Student mobilisations this winter ?

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Harrison
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Sep 27 2011 21:03
Student mobilisations this winter ?

I know a lot of the students (myself included) involved in the walkouts across schools / FE colleges last year will now be at university, my question is whether it is likely that further mobilisations will occur.

With the worsening economy is it possible that further austerity measures will be applied to state education?

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Ellar
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Sep 27 2011 21:46

yeah, national student demo in london on the 9th of november

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Ellar
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Sep 27 2011 21:47

which recently won the support of the NUS (whatever that means)

mons
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Sep 27 2011 22:33

I think it means it might get a decent turnout. I really don't think the NUS is irrelevant or ever was, unfortunately. By far the biggest student demo was the NUS-organised demo which ended with Millbank being trashed. Don't know how passive or active their endorsement is though.

The student protests last year were so successful because we were fighting for something immediate. Now uni fees have risen and EMA's gone, and what we're fighting is more general, privatisation, it'll be difficult to attract anyone but politico's. Although privatisation will impact on us materially, it's less direct. Also we lost last year, even I'm feeling pretty demoralised from that about student stuff and not that up for going to demo's and stuff, and I'm one of the politico's! Still, good on NCAFC for organising it. You never know...

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Ellar
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Sep 28 2011 00:47

well yeah the NUS is handy for getting transport organised and publicity but its not a organisation that can in anyway be relied upon. As many students learned when the NUS president condemned them after millbank.

Harrison
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Sep 28 2011 12:17

NUS's most well known activity is providing discounts for students at HMV etc...

wojtek
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Oct 24 2011 23:59

I know they're pretty silly questions, but I think many students will ask something similar. What would we be actually protesting against and didn't we already lose? Sorry I'm a bit pessimistic.

wojtek
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Oct 24 2011 23:58

double post

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Ellar
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Oct 25 2011 00:06

Before the 10th of november last year many people were speaking in the same pessemistic tone about the idea of students protesting at all. That all change very quickly and the cynical people turned on a dime. I'm just saying, don't rule it out. You also have to remember that the mobilisations last year and their militancy had all kinds of motivations, to say it was all about the fees and therfore students stopped feeling up for it when the vote past is very naive.

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pinkleppard
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Nov 17 2011 18:28

We didn't only go out because of fees and EMA, also to condemn the HE White Paper (basically, privatising universities).

There is an ASN meeting this Saturday 19th Nov 2-5 pm at UCL

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Ramona
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Nov 17 2011 18:40

NCAFC have called a day of (localised) action for 23rd ahead of the strike, so it'll be interesting to see how that goes after the demo on the 9th - NUS fucked about saying they'd support it, then saying they wouldn't cos of some bullshit about health and safety, and in the end left it all so last minute and did such a good job of scaring off sabbs in student unions by telling them to advise their members not to go as it wouldn't be safe blah blah that not nearly as many people as were expected managed to get down, as there was no money for transport

Harrison
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Nov 17 2011 20:37
Ramona wrote:
NCAFC have called a day of (localised) action for 23rd ahead of the strike, so it'll be interesting to see how that goes after the demo on the 9th - NUS fucked about saying they'd support it, then saying they wouldn't cos of some bullshit about health and safety, and in the end left it all so last minute and did such a good job of scaring off sabbs in student unions by telling them to advise their members not to go as it wouldn't be safe blah blah that not nearly as many people as were expected managed to get down, as there was no money for transport

This is exactly what happened at my uni.

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pinkleppard
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Nov 17 2011 20:49

It's funny when the cops made sure we were all as safe as lambs in a flock guarded by wolves.

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Arbeiten
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Nov 18 2011 01:57


Ramona wrote:
NUS fucked about saying they'd support it, then saying they wouldn't cos of some bullshit about health and safety, and in the end left it all so last minute and did such a good job of scaring off sabbs in student unions by telling them to advise their members not to go as it wouldn't be safe

This, ten times over. It is all fine NCAFC, but they have to find a way of organizing outside the SU, especially in places with shite SU's (like I presume Harrison is experiencing right now). I mean, yes the SU is a potential asset, but last week really proved how friggin shite it can be too

NCAFC

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Ramona
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Nov 18 2011 12:39
Arbeiten wrote:
This, ten times over. It is all fine NCAFC, but they have to find a way of organizing outside the SU, especially in places with shite SU's (like I presume Harrison is experiencing right now). I mean, yes the SU is a potential asset, but last week really proved how friggin shite it can be too

Yeah but I really don't see how they can get around this, if they still want to pursue national demos as a tactic. I wonder if there's still the feeling that big demos are worth it though.

To pull those off you need money for transport, and NUS are really the only people in a position to provide this (I think). Maybe larger groups like Coalition of Resistance or something, but I don't know the politics and logistics of how that might work.

But if the focus shifts towards local actions that are coordinated nationally (like the day of action for the 23rd of Nov for example) then you don't need SUs at all. I think that's maybe really good way for NCAFC to move around this issue of NUS being dicks, and move towards coordinated direct action campaigns instead?

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Alasdair
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Nov 18 2011 12:40

Yeah, I think that's a very important point. There were places where anti-cuts groups organised separately from their SUs, and for the local action next week I imagine the vast majority of action will be extra-SU. For something like a national demo (and we can debate it's importance - especially when there's almost as many police as protesters - but I think it was worth calling) what's important is resources, particularly money to put on coaches, and very few anti-cuts groups have that, whereas SUs and the NUS do. I don't really know what the answer is there, SUs give us the possibility of far greater resources, but at the cost of only supporting very limited action and tying up our time and effort trying to win elections to them.

Harrison
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Nov 18 2011 14:48
Arbeiten wrote:
This, ten times over. It is all fine NCAFC, but they have to find a way of organizing outside the SU, especially in places with shite SU's (like I presume Harrison is experiencing right now). I mean, yes the SU is a potential asset, but last week really proved how friggin shite it can be too

Yeah the SU is SWP/liberal controlled at my uni, and the liberal part don't like student militancy, while the SWP part are sectarian toward NCAFC because it rivals their EAN front. We did have an issue where we think someone in our local SU was directly sabotaging and also just generally not putting much effort into organising the coaches, but i think largely the problem was from the NUS national leadership.

IMO the problem is, as Ramona says, money for transport. Students are generally a skint demographic... So i think the best option is to move away from frequent national demos and, again i agree with Ramona, toward localised activity.

Most importantly we need to get other students out for the N30 strikes if we are to show our solidarity with workers (especially if it's our lecturers on strike). The NCAFC IMO could be an excellent tool for building this.

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Nov 18 2011 14:59
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The NCAFC IMO could be an excellent tool for building this.

Yeah, have they released a statement of support yet or anything?

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Ramona
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Nov 18 2011 15:08

I'm not sure if they have, and yeah would be especially important as NUS, or maybe it's just my SU I forget, have said they won't back UCU's work to rule or action short of a strike if it affects exam marking etc.

Birmingham UCU are having teach-outs on their picket lines and we're tentatively considering having something similar in Edinburgh though we're yet to sort anything properly. But yeah student support for N30 is a massive issue, and I think lots needs to be done in terms of publicising the strike, what a picket line is, that kind of thing

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soc
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Nov 18 2011 15:24

I'm not a student so my ideas should be treated as such. Considering the Italian students' demonstration, I would say it is really worth to go for local actions. For one, it would solve many problems around the logistics as traveling through the country is costly in money and energy. What is more, to gain resources from SU's could take considerable amount of political compromises which I would say quite dangerous at this point.

Besides, local demonstrations can be more attracting than traveling through the country to be kettled by the police in London. Also, that gives the opportunity to maintain blocs easier and given the knowledge of the local area, there's more chance to bring the issue to the public. I think one of the major issue with the Nov9 in terms of location was that the City isn't the right place to draw any attention. The City as many similar urban areas are designed to be easily policed, blockaded from the lively parts of the whole city, and the access to these areas can be easily manipulated by the public transport routes.

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Steven.
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Nov 18 2011 16:46

And of course outside of London there is not the same level of policing, nor the same competency at public order policing

Harrison
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Nov 18 2011 21:12

Personally, i think we shouldn't fetishise calling demos, even on a local level. The uni cuts that are coming, whilst affecting students, will affect education workers within the unis the most, and we ought to be channelling our organising efforts into campus activities, organising and publicising large uni anti-cuts gatherings, building contacts within the campus workforce and building their confidence that they have student support.... i could go on.

As i think Jim Clarke said earlier on this thread, left over from last year we currently have a residual militant core with a lot of surrounding de-mobilised sympathetic elements. What we need to do is re-mobilise those sympathetic elements, which i think we can do better by building on campus before moving on to (even local) demos. This probably differs from uni to uni though.

Ellar, on the N17 'Day of Action' post, they state they support students organising in the run up to N30:

NCAFC wrote:
4. Link up with local trade union branches to build for November 30th – Build solidarity between workers and students. Support the public sector strike. In the education sector, staff and students are very obviously part of the same struggle, but it’s also important to make links with other workers. The Government’s cuts are incredibly wide-ranging and the more co-operation between different affected groups the better. Contact your local trade union branches and talk to them about how to support each other’s actions.
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Alasdair
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Nov 18 2011 22:31

Not sure if there's a definitive statement just about N30 yet, though there definitely will be, but everything we're releasing at the moment should mention it, and the N23 stuff is meant to build towards N30 action.

There is a different level of policing outside of London, but that does have to be contrasted with the different scale of protest outside of London too. The last few uncut actions in Edinburgh, for example, have had more police than demonstrators - last time considerably more, including FIT teams, vans and un-marked vehicles. And there have been quite a few charges for uncut stuff outside London (excluding Fortnum and Mason quite a lot more). To quite a significant extent the policing outside London may start off much lower intensity but after a few actions it ramps up considerably. We can't rely on it being 'easier' in any sense outside London from that point of view I'd say.

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pinkleppard
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Nov 19 2011 12:20

Speaking to people from Occupy London, there are some ideas like calling 7 days of local occupations/ actions from the 23rd to the 30th to build for the strike, preferably places that are going to shut down like libraries, social centers, nurseries, etc. Also cracking our heads to find slogans that will unite everyone who is affected by the cuts, not only students and strikers, to understand that everything is part of a wider picture and we must all unite against it. Particularly talking about drawing attention to cuts in benefits that affect the unemployed, student debt for graduates, etc., let these people know that they're not alone, that there are people out there just like them that are ready to fight. Maybe people outside of London would like to also use similar tactics to get these people on the streets and join the strikers (also good to build relationships with our neighbours, something quite often ignored when you're a student in a new city), they're obviously angry, just need to know that there is someone out there.