fight for free education is in the current situation. Everyone agreed that unity against cuts was central, building for the demonstrations and the anti cuts protests and actions over the autumn was a crucial focus, but NCAFC members also put the case that we could not drop free education as the NUS would still be lobbying the government for a graduate tax.

What marred the event somewhat was the final session where the debates and voting for the final resolution happened. Not only was the ordering of speakers for and against the motions quite weighted to the EAN organisers, the kind of NCAFC members had put in several amendments calling for either unity between the two campaigns or at least a joint conference in the spring with other organisations, like Youth Fight for Jobs, to discuss joint campaigning work. After each NCAFC speaker an SWP/EAN member jumped up to argue against unity, saying that of course they were in favour of it, but it would not be appropriate, or unity did not mean unity with other groups, or that unity would prevent us from being more effective as a campaign. Sadly these vacuous arguments seemed to have some purchase with the conference attendees who voted down calls for unity in favour of simply having EAN as some kind of loose network.

Simon Hardy motivated an amendment calling for EAN to build for and participate in the Free Education block on the November 10th NUS demonstration. Despite several EAN supporters in previous NCAFC meetings and other anticuts forums arguing against going on the Free Education block (because it would divide students and we needed maximum unity around the cuts was the argument at the time) the conference passed the NCAFC amendment by an overwhelming majority, One student argued in favour of fighting for Free Education by saying that if that policy put of the posh students who supported the Tories then they were not welcome (well those were not quite the words he used, but you will get the idea!).

Conference also agreed to back the day of action called by National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts for November 24th, the day that the increase in tuition fees is debated in parliament.

Now we need maximum unity across the student movement to organise walkouts and protests on that day – building the movement from the 10 November demonstration.

Reports 23 May 2010

MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND STAFF SUSPENDED

From the Save Middlesex Philosophy blog:

Some Middlesex University Philosophy students, along with Philosophy professors Peter Osborne and Peter Hallward, were suspended from the University this afternoon. Hallward and Osborne were issued with letters announcing their suspension from the University with immediate effect, pending investigation into their involvement in the recent campus occupations. The suspension notice blocks them from entering University premises or contacting in any way University students and employees without the permission of Dean Ed Esche ([email protected]) or a member of the University’s Executive.

The Campaign,
Friday afternoon, 21 May 2010.

The response of Middlesex management to peaceful protest is typical, and it is likely that anti-cuts campaigns across the country will face more brutal retribution as the movement gains strength.

The blog has a leaflet and petition that can be printed and distributed at your university. It’s very important that the higher education community all over the country makes it clear that we will not stand by while university managements victimise students and staff who are standing up for education.

There is a rally in support of the suspended staff and students on Thursday 27 May at 4pm, at the Hendon Campus. Please write, call, and email the Board of Governors at Middlesex to let them know that this victimisation will not stand!

Follow the Save Middlesex Philosophy campaign on Twitter: @SaveMDXPhil

RIGHT TO WORK CONFERENCE

Members of the National Campaign attended the Right to Work emergency conference on Saturday in London, putting forth two proposals in the Fighting Education Cuts workshop: 1) to fully support any occupations and direct action taken by staff and students fighting cuts and 2) to pressure the NUS, which promised to arrange a demonstration against cuts, to actually do so. Full report to come later.

Follow the Education Activist Network on Twitter: @edactivistnet

SUSSEX SIX SLAPPED ON THE WRIST

The six students at Sussex University who were suspended last term and then reinstated after massive public outcry faced their disciplinary panels on 18 May. Faced with a ludicrous lack of evidence, the panel found the six students not guilty of riot and intimidation but guilty of disruption.

Their punishment is a fine, which the students plan to appeal, and letters to members of Sussex House staff acknowledging that they may have felt intimidated. The result of these panels is a clear indicator of just how weak the case against the six students was.

Faced with increasingly resistant students and staff, university managements are escalating their tactics, as Middlesex and Sussex have found. It is vitally important that anti-cuts movements across the country show solidarity with each other and demonstrate that we will not be bullied into submission by ham-handed authoritarian responses.

Follow Sussex Stop the Cuts on Twitter: @stopsussexcuts

And follow the National Campaign on Twitter: @imAFC

NUS conference 2010: NUS sinks further

This report does not necessarily reflect the views of NCAFC. If you would like us to publish alternative views on NUS conference, or just let us know what you think, drop us an email at [email protected]

By Daniel Randall, NUS Trustee Board
(originally published, and viewable in full, at www.workersliberty.org/story/2010/04/19/nusconference2010. Some criticism of the SWP has been removed from this version.)

Despite a background of impressive grassroots struggles against cuts and fees, NUS conference 2010 (Newcastle, April 13-15) saw the Blairite leadership of the national union entrench itself and push further down the road of bureaucratisation, depoliticisation and capitulation to the government. Even by the low standards of recent years, it was a bad conference for the left and those who want a campaigning student movement – at a time when students need one more than ever.
[Read more…]

NUS conference: issues for anti-cuts, free education and left activists

Reprinted from Education Not for Sale. This is posted for information and does not necessarily reflect the position/perspective of everyone involved with NCAFC.

By Daniel Randall, NUS Trustee Board, and Chris Marks, Hull University VP Education, NCAFC northern co-convenor and candidate for NUS President

This year’s NUS conference (13-15 April, in Newcastle, the first not to take place in Blackpool for decades) meets against the background of huge cuts to higher education – some of the first New Labour’s cuts to really bite. We have seen the development of anti-cuts groups on many campuses and big struggles at a series of institutions, notably Tower Hamlets, London Met, Leeds, Westminster and Sussex. The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts has linked up and organised student activists in a fight back across the country.

Unfortunately, very little of this will be reflected at the conference. With the new, anti-democratic structure pushed through last year and the recent dramatic cut in delegation sizes, the conference will be more dominated by friends of the leadership among conservative sabbaticals than ever.
[Read more…]

NCAFC @ NUS conference, 13-15 April, Newcastle

Come and help the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts at the National Union of Students conference 2010.

The NUS leadership have accepted that fees and cuts are inevitable – we haven’t, and we want to fight them.

We’ll be holding regular caucuses, doing a stall courtesy of the kind folks from Education Not for Sale, distributing literature, signing up new supporters and participating in the debates. We also plan to hold a fringe meeting, and NCAFC supporters will be standing in elections to the NUS national executive.

If you’re not a delegate but want to come and help out, we can find you somewhere to stay.

For more information check back here, email [email protected] or ring 07961 040 618

Facebook event here