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. Usually, every Monday from 6-7pm, Workers' Liberty Students hold informal online political discussions on a wide range of topics with the emphasis on current and relevant struggles. Summer term programme will run from 26 April 2021. Summer term programme will ve: • Monday 10 May: What lefty students should do when they graduate • Monday 17 May: How to fight sexism • Monday 24 May: Solidarity with...

Sheffield Archaeology: a cut with a "global impact"

A student involved with the Sheffield University Save Archaeology Campaign spoke to us. Back in February, a few students were emailed, asking us to attend an “informal chat” with the Deputy Vice Chancellor. Only a few of us were chosen and around a dozen or more of us turned up. She asked us for negative views as well as positive views about the department – she only received positive views. At a follow-up meeting, the Deputy VC laid out the conclusions from this “consultation”: they would close the Department of Archaeology and move two of its “areas of strength” into other departments. These...

Pimlico Academy: near a tipping point

On 8 June, National Education Union (NEU) members at Pimlico Academy (London) held their first strike day. A sunny Tuesday morning saw a strong turnout from members, with the picket line stretching all the way down the road. Workers carried placards with slogans including: “kick racism out of school...

Move on from “30% refund”

Students United Against Fees is one group within a loose coalition of student activist groups operating under lockdown and protesting under lockdown. It called a small but lively open-air rally in London on Sunday 13 June. The group calls for a 30% immediate refund on tuition fees in return for higher interest rates on loans. The refund is compensation for loss of in-person lectures, library and other student facilities as well as exorbitant rents. The group, led by a handful of full-time elected officers from Student Unions, got some press coverage for their idea last month. It is fair to say...

Students mobilise on Palestine

The student union at SOAS university in London joined the Palestinian call for a strike on 18 May, and finished the week with a campus vigil for lives lost to colonial violence. London students went on to join the internationalist bloc at the Palestine demo in London on Saturday, connecting struggles from Colombia, Ethiopia and Palestine as a common struggle against oppression and state violence. Apartheid off Campus, a student campaign group, has called a day of action for Friday 28 May: “a call for students to unite for BDS”. The student union at SOAS university in London voted to reaffirm...

Make solidarity without antisemitism

Many students at UK universities have rightly responded to the escalation of violence in Israel-Palestine by mobilising in support of the Palestinians. In some places there are campaigns to get universities to stop investing in companies that financially back Israeli military industries. We hope Palestinian solidarity campaigning continues beyond the ceasefire, and that university divestment campaigns succeed. At the same time we continue to criticise the blanket boycott policies which dominate on campuses (including academic boycotts), with their implicit backing for a “one state” outcome in...

Two occupations end, student protests continue

The student occupations at Sheffield Hallam and Manchester Universities have ended, due to heavy-handed attempts by university management to criminalise the protests, and a refusal to engage with their demands. The students leave with their heads held high, however, as their three week long protest has demonstrated how to militantly oppose the marketised higher education system. The fact that universities still remain able to resist these immediate demands does not deter students from promising to continue with radical tactics. The campaigns that have emerged around fee and rent strikes this...

More in-person action on campuses

One hundred students protested at SOAS University in London on 10 May, rejecting an investigation into racism in the institution as insufficient and demanding the removal of director Adam Habib. Petitions, online actions, and motions in the student union and Unison union branch have been organised since back in March the director delivered a racial slur in response to being challenged about cuts to the African Studies department and the failure to address direct racial discrimination on campus, back in March. Students have been challenging Habib’s position as director since his interview with...

Wave of student action

Students are protesting in occupations and rallies on campus around UK universities, finally able to employ in-person direct action after a year of mostly online organising. Rallies have been organised at the London School of Economics (LSE), Goldsmiths and SOAS in London, and the rent strike campaigns have launched a wave of occupations in Manchester, Nottingham, and two Sheffield universities. On Wednesday 28 April, 300 people rallied at LSE in central London. The lively crowd heard speeches from the fee and rent strikes going on at the university, as well as from the SOAS fee strike...

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