The newest University in London, London Metropolitan, is in trouble. Earlier this week, a crowd of over 100 disgruntled teachers, students and staff gathered outside the Holloway campus to protest against cuts of up to 500 jobs. It seems the cuts are the result of bad book keeping by management that led to years of over-reporting of student completion rates to the Met's funding body HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England). Now HEFCE is demanding a repayment of £38 billion and, as usual, the tops intend to produce the bulk of it in the form of staff cuts.

londonmet.jpgProtesters held placards with messages like 'Roper, The £276K Man', referring to the pay of the school's Vice Chancellor, Brian Roper. And, 'Sack Roper and save the Met!' and 'Why should we suffer?'

Megaphone in hand, Mark Campbell, from the coordinating committee of London Met UCU (University and College Union) spoke to the crowd. Pointing to the upper floors where a closed meeting of senior management was taking place he yelled "Get your act together! If you can't get your act together then get out! If you do get your act together, then act with us. Act for us. Act in the name of London and the University." The crowd cheered when he demanded that Londoners deserved education that they could be proud of.

This is not the first time the London Met has had problems. Over the last 15 years, there have been several management-led restructuring exercises resulting in cut-backs and layoffs. Looking at the UCU website gives a taste of the type of previous disputes with headlines like  "Management try to gag students", "Past use of anti-trade union laws" and "History of staff demoralisation", to name a few.

Kumari Lane, a former academic leader of the law undergrad program, was sacked last year despite being described by her students as one of the best lecturers in the department who always took extra time to print and distribute material to augment her lessons.

Kumari said that the overall problem with the Met is that, "The managers are in control but they do not consult. Staff and the academics who are in touch with the students and are fully aware of the business needs of the University - much more aware than the managers - but, still, they don't consult us. They can't even produce accurate figures, so they are basically incompetent." Commenting on the pay of senior management she added, "They are getting an enormous amount of money, and for what? They are not producing the goods. If senior managers are supposed to be in charge of the finances and aren't doing so, they should get the sack. Let the staff and academics have control."

Kumari thinks the ultimate strategy of the University management is to sack the permanent staff and employ more temporary, part time staff, driving down wages. This process has left students feeling very concerned.

Claire Harris, a second year fine arts student, said she was there to support her teachers and to help save her Uni from falling apart. She said that "slowly but surely, all the budget cuts have been creeping up on the students with more and more staff being sacked." Claire has already seen one member of staff laid off in her department, and many more in other departments. She added how hard it was for students to find out what was actually going on, despite the fact that the cuts could mean a loss in specialist tutors which would severely affect the quality of her education.

Concerned bloggers claim that over the past 5 years many suggestions were made from the staff to management to produce more accurate student enrolment & retention figures, but management never seemed keen to prioritise these projects. Were figures deliberately exaggerated in an attempt to scam extra funds from HEFCE to finance the Vice Chancellor's vanity project, the Science Block & Graduate Centre (and provide Senior Management with their bonuses & pensions)?

Reports indicate that there have been further efforts by management to weaken staff working conditions with the increase of teaching hours beyond national norms, the reduction of staff being able to take leave, the draconian 'always-at-your-desk' working practices and attacks on the unions. The biggest worry is that as the staff base diminishes and workloads increase, the university will become less attractive, leading to a decline in student numbers, resulting in turn to ever more redundancies.

With all these troubles, the call by the London Met staff and students for control of their university may resonate around the country as hundreds of universities face cutbacks and increased tuition fees. The question on many of their minds might well be; surely we could do a better job!
  • Educate Yourself +

    Socialist Appeal are proud to publish this basic guide to help focus your studies of Marxist theory and practice. Visit the various tabs to find links to introductory articles, classic texts, and audio talks for different topics. Read More
  • The Fundamentals of Marxism +

    Marxist theory is the basis upon which our analysis, perspectives, program, and participation in the movement are based. It is our "guide to action." This why Socialist Appeal and IMT place so much emphasis on political education. To this end, we have created an extensive Education Plan to assist comrades in their political development. This is an important resource.

    However, it's length and scope may seem daunting to new comrades. With this in mind, Socialist Appeal has compiled a shorter list of classic works and other important writings we think will serve to lay a strong foundation in the ideas and… Read More

  • Dialectical Materialism and Science +

    Dialectical Materialism is the philosophy or methodology of Marxism. Every political movement, party, or even statement of any kind bases itself, consciously or unconsciously, on some sort of philosophy or world outlook. Marxism is concerned with effecting a radical change in society, and therefore requires an exceptionally clear, thoroughgoing, and systemic set of philosophical principles.

    The ideas of Dialectical Materialism, based on the best traditions of philosophical thought, are not a fixed dogma but a system of tools and general principles for analysing the world materialistically and scientifically.

    If we are to understand society in order to change it, this cannot be… Read More

  • Historical Materialism +

    Historical Materialism is the result of Dialectical Materialism applied to human society and history. It encompasses the general theory of how and why society develops in the way it does. A deeper, more concrete understanding of these principles in combination with a study of real, living history of class struggles enables us to come to a general understanding of where capitalist society is headed and what political strategy is required to successfully influence the course of events.

    The basic principles of Historical Materialism are that human society has inherent laws guiding it - its developments are by no means arbitrary or… Read More

  • Marxist Economics +

    Marxist economics is the study of the laws of motion of capitalist society. Why does capitalism perpetually go into crisis? Why does mass unemployment exist? Are commodity production, the domination of the market, and rich and poor natural, immutable states of being for humanity? Or are they merely the products of this specific mode of production - capitalism? If so, is there any way capitalism can exist without these problems, or by minimising them?

    Marxist economics is a “holistic” way of analysing capitalist economy. It starts out by placing it in its real historical context (rather than dreaming up abstract idealisations… Read More

  • The State +

    Like money, the state is something we are all very familiar with and take for granted, but its real essence tends to elude us. The ideologists of capitalism have tried, in various ways, to justify the capitalist state as supremely rational; a neutral arbiter for society, and the embodiment of justice. For Marxists, the state is not at all neutral, nor just. It is certainly anything but rational. We must strip the vale of mysticism away and reveal the state’s real basis. To do that, we have to treat the state historically - taking in its origins, rise, and eventual… Read More

  • Russia, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalinism +

    The Russian Revolution is the greatest event in world history for Marxists. For the first time, the working class successfully took and held power. The slaves fought back and won. For these reasons, the name of Lenin and Trotsky, and the entire 1917 episode, has been deliberately dragged through the mud by the bourgeoisie ever since.

    Naturally they are aided in this task by the degeneration of the revolution and by the existence of Stalin’s monstrous dictatorship. However, Stalinism represents the opposite of Bolshevism’s real traditions, which readers can read about in this section, as well as the Marxist explanation for… Read More

  • Anarchism +

    Radicalised youth, seeking to understand how to change modern society, naturally tend to look to both Marxism and Anarchism in equal measure. The question as to which philosophy, or which combination of the two, has the best answers, has long been at the forefront of the minds of revolutionaries.

    Anarchism is naturally attractive to all those correctly alienated by bureaucracy in the revolutionary movement. Anarchists are certainly correct to reject Stalinism and careerism. However, it is not sufficient simply to reject these phenomena. We need to understand why bureaucracy and oppression exist and what role they play, in order to understand… Read More

  • Feminism +

    The discrimination and oppression of women is integral to class society, such that Engels even referred to it as the “first class oppression”. Along with the class system itself, the oppression of women often takes on the appearance of being natural, immutable and eternal, since it has been with us for so long.

    But Marxism is a historical science, concerned with understanding the fundamental changes that society goes through. It cannot be satisfied with comfortable prejudices. A study of the origins of human society, as Engels famously conducted in his book The Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State,… Read More

  • Fascism +

    Fascism is something of a bogeyman in modern British society, and has an almost mythical character in bourgeois public opinion. But despite constant talk of it, very little is said about why it happened and how it may or may not happen again.

    Fascism is really the death agony of capitalism and the “distilled essence of imperialism”. The fascists in Germany, Italy, Spain and other countries were only able to come to power on the back of defeats of the working class. Ultimately, the madness of fascism expresses the historic crisis and dead-end of capitalism that had arrived by the early… Read More

  • The National Question +

    The question of nationalities - that is, the oppression of nations and national minorities, which has characterised capitalism from its birth till the present time - has always occupied a central position in Marxist theory. Once again, the historical materialist approach of Marxism dissolves the apparent “natural” role of the nation as a necessary expression of human society. Nations have by no means always existed, nor will they always exist in the future.

    The nation as we know it today is a product of the development of capitalism and its need to unify peoples into units of a certain size (depending… Read More

  • Imperialism and War +

    War is a constant feature of life under capitalism, especially in the epoch of imperialism. There has not been a single day of peace since the end of WWII, despite the appearance of WWII (and all previous wars) of being the “war to end all wars”. Capitalism is inherently unstable, competitive and violent. Moreover, there can be no final peace between the classes, since this system is based on the exploitation of the working class by the rich. 

    However, there are wars of different kinds under capitalism. The question of war is the hardest equation of all to judge, so careful… Read More

  • Revolutionary Strategy +

    Socialist Appeal is the British section of the International Marxist Tendency, which is active in around 40 countries. Our aim is to spread the ideas of Marxism, in an organised fashion, in the labour and youth movement. Only the British working class has the ability to change British society, because of the central role they play in production and their shared interest in establishing socialism.

    However, we must carefully study the history and traditions of the British working class in order for Marxist ideas to connect with them. There are all too many groups who simply declare themselves the vanguard of… Read More

  • Revolutionary History +

    The ideas of Marxism and the need for a revolutionary party are not the result simply of a single individual, but arise from the study of history - the history of class struggle. In this respect, the revolutionary party is often referred to as being the memory of the working class, and our task is to learn the lessons from history in order to prepare for the revolutionary events taking place today and in the future.

    In this section we present a series of articles and audios covering the key revolutionary struggles in history - from the early class struggles in… Read More

  • 1

NEWSLETTER

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Including: 
The Classics of Marxism
What is Marxism?

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  • Educate Yourself +

    Socialist Appeal are proud to publish this basic guide to help focus your studies of Marxist theory and practice. Visit the various tabs to find links to introductory articles, classic texts, and audio talks for different topics. Read More
  • The Fundamentals of Marxism +

    Marxist theory is the basis upon which our analysis, perspectives, program, and participation in the movement are based. It is our "guide to action." This why Socialist Appeal and IMT place so much emphasis on political education. To this end, we have created an extensive Education Plan to assist comrades in their political development. This is an important resource.

    However, it's length and scope may seem daunting to new comrades. With this in mind, Socialist Appeal has compiled a shorter list of classic works and other important writings we think will serve to lay a strong foundation in the ideas and… Read More

  • Dialectical Materialism and Science +

    Dialectical Materialism is the philosophy or methodology of Marxism. Every political movement, party, or even statement of any kind bases itself, consciously or unconsciously, on some sort of philosophy or world outlook. Marxism is concerned with effecting a radical change in society, and therefore requires an exceptionally clear, thoroughgoing, and systemic set of philosophical principles.

    The ideas of Dialectical Materialism, based on the best traditions of philosophical thought, are not a fixed dogma but a system of tools and general principles for analysing the world materialistically and scientifically.

    If we are to understand society in order to change it, this cannot be… Read More

  • Historical Materialism +

    Historical Materialism is the result of Dialectical Materialism applied to human society and history. It encompasses the general theory of how and why society develops in the way it does. A deeper, more concrete understanding of these principles in combination with a study of real, living history of class struggles enables us to come to a general understanding of where capitalist society is headed and what political strategy is required to successfully influence the course of events.

    The basic principles of Historical Materialism are that human society has inherent laws guiding it - its developments are by no means arbitrary or… Read More

  • Marxist Economics +

    Marxist economics is the study of the laws of motion of capitalist society. Why does capitalism perpetually go into crisis? Why does mass unemployment exist? Are commodity production, the domination of the market, and rich and poor natural, immutable states of being for humanity? Or are they merely the products of this specific mode of production - capitalism? If so, is there any way capitalism can exist without these problems, or by minimising them?

    Marxist economics is a “holistic” way of analysing capitalist economy. It starts out by placing it in its real historical context (rather than dreaming up abstract idealisations… Read More

  • The State +

    Like money, the state is something we are all very familiar with and take for granted, but its real essence tends to elude us. The ideologists of capitalism have tried, in various ways, to justify the capitalist state as supremely rational; a neutral arbiter for society, and the embodiment of justice. For Marxists, the state is not at all neutral, nor just. It is certainly anything but rational. We must strip the vale of mysticism away and reveal the state’s real basis. To do that, we have to treat the state historically - taking in its origins, rise, and eventual… Read More

  • Russia, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalinism +

    The Russian Revolution is the greatest event in world history for Marxists. For the first time, the working class successfully took and held power. The slaves fought back and won. For these reasons, the name of Lenin and Trotsky, and the entire 1917 episode, has been deliberately dragged through the mud by the bourgeoisie ever since.

    Naturally they are aided in this task by the degeneration of the revolution and by the existence of Stalin’s monstrous dictatorship. However, Stalinism represents the opposite of Bolshevism’s real traditions, which readers can read about in this section, as well as the Marxist explanation for… Read More

  • Anarchism +

    Radicalised youth, seeking to understand how to change modern society, naturally tend to look to both Marxism and Anarchism in equal measure. The question as to which philosophy, or which combination of the two, has the best answers, has long been at the forefront of the minds of revolutionaries.

    Anarchism is naturally attractive to all those correctly alienated by bureaucracy in the revolutionary movement. Anarchists are certainly correct to reject Stalinism and careerism. However, it is not sufficient simply to reject these phenomena. We need to understand why bureaucracy and oppression exist and what role they play, in order to understand… Read More

  • Feminism +

    The discrimination and oppression of women is integral to class society, such that Engels even referred to it as the “first class oppression”. Along with the class system itself, the oppression of women often takes on the appearance of being natural, immutable and eternal, since it has been with us for so long.

    But Marxism is a historical science, concerned with understanding the fundamental changes that society goes through. It cannot be satisfied with comfortable prejudices. A study of the origins of human society, as Engels famously conducted in his book The Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State,… Read More

  • Fascism +

    Fascism is something of a bogeyman in modern British society, and has an almost mythical character in bourgeois public opinion. But despite constant talk of it, very little is said about why it happened and how it may or may not happen again.

    Fascism is really the death agony of capitalism and the “distilled essence of imperialism”. The fascists in Germany, Italy, Spain and other countries were only able to come to power on the back of defeats of the working class. Ultimately, the madness of fascism expresses the historic crisis and dead-end of capitalism that had arrived by the early… Read More

  • The National Question +

    The question of nationalities - that is, the oppression of nations and national minorities, which has characterised capitalism from its birth till the present time - has always occupied a central position in Marxist theory. Once again, the historical materialist approach of Marxism dissolves the apparent “natural” role of the nation as a necessary expression of human society. Nations have by no means always existed, nor will they always exist in the future.

    The nation as we know it today is a product of the development of capitalism and its need to unify peoples into units of a certain size (depending… Read More

  • Imperialism and War +

    War is a constant feature of life under capitalism, especially in the epoch of imperialism. There has not been a single day of peace since the end of WWII, despite the appearance of WWII (and all previous wars) of being the “war to end all wars”. Capitalism is inherently unstable, competitive and violent. Moreover, there can be no final peace between the classes, since this system is based on the exploitation of the working class by the rich. 

    However, there are wars of different kinds under capitalism. The question of war is the hardest equation of all to judge, so careful… Read More

  • Revolutionary Strategy +

    Socialist Appeal is the British section of the International Marxist Tendency, which is active in around 40 countries. Our aim is to spread the ideas of Marxism, in an organised fashion, in the labour and youth movement. Only the British working class has the ability to change British society, because of the central role they play in production and their shared interest in establishing socialism.

    However, we must carefully study the history and traditions of the British working class in order for Marxist ideas to connect with them. There are all too many groups who simply declare themselves the vanguard of… Read More

  • Revolutionary History +

    The ideas of Marxism and the need for a revolutionary party are not the result simply of a single individual, but arise from the study of history - the history of class struggle. In this respect, the revolutionary party is often referred to as being the memory of the working class, and our task is to learn the lessons from history in order to prepare for the revolutionary events taking place today and in the future.

    In this section we present a series of articles and audios covering the key revolutionary struggles in history - from the early class struggles in… Read More

  • 1

NEWSLETTER

wellredbooksGet the Marxist classics from the Wellred online bookshop
Including: 
The Classics of Marxism
What is Marxism?