Israeli raid on Gaza flotilla and NCAFC National Meeting

It has come to the attention of NCAFC that, following the recent attack by Israel on an aid flotilla bound for Gaza, a demonstration is planned on Saturday 5 June at 1.30pm in front of Downing Street– when NCAFC was due to have its national meeting. Given that campaign members from across the UK have already booked transportation, we have made the decision to go ahead with our national meeting as planned, but we stand in solidarity with those attending the protest.

Additionally, the NCAFC has prepared a statement about the attack:

The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts condemns Israel’s recent attack on the flotilla boats taking crucial aid to the Gaza strip. We condemn Israel’s three-year blockade of Gaza and their military assaults on the Palestinian people.

During the 2009 attacks on Gaza, students in Britain launched a wave of occupations to show their solidarity with the Palestinian people, the first occupations in many years. Many of the students who took part in the occupations and mass demonstrations have remained active in the fight
against fees and cuts today.

We also offer our support and solidarity to the many students involved in the aid flotilla that have been attacked, and in particular send our solidarity to the SOAS students currently detained in Israel.

Our internationalism means that the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts stands in solidarity with the students and workers living under oppression in the occupied territories and with movements within Israel resisting the aggressive imperialist policies of the Israeli state.. Their struggle is our struggle.

NCAFC National Meeting

The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts is going to be having its national meeting in London on the 5th of June. Please come along, we’re going to be discussing how to organise the campaign so that we can hit the ground running at the start of the next academic year. With the Tories about to announce loads of cuts in education, this is a really important campaign, and a really important meeting!

The meeting will be taking place in University College London from 1PM on Saturday the 5th of June. For more information, check out the Facebook event.

We will be electing an editorial board to ensure regular and timely communications about events, news, and action. Please try to send a delegation from your campus to this meeting to let us know what you’re up to and plan jointly with other anti-cuts campaign groups. Also, it would be great if you could send us a report from your campaign, so that we can stick it up on our website.

There will be a fare pool for those coming long distances, and crash space can be arranged for those who need it. If you have any questions or concerns, see the contact page and don’t hesitate to send us an email.

The NCAFC national meeting isn’t the only thing coming up! Here’s a list of events occurring over the next month:

Saturday 22 May: Right to Work Conference
11-5 Friends Meeting House, London
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=110526198960131

Tuesday 25 May to Sunday 30 May: European Education Congress 2010
Bochum, Germany
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=113765935304917

Saturday 29 May: Defeating Cuts in Education conference
Brighton (venue tba)
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=116208155086022

Thursday 10 June: UNISON Day of Dissent
everywhere
http://www.unison.org.uk//news/news_view.asp?did=6027

Great Leap Forward at Sussex

As staff at Sussex go on strike against cuts today, we are happy to announce several important victories that the anti-cuts campaign have won already!

In a packed Student Union Emergency General Meeting with over 750 students present, a vote of no confidence in the Vice Chancellor and the senior management was overwhelmingly passed. That is a great blow against the legitimacy of management.

While that was taking place, the University Senate voted to re-instate the Sussex 6, and to organise an independent investigation into the events surrounding the calling of the police on the 3rd of March. The only members of the Senate who voted against were the unelected senior management.

The Sussex anti-cuts campaign have won a victory for all students. They have sent a clear signal to university managers that heavy-handed, brutal authoritarian tactics on our campuses will not go unpunished.

Now students and staff around the world should send messages of congratulations and support the Sussex strike!

More like this, please

London And Southern Regional Meeting

In light of recent events, it has been decided to call another London and Southern regional meeting as soon as practical – for Wednesday 10th of March, in Central London, venue to be confirmed.

We need to discuss how to follow-up on the events that are unfolding as part of our wave of action; we need to plan a response to management and police attacks; and we need to make firm plans for how to bring the campaign forward in our region. More details on the blog as they are confirmed. For more information contact 07775 763 750 or [email protected]

Get organising - come to the regional meeting

Westminster University – mass meeting passes vote of no confidence in VC

Reposted from http://fightcutsatuow.blogspot.com/

Over 150 staff and students placed a unanimous vote of no confidence in the vice-chancellor, and his management, at a rally addressing Westminster’s severe proposed job cuts.

The meeting, which took place yesterday, saw encouraging and emotive speeches from Union representatives, one of whom revealed that the latest slashes are set at 190 academic and 90 administrative jobs.

A Unison representative clarified that up until a year ago finance papers showed that the university was operating at a surplus of over two per cent, therefore, she and others across the board claimed it suggests that management (who are not allowing public access to any finance details at the present moment) are simply using Mandleson’s Higher Education cuts and their ’11 million budget deficit’ as a guise to fulfil an already planned agenda to slim down on staff and further marketise the establishment.

To place this in perspective it was later reveled that the university plans to spend 61 million on a new building project, ironic, seeing as there will be considerably fewer lecturers to fill it.

Furthermore, a representative from the University and Colleges Union (UCU) pinpointed to a study undertaken by the union which has disturbingly found that whilst academic positions have only risen by three per cent, managerial positions with an allocated wage of £100, 000, have risen by 25 per cent.

“This has attributed to a management clique, who live upstairs, and have no idea of what’s going on on the ground,” she declared.

This sentiment was shared across the board, a speaker and lecturer involved in the struggles at London Metropolitan University, riled staff and students alike by describing the process which led to their feat over the Vice-Chancellor and the board of governors; ballots, strikes and student occupations.

However, an ex National Secretary of the UCU gave some hope by urging staff to remember that there has not been a single voluntary redundancy at Westminster for 20 years, due to staff resistance.

Even so, a computing lecturer from the floor, for example, revealed that his department of 150 is set for a hammering of a third of the positions.

With this and other revelations, a sense of urgency swept the floor and led to an exciting dialogue of what to do next..

An immediate vote of no confidence for vice-chancellor Geoff Petts and his management was called for and achieved.

Striking was placed on the table, but this can prove to be a long and bureaucratic process, taking up to six weeks.

In the meantime, it is down to us students to support our tutors as much as we possibly can by taking any action necessary to stop management in their profiteering tracks. Not only are jobs at risk but the future of education as we know it is, we can’t take this without a fight … can we?

Statement of Intent

This is the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts statement of intent, passed at the National Convention on 6th February.

Statement of Intent

Fees, debt and marketisation are increasingly turning education from a right for all into a privilege for the wealthy. The NCAFC opposes all proposed and existing fees, course cuts, staff redundancies or reductions in education spending.  Cuts are compounding 30 years of neo-liberal reforms which are turning our universities and colleges into businesses organised to produce profit and a pliant workforce, not critically thinking people and a better society.
Education can and should be funded not by student fees and taxes on the poor, but by progressive taxation. It should be an emancipator right, free and available to all.
We will fight for:
- A halt to all education cuts, the abolition of all fees and a living grant for every student, in FE and HE. Tax the rich to fund education
- Education not profit: business out of our schools, colleges and universities.
- A mass movement of students, including occupations, direct action and walk-outs from FE and 6th form colleges and schools, against fees and cuts. Solidarity with our lecturers, teachers and workers.
- Fees, cuts and marketisation are affecting all areas of education; schools, FE colleges, adult and part-time education institutions are being hit and must work together in the response. Regional meetings much be concerned with issues affecting all students in different types of education.
- This campaign also recognises that oppressed groups are being scapegoated due to the crisis, and that cuts will affect them the most. This campaign therefore commits itself to opposing all forms of racism including Islamophobia
- We are committed to solidarity and co-operation with Liberation organisations that share these values (including, but not limited to, the autonomous NUS liberation campaigns, all of which have free education policy), and condemn all forms of discrimination. Black, Disabled, LGBT and women students are systematically disadvantaged and discriminated by society and are disproportionately affected by fees and cuts.
- We are an internationalist campaign. We are for solidarity with students and workers across the world in our common struggle against exploitation and oppression. We are opposed to the victimisation of students and education workers over immigration status, as well as all deportations and immigration controls. We are opposed to all imperialist wars, sanctions and occupations: UK troops out of Afghanistan now.
- We will compile a national education activists’ contact database for co-ordinating activites
- We agree to initiate a national boycott of the National Student Survery (NSS) to oppose marketisation of education
- To send representatives to the Bologna process counter-conference on March 11th
- To support the call for a national demonstration outside the Autumn conference of whichever party wins the General Election.
- To support the teach-in at King’s College London on 27th February called by KCL UCU, No Cuts @ King’s and the London Education Activist Network
- Where possible ‘cultural evenings’ will be put on in student unions nationwide with poetry, theatre, music exhibitions and other artictic forms, with guest speakers and performers invited, in opposition to fees and cuts.
- To convene a meeting dedicated to the discussion of a united left slate in the NUS elections. All groups, networks, student unions and individual activists should be able to attend and participate.
- To change our name to the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts
- That a national convener be elected from each region (North, South, London, East Anglia) to convene a regular open national steering committee with the regional conveners. This national organising meeting be open to all education activists.
___________________________________________________________________________

N.B. The grammar of the statement is not perfect, as it is based on the original script from the conference; this will be addressed at the next national meeting. Please send corrections to [email protected] or [email protected]

Report of the Convention

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.

South Coast planning meeting – 10/01/10

South Coast Planning Meeting NCAFC

The South Coast Planning Meeting took place this Sunday, 10th January in Brighton and counted with the presence of mostly University of Sussex students, as well as London-based NCAFC members.

After a short update of what had been done so far and what is the situation over at Sussex U. a list of short term regional action was compiled.

Students from the south coast should start networking for the mobilization of students and workers, the spreading of information about the Convention on the 6th of Feb and pressure local and university authorities before as well as after the Convention to support and sign possible motions or statements.

The agenda of the NCAFC was, once again, discussed. What we should discuss, what we should aim for and what the results should be. Some suggestions were: a demonstration in central London and national waves of direct action, such as occupations around February or March.

From trivial matters such as transport facilities and funding to the advertising of NCAFC’s Facebook Group and Twitter account – there several students present started delegating and organizing for a more efficient development of work.

The importance of the involvement of key students and regional public figures was stressed several times along the meeting, which took some students to take up the task of talking to particular people about NCAFC.

It was equally important to remember that on the weeks running to the Convention, many helping hands would be needed and that meeting in London would be vital, specially on the couple of days prior to the 6th of Feb.

The USSU (represented in the meeting by its President Tom Wills) offered to provide transport from the South to the Convention on the 6th and the possibility for a few people to get subsidized transport to London for prep-meetings.

The next South Coast meeting was planned for the weekend between the 29th and the 31st of January, possibly once again in Brighton.

For more information on this region’s actions and how to take part, please contact:

[email protected]

or give us a call on the

077 757 63 750

Report – London Organising meeting 7/01/10

Save LMU

Update on first London planning meeting

The first London organizational meeting took place on the 7th January, in a room of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), in Central London.

Present were representatives from University College London (UCL), Kings College London, University of the Arts London (UAL), University of East Anglia (UEA) and SOAS, along with members of Another Education is Possible (AEiP) and Education Not for Sale (ENS).

After brief campus reports and an introduction to what the NCAFC is all about, the table discussed the following points of action:

* Mobilization
* Communications & Press
* NCAFC Agenda
* Logistics

Mobilization

Flyering was the primary concern, as there are a few thousand printed flyers ready to give out.
Besides the many London institutes, there are many more outside London where the word needs to spread. Hardcopies are being posted and a PDF version is available to download on http://www.scribd.com/doc/25076424/National-Convention-Against-Fees-Cuts-Flyer or otherwise available via email contact.

Secondly, it is important to get the support of as many student unions and official bodies as possible. There should soon be a Model Motion doing the rounds (via email) for everyone to support. Importantly, as well, is to keep a tally of who is already supporting the motion (e.g.: SOAS, UCL, USSU, Hull University Union).

The table agreed that good opportunities to advertise the NCAFC would be parallel demos and movements, such as University and College Union (UCU) protest on the 26th of January at Parliament Square and the Gaza remembrance events at UCL and Goldsmiths. Similarly events organized by AEiP and ENS would be good outlets to spread the word.

Communications & Press

There was a quick brainstorming of the things to do concerning press and comms. Subsequently there is now a Twitter page here: www.twitter.com/imAFC and Facebook events are being created for each planning meeting.

The Press and Media department has been taken up by Joana from Oppose LCC Course Redundancies. If you’d like to help out drop her a line on [email protected]

It is also necessary for more movements and student unions to send over quick updates on what is the situation over at their universities and colleges. If you have some information, please contact us on [email protected]

NCAFC Agenda

Some ideas were bounce on what the convention’s agenda should look like. So far there have been a few points most seemed to agree on:

There should be an open and a closing plenary, for all convention members to discuss the present situation of Higher and Further Education. The rest of the day should be filled with workshops or discussion groups under topics and sub-topics. Contents and timelines still to be agreed.

There have been a few names discussed as possible table speakers, among them UCU Tower Hamlets reps. There was a heated discussion on what the outcomes of the Convention should be, but, despite some diverging views on the end results, everyone seemed to agree that to create a network between student movements is crucial in a political atmosphere like the current one.

Logistics

Last but not least the more prosaic details of the Convention were on the table. From lunch to places to stay overnight, crèche and transportation. All to be further discussed on future meetings.

The meeting was closed with the setting of a series of weekly meetings. The next to take place this Wednesday, 13th January, at 7pm at SOAS.

For more information contact us on:

Ucl.free.[email protected]

079 647 91 663

Events

Upcoming events -

London Regional Meeting – 6PM Wednesday 17th February in Room 205, Bloomsbury Theatre, Gordon Street, London. Come and share information and co-ordinate anti-cuts campaigns in London. All welcome! Facebook -  http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=341256543857&ref=ts

National Open Steering Committee Meeting – Sunday 21st February. Location and exact time tbc. Probably not London.