A leaflet given out by The Commune on Thursday’s fees demo in London
Today is the fourth major day of action against the government’s attack on education.
Much about this movement has been new and original, and that can only be a good thing. The aspiring politicians who lead NUS have been swept aside.
We have stood up for ourselves in spite of media condemnation. The protests and occupations have benefited from being lively and spontaneous. While suited NUS leaders wanted to debate politicians on friendly terms in TV studios, the movement has shown real militancy and anger at this government of millionaires trying to screw us over.
So we should not be too disheartened if Parliament votes to back the government’s plans. Nor should that spell the end of the movement. Even if some LibDem MPs ‘rebel’ against the slavish Tory-lite Clegg, it would be optimistic to expect we would force victory so quickly. This movement has been going for just a few weeks!
Parliament has no answers. Even most of those MPs who vote against the government will not do so for the same reasons any of us would. Labour themselves support fees (and introduced them when in power). They are no friends of students, nor opponents of cuts on principle.
We should keep the occupations going and fight every inch to stop the government. We need mass meetings to discuss what strategy will help build pressure. Meek lobbying, or even protest, is not enough: we fight to win. For that reason, we should not fear ‘causing disruption’: the cuts will cause far greater damage to education than interrupting a few classes ever could.
First off, the next day of action on Monday next week will see further walkouts, importantly focussing on EMA.
Moreover, this is just one battle against a whole raft of attacks on the working class by the ConDems. This will affect all areas of life: education, health, care services, welfare, and more besides. Our friends, brothers and sisters, parents are being attacked too.
The occupations should invite the participation of other groups of workers under attack. Keeping the struggle going will be a beacon for others to fight back. Whatever happens in the Commons this evening, this fight is far from over!
To our knowledge there are currently 23 university occupations. On top of the occupations November saw school students walk out of school for demonstrations, not allow themselves be pushed around by the police and do what no other demonstration for years has managed to do; avoid a police kettle by staying mobile. And perhaps most impressively, smash up the Tory headquarters!
The events of the last few week have been organised by young people themselves without the leadership of the NUS, the Labour Party or any of the varied Leninist groups (Socialist Workers’ Party, Socialist Party, Workers’ Power etc.) Instead through the building of occupations and walk outs students have organised themselves and began to feel how powerful we can be when we organise.
This organisation, the police reactions, the media lies and space created by the occupations have allowed for a greater political education than any political party teach-in ever could. We should this up. Keep talking, organising, thinking, questioning and challenging the government and the system at large. As some dead guy with a beard said, we have a world to win.
‘responsibility’ for us, bailouts for them
For thirty years, for many of us for all of our lives, we have heard the mantra of responsibility. Unemployment is the responsibility of the unemployed, not the employer or the system that makes them expendable. It is the responsibility of the poor to ‘raise themselves up’, just ignore the fact that, as most social scientists agree, it is getting harder and harder for the poor to rise out of poverty.
And now when people want an education, it’s their responsibility. We need to take care of ourselves.
But seemingly this isn’t the case for everyone. For investors and other capitalists, if they fuck up it’s not their responsibility to fix the problem, its ours.
But we shouldn’t be shocked by that. The state has always been there to defend capitalism. In fact that’s the only reason it is there. Although since World War II the state has also done many things for us, the only reason this happened was in order to defend capitalism.
Back when we were more organised in our workplaces, when we were more politically militant, we threatened the continued existence of capitalism. And to stop us the state gave us social democracy. But today they think we are no threat, so instead of restraining capitalism to make our lives better, it’s changing our lives to make capitalism freer.