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 until December: Workers' Liberty Students will be holding informal online political discussions on the following topics; we'll also catch up on current campaigns. More news on higher education and student campus action here. Monday 19 October 6-7pm: The Russian revolution: what happened and why does it matter The 1917 revolution in Russia produced the world’s first workers' state...

Bail out universities and students

It is hard to imagine a more chaotic start to the university term than the one that’s now unfolding. After Covid-19 outbreaks in Glasgow and Manchester hundreds of students are confined to halls of residence with flatmates they have known for barely a fortnight. At Leeds, security staff have been patrolling with dogs on the look-out for breaches of household mixing rules. Manchester Metropolitan University had to apologise after locked-down students were told to take down protest messages displayed on hall windows, and is facing legal action after students in lockdown were apparently prevented...

Scottish students set rent strikes

Student tenants across Scotland have begun to act after the botched return to Scottish universities. Despite the clear signs of a second wave, many universities have made students sign in to crowded rental accommodation. Predictably, this has led to outbreaks at universities, which are being dealt with by lockdowns and punitive measures against students. Aberdeen Student Tenants Union (@AberdeenTenant), Stirling Students Tenants Union (@StirlingTenant), and Glasgow Uni Rent Strike (@UofGRentStrike) have started to organise for student action. On Thursday 1 October at 5:30pm the National Union...

Universities: no classes? No rent!

By Workers' Liberty students Most first year uni students will have planned to stay in university accommodation this year. Most will already be locked into contracts or will have paid for the first month or term. This year, as in all recent years, rents may be so expensive they drain most, even all, of a student loan. But this year we are also living with Covid-19. Now students are stuck in high-density barely-affordable accommodation where there is a high risk of getting the virus. If say 1 in 500 among students (an age-group with a higher infection rate) has the virus, then, statistically...

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...

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