Special Report UK resistance against education cuts: Nottingham

The anti cuts campaign has begun with earnest across the UK, many different groups, from the coalition of resistance to the educational activist network, are now presenting a line of people willing to defend our public services. As David Pike argues in his report from Nottingham, all of these demonstrations have shown just how strong the anti cuts campaign is turning out to be, but also how dynamic and creative it has become.

New in Ceasefire - Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2010 0:00 - 1 Comment

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By David Pike

The anti cuts campaign has begun with earnest across the country, many different groups, from the coalition of resistance to the educational activist network, with different focuses, are now presenting a line of people willing to defend our public services. Marches across the UK have begun to gather huge numbers, the Saturday following the spending review some 60,000 people were estimated to be on the streets at local marches, the demonstration at the Tory party conference where some 20,000 unionists marched to show their unity, or the 52,000 on the 10th and an estimated 30,000-100,000 on the streets yesterday, against the proposed assault on our educational system. All of these demonstrations have shown just how strong the anti cuts campaign is becoming, but also how dynamic and creative it has become.

These demonstrations are no longer being attended simply by a hardcore of political activists but by a huge variety of people, from students to grandparents. What is being built is a class consciousness, a consciousness built around self defence. This consciousness is beginning to cross old lines and bring together groups that may have struggled to work together before, as well radicalising some who may have previously become inactive. The hope is that this will truly reinvigorate the ideals of red and black cooperation, but also move way beyond it.

“We were in no rush to stop you; we know they are coming for us as well.”
A Riot Officer at the Millbank Tower 10/11/10

Nottingham is no different, with a sizable contingent at the London NUS and UCU march and regular activity against the cuts through Nottingham Save Our Services, who are taking a very active role in coordinating an anti cuts campaign. Notts SOS recently held a further demo on the 20th with an estimated 1500 marching. On the 9th of November a further meeting was held to attempt to coordinate an active response to the crippling changes to the educational system that will leave many left out of further and higher education. The meeting, coordinated by Educational Activist Network, was attended by UCU, Youth Fight for Jobs, the Socialist party, Socialist Workers and Socialist Students from both University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent, as well as many independents with a willingness to fight for education. As has been shown by the recent witch hunt for the Millbank protesters, what we need now is solidarity, for as the UCU’s banners states

‘KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, UNITY IS STRENGTH.’

The meeting, attended by 25, agreed to build for two events, on the 16th and 24th of November. The 16th was an open public meeting held at the international community centre in Nottingham, again attended by a range of individuals, attempting to build from the success of previous meetings and actions. Wednesday (November 24th) saw mass student walk outs, marches, rallys and occupations involving students, lecturers and school and collage students.

With huge numbers seen across the country, Nottingham has seen a small scale, but loud and passionate rally. Around 100 students rallied on campus, at the University of Nottingham and marched around campus. Later in the day a teach-in held by Educational Activist Network and Socialist Workers and Notts SOS progressed the discussion, and the plans for further action on the 30th of November.

The group decided to prepare for the next day of action, the 30th of November, where the intention is to rally and occupy a room or building on campus at the University of Nottingham. With an aim to gather more people to the struggle, and run a system of mass interaction with students and workers, during the build up and then also during the occupation itself, in order to show how the cuts and fee rises will effect us all.

The muted response that has come out of the students union does, unfortunately, show the way they have consistently worked. Although consultation has been attempted to garner student union support, none has been given. One attendee at the teach-in, a member of Notts SOS, described them not as student agitators but as a student ‘muffler.’ How this complex relationship will unravel as the student movement further separates from it, is yet to be seen. This relationship will be further strained by the action on the 30th, especially after Aaron Porter, NUS presidents, rush to put down the Milbank protesters and their “violent” action.

The anti-cuts, anti-fees movement has made some huge steps forward, gaining support from many quarters, and large numbers, while still remaining highly pluralistic. The increasing presence of this movement is already, clearly having an effect, opening up huge spaces of alternative political discussion. Its pluralistic nature has proved difficult to organise and coordinate and many organisations, such as coalition of resistance and educational activist network, have attempted this, however, it would seem it has created gains.

Although arguments may happen, that debate can only be positive and offers a real chance for democratic progress. The Nottingham Students Against Fees and Cuts, follows this same line. The coalition of interested students and others interested in fighting for education, is now asking for everyone to join them in their fight against fees and educational cuts in Nottingham.

Please join the action on the 30th of November.

For more information check out –

http://nsafc.wordpress.com/

and

http://twitter.com/#!/nsafc

David Pike, reporting for Ceasefire.

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adam
Dec 2, 2010 22:39

Whats happening with the occupation at Nottingham. We need updates!

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