Over 150 students, lecturers and campus staff, representing anti-cuts campaigns from more than a dozen campuses around the country attended the National Convention Against Fees and Cuts on Saturday 6th February in University College London. The Convention had been called to co- ordinate the fight against the massive cuts that the government and university managements have announced in education. At campuses all over the country, campaigns against cuts have been springing up over recent months, and demonstrations, meetings and strike ballots are taking place sporadically. The Convention voted to constitute an ongoing Campaign Against Cuts and Fees, to bring these different campaigns together and to organise structures and joint actions.
After reporting on the national situation in the opening plenary, delegates from local campaigns met with others from their region, to elect regional convenors and plan actions and future meetings on a regional and national level. Students and staff from the different campaigns took the opportunity to share reports on their local situation and discuss how best to mutually support each other. Regional co-ordination meetings will be taking place regularly in the North, the South, London and East Anglia; and regional and national email lists are being set up.
An open national steering committee will be meeting regularly – its first meeting is to take place on the 21st of February.
In workshops delegates discussed practical questions surrounding how best to build unity between staff and students, how to structure a campaign and run a successful occupation. The Convention also heard from students from the education strike movement in Austria, who had come to report to UK students and gather information to take back to their own campuses. The Convention resolved to send representatives to future European meetings and mobilisations, in particular the Bologna counter-summit in March. In discussions around attacks on student union democracy, students developed a charter of demands relating to SU democracy.
In the final session where the Campaign was officially launched, the Convention voted on a set of resolutions, which will be published shortly. It pledged support for the coming occupations and strikes against cuts, and support for students organising internationally, and for migrant workers organising on our campuses. The meeting voted to support the UCU’s national demonstration on the 20th of March.
The Convention also voted to call a national meeting to discuss running a united anti-cuts slate in the NUS, to strengthen the call for a real fight against cuts and fees in the student movement.
We call on all students and staff fighting against cuts to come and attend the regional meetings of the Convention, and co-ordinate their activities through this network.
For more information, or to send reports of campaigns or cuts from your campus to be put up on the blog, email us at againstfeesandcuts @ gmail.com or call 07775 763 750
The texts that were voted on at the Convention will be published shortly.