NCAFC National Conference will be on 13-14 December – save the date!


This autumn we may well see a major wave of action from students for free education, against fees cuts and debt. We need action now to save education – demos, walkouts, occupations and more.

But action can’t happen in isolation. It needs to be co-ordinated nationally and it needs to be democratically agreed. That is why NCAFC exists.

NCAFC’s National Conference is where we students from all over the country come together to discuss the progress of the struggles for free, just and democratic education, and to democratically plan action in the months to come. We also elect a National Committee to coordinate things for the coming year. There will be workshops, discussions, debates and votes as well as caucus meetings of our liberation campaigns.

The date has been set for the weekend of 13-14 December, so put it in your diaries! Attendance, as ever, will be free of charge. More details will be released as the venue is confirmed and other arrangements are made.

In order to attend NCAFC conference, you will need to be a member. Joining costs just £1, and can be done online or by post.

Trade unionists support the demonstration for free education and donate to NCAFC

ucl_ucu_strike_28jan2014_marchingThis Thursday, a general meeting of the UCU trade union branch at UCL voted with no opposition to back November’s national demo for free education and to donate £300 to NCAFC’s work. We are very grateful to our trade union comrades for their support.

The UCU and other trade unions in education have long backed the abolition of tuition fees, even during the period when our own union, the NUS, abandoned this stance. Our campaigns, our protests and direct actions have always been strengthened by the solidarity of campus workers. Likewise, NCAFC has built for student solidarity with workers’ struggles in our colleges and universities and beyond. This is not just because it’s the right thing to do but because we’re stronger together.

It’s particularly apt that UCL UCU should offer its support, as it was at UCL that the NCAFC was founded in 2010. As we enter this next stage of the fight for free, democratic and just education, we are grateful for the continued support of campus workers is a real boost. And since NCAFC’s work is carried out entirely by the volunteered efforts of its members, and funded only by members’ and supporters’ donations, financial contributions like this are warmly received and very much needed. Organising and campaigning require resources!

NCAFC members will be approaching more trade union branches over the coming weeks, and we hope that this is just the first of many supportive branches. If you are a trade unionist and would like to propose that your branch support us and the campaign for free education, please get in touch by emailing [email protected].

Noam Chomsky supports Aberystwyth occupiers

Occupiers at Aberyswyth University have received a message of solidarity from Noam Chomsky. Aberystwyth University went into occupation on February 22nd in protest against the ongoing marketisation of higher education in the UK and the lack of transparency and political engagement of senior management at Aberystwyth University specifically. The full message can be read below:

“The attack on public education in the US and UK — higher education in particular — may bring short-term benefits to small sectors of concentrated wealth and power, but it is a very serious blow to the population at large, and to prospects for a decent society in the future. The protestors [sic] in Aberystwyth — like those in Tahrir Square, Madison Wisconsin, and many other parts of the world — are in the forefront of global struggles for basic rights, freedom, and democracy, and merit full and committed support.”

Fb: Occupied Aberystwyth

Aber Students Against Cuts

Aberystwyth Re-occupied! Day 5

We have occupied Hugh Owen A12/A14 in opposition to the decimation of higher education in the United Kingdom. We act in solidarity with all those facing the barbaric and unnecessary cuts across society. We reject the idea that the cuts are necessary and recognise that they are motivated out of political choice rather than economic necessity. 

We recognise that the space we occupy is ours and as such we have made it a place where critical thinking and dialogue occurs, involving all in the university and the general public. As part of this we are committed not to disrupting the ongoing lectures happening. We occupy in solidarity with future generations, fellow occupiers and movements across the globe. 

We recognise a burning need for participatory democracy within the university, and many students feel marginalised by the management. We feel this occupation raises awareness of our campaign not only to students, but to senior management. We believe that in the spirit of academia the university management should engage in open and public dialogue and debate willingly. This will ensure that the students see the university management as acting in their interests and not following the government in market-driven policy.

We reject the idea that “we’re all in this together” when the ideologically driven cuts will affect the poorest and the vulnerable the hardest, while large corporations and the rich avoid taxes successfully. 

We reject the idea that knowledge is a commodity, and believe these austerity measures are neither progressive nor just.

Please send messages of support and solidarity to [email protected]

Befriend us on Facebook: Occupied Aberystwyth
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‘Teenage Riot’ Part I

VICE’s TV production arm have put together a new film about the student protests entitled Teenage Riot. In the film VBS followed the progress of the largest period of civil unrest in England since the 80s, available in 5 parts all this week, the full length film will be available next week at Check it out here

Stop the tuition fee increase! Join the march on parliament 9 December

This Thursday, 9 December, tens of thousands will come to London to march on parliament as the tuition fee increase is being discussed and voted on. School, college and university students will be joined by supporters from across the country to take a simple message to the government: “no to fees, save EMA”. This protest will be massive – make sure you come along and join NCAFC and other student campaign groups in our opposition to the cuts agenda of the Condem cabinet.

The protest will be starting from University London Union (ULU) on Malet street, gathering at 12 and setting off shortly afterwards. Bring whistles, coats, food and gloves!

If you cannot come to London then organise protests in your local area. Go to town halls, target tax dodging shops on the high street (Vodaphone, Topshop) and shut them down for the day.

Join the facebook group http://www.facebook.comevent.php?eid=136567579732280

Humanities and Social Sciences Matter

Following the mass protests and occupations of the last few weeks, a group of academics – some of them very senior – have come out against the government’s plans for HE, particularly its plans for Social Sciences and Humanities.

While not in the radical direct action tradition of the NCAFC, the Humantities Matter campaign is an important indicator of the breadth of the emerging  discontent. The letter, published today in the Telegraph of all places, calls for a Public Enquiry into the future of universities – and attacks the government for attempting to “rush through changes, the far-reaching consequences of which are potentially so damaging.”

If the waves of direct action manage to force the government to back down, they may well do so through mechanisms like this.

30 November – Second Day of Action!

After today’s success it is important to keep it moving!

We shall not stop until we break the government’s cuts programme or we break the government.

What will you do?

30 November – Join Us!

Press Release 24 November 2010 Walkout and Day of Action (Latest Updates)

STOP PRESS Last Minute Press Release 24 November 2010 Walkout and Day of Action

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.