UK Student movement

Workers' Liberty students

Student activists in Workers' Liberty argue for working class socialist ideas and campaign on issues like freedom of movement, anti-racism, workers' rights, international solidarity and free movement. Every Monday, from 21 September, 6-7pm: Workers' Liberty Students will be holding informal online political discussions on the following topics; we'll also catch up on current campaigns. Week 1 Monday 21 September 6-7pm: The fight for free movement & migrant rights Speaker from the Labour Campaign for Free Movement Register on Eventbrite here. Zoom link to join the meeting An increasingly hostile...

Workers' Liberty students - what we do, how to get involved

Why a revolutionary workers' organisation organises among students Only the organised, mobilised working class can overthrow capitalism. But students, who represent the biggest collective concentrations of young people in this society, can play an important role - using our time and access to resources to think about the world, develop ideas and get politically educated; bringing spark and enthusiasm to campaigns and revolutionary organisation; getting organised to fight for our rights and linking up with workers in struggle. Often students have played a catalytic role for working-class...

Universities return: fight for control!

The 2020-21 academic year is getting underway. Higher Education (HE) institutions that closed down and sent most of their students away in March, scrambling to move all teaching online, are preparing to welcome over two million people, mostly young, once more. Universities and colleges like many workplaces are allowed – expected – to reopen so long as they are “Covid-secure”. All insist that they are now that – for students, staff, and the surrounding community. They cannot afford to do otherwise! HE institutions are now basically businesses who must compete and make money to survive. They...

Vote Maisie for VP HE!

Maisie Sanders, an activist with Student Strike Solidarity, the Student Left Network, and Workers’ Liberty, will be standing for Vice President Higher Education (VPHE) in National Union of Students (NUS) elections being held on 16-31 March, in the run-up to NUS conference on 31 March/ 2 April. In that election she will be the only distinctly socialist left candidate, with a clear commitment to support the UCU dispute and to take a clear political stand against marketisation. A number of other candidates across three full-time officer positions are generally leftist; however, the emphasis is on...

Left challenge in NUS

I will be standing for the full-time position of Vice President Higher Education, in National Union of Students (NUS) elections next month. In that election I will be the only distinctly socialist left candidate, with a clear commitment to support the UCU dispute and to take a clear political stand against marketisation as well as push for piecemeal student demands. Most (but not all) of the candidates across three full-time officer positions are generally leftist, with good commitments, to, for example, restoring free education, closing the BAME attainment gap, improving mental health...

Sheffield Hallam strikes on workload

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) are striking in a local dispute, for six days from 25 November, in parallel with national strikes. UCU activist Camila Bassi spoke to Solidarity about the dispute. Q: What’s the background to the local dispute at SHU? What are the issues, what are the workers’ demands? A: Our dispute is over unpaid work and stress. Specifically, changes to our academic work planning and the restructuring of our professional services have led to an unprecedented intensification of workloads and a crisis point in academic...

Students back uni strikes

Student-worker solidarity campaigns have been set up at almost every striking university, and many student unions have voted to support the strikes, including several who did not support them in 2018. Lancaster UCU said they had bigger numbers on the first day of this year’s strike than their biggest day in 2018. They also had a visit from Hong Kong students in solidarity with the democracy movement. Sussex students and UCU members held a demo after the picket, with a dragon, fire engine and speeches from Jo Grady and Caroline Lucas. Many UCU branches and student groups are co-hosting “teach...

Graham Hellawell 1964-2019

Graham Hellawell has died, aged 55. Supporters and members of Workers’ Liberty may well remember Graham from when he took an active and leading part in the Campaign for Free Education in the mid-1990s. As President of Huddersfield University Students’ Union, Graham helped to set up CfE. For a while the Campaign was a very large force inside the National Union of Students battling against the Blairites’ attempts to ditch free education policy. Graham was also active in Unison, in health campaigns and in the fight against racism and fascism. In the 2001 General Election he stood as a Socialist...

Markets, cuts, and education

The Augar review into post-18 education and funding, commissioned by Theresa May last year, was released on 30 May. As yet the government says only that it will “take very seriously the report’s proposals”. The report presents its aim as a more “accessible” system of higher and further education that provides “value for money” for both students and taxpayers and is more responsive to labour market demands. University student numbers have continued to increase steadily since 2009-10, but there has been a sharp decline in students choosing higher-level technical qualifications (Level 4 and 5...

Undemocratic ban

At the National Union of Students (NUS) conference (9-11 April), University of Bath student Zeid Truscott was disqualified from standing for the National Executive Council (NEC) on grounds of antisemitism. The biggest issues here are of elections being controlled by full-time officials, of the NUS’s general shutting-down of democracy, and of the culture of responding to anything by “banning” rather than argument. The Chief Returning Officer, who calls himself Jules “the rules” Mason, declared Truscott disqualified on grounds of antisemitic comments made at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign event...

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