Posted on Thu 29 Oct 2015 at 13:47 by Luke Pilot
On November 4th, thousands will be marching on the streets of London in the National Demonstration for Free Education, called by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC).
This march has been called in response to the most destructive attack on education in decades by the UK Government. This march has been called because talking to our MPs and writing papers is not enough. This march has been called because direct action on the streets is how we can show the Government that we will not fall victim to this attack. This march has been called because we will not ask politely for these changes to be stopped; instead, we will demand Free Education that is accessible for all, without barriers or borders.
The march for Free Education is not just about opposing the £9k tuition fees hike
. It’s about the abolishment of maintenance grants
which will heavily impact students from lower-income backgrounds. It’s about the freezing of the loan repayment threshold
which will disproportionately affect women
. It’s about the regressive Research Excellence Framework (REF),
the continued casualisation of teaching staff
and the continued marketisation of Higher Education through the proposed Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)
. It’s about cuts to the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)
that will create further barriers to education. It’s about the continued battle for funding
between Higher Education and Further Education (FE) Institutions, in which FE colleges lose out the most. It’s about the Islamophobic Prevent agenda
, which racially-profiles and treats students like suspects. It’s about the continued exploitation of International students as cash cows
, while it becomes harder for them to access and remain in Britain and they have to pay to use the NHS.
This is an unprecedented series of initiatives for students to overcome, but we do not
have to accept these changes. We should not
rest idly and let our institutions be changed so fundamentally, to the detriment of our education and that of future generations (including, potentially, our own families). Change is not
impossible, as the amazing student movement in South Africa
showed us last week. There is so much for us to be angry about, but we cannot let that emotion dissipate. We must challenge these changes by uniting and engaging in direct, dynamic, collective
action. We have a voice. And now
is the time to use it.
Rallies and demonstrations, however, are not for everyone. NCAFC have recognised the need for accessibility that this creates and have organised a Demo HQ
for the day. For individuals who do not wish to participate in the march itself, or are unable to due to their health, are a carer, have other responsibilities or have concerns about their visa but still want to be a part of the action, the Demo HQ at Bloomsbury is there for you on November 4th. You can visit the HQ in Bloomsbury and support the march, keep on top of social media and communications and coordinate protesters. If you cannot make it to London, you can also be a part of the social media push at home or at work.
We are not simply asking for education that is free from fees - we are demanding education that is free from discrimination, free from oppression, that supports students and which provides equal access for everyone.
Education is a right, not a privilege. We must ensure that everyone has equal ability to exercise this right.
Free education NOW.
Get your £5 return ticket to 4th November National Demo in London. Ticket sales end 3pm Friday 30th October. https://tickets.warwicksu.com/ents/event/13018/