Recently, the House of Lords voted against the Government's plans to scrap university grants. One day later nearly two million students across the country walked out of lessons, demonstrated and joined picket lines to show the government exactly how prepared we are to fight these measures that will carve out working class, black, Asian and women students from higher education. The government is obviously scared and has been feeling under pressure to offer some concessions. But if Blair and Blunkett get their way, we will still have to pay fees and will not get a grant.
Considering the anger of millions of students, the unpopularity of the Labour Government's cuts in public spending and the revolt of the Lords it is remarkable that we have not already achieved a victory. The biggest obstacle for our struggles has been the leaders of the NUS. These Blairite careerists have openly campaigned for the abolition of grants and carried out the most mealy-mouthed opposition to the introduction of fees. It says something about how useless these highly paid bureaucrats are at representing ordinary students when a load of unelected Lords take a firmer stand on student grants than our own leaders!
These servants of the Labour Government must be driven out of power in our union now. At the forthcoming NUS conference, the Movement for Justice will vote for United Left candidates who stand for free education for all the leading positions. We will also be standing Kingsway President, Victor Ajibola, for an executive position. Every student here today must ensure their delegates vote for these candidates so we can have a NUS that will fight for us, not for a cost-cutting government.
But whoever leads our union, the real battle will be won on the streets, through occupations and militant demonstrations at universities and colleges and bringing our anger outside Downing Street and Parliament! The sort of militant action French and German students have carried out, and more recently the rioting and burning of shops by students in Kenya fighting loans, show that it is only action that threatens the very establishment bent on making cuts that can force the climbdown we need to live and study.
Come on the Movement for Justice contingent today to voice your anger and opposition to these attacks.
Very soon the government will be debating these proposals in the House of Commons. We must build the biggest display of student anger so far outside Parliament the day of the vote so as to exert enough pressure to force MPs to rebel against the government and defeat its plans!
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