This is a guest post by Michael Chessum from National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts
This Wednesday, tens of thousands are expected to attend the national demonstration against fees, cuts and privatisation in education. The march will leave Malet Street at 12pm and go through Trafalgar Square and up the Strand, before passing the occupation at St Paul’s to rally at Moorgate Junction. The decision to march on the City, rather than to Parliament, will highlight the fact that whilst the banks caused the economic crisis, students- and millions of ordinary working people in the UK- are paying for and suffering its consequences.
Our education is not for sale
We want to send a message on Wednesday that we won’t let the Government hand over education to the markets. Education should be a public service, accessible to all– not a corporate enterprise.
Protesters therefore intend to derail the government’s higher education white paper. This has been widely described as a chaotic and regressive attempt to introduce markets and private providers into education, effectively ending it as a public service.
Solidarity with electricians and the hardest hit
Students will be joined on the day by thousands of striking electricians, who are marching with Unite the Union in protest at a 35% national pay cut. NCAFC is supporting the electricians’ strike as part of a broader opposition to pay and pensions cuts ahead of the November 30th strikes.
The demonstration will then finish at Moorgate Junction, next to London Metropolitan University, which is one of the hardest hit institutions in the UK. London Met has the highest percentage of working class students in the country, with more black and minority ethnic students than the whole of the elite Russell Group combined.
Ending a society run by and for the 1%
The last academic year saw a 70% cut to London Met’s undergraduate course portfolio and a move to more vocational-style degrees, and even greater cuts are expected over the next year. Meanwhile FTSE 100 directors’ pay has risen by over 50%.
As Claire Locke, President of London Met students’ union, has pointed out, the government’s policies ‘have led to a disproportionate attack on our most vulnerable students. We have already had students drop out due to financial hardship and lack of student support.’
We must stand together and build a mass movement to fight the unjustifiable fees and reckless cuts. Let’s make November 9th a day Cameron and Clegg can’t ignore and won’t forget.