Just a few days before the Scottish Government are to announce details of a series of major spending cuts to public services, students from around Scotland have occupied the George Square at Edinburgh University in protest against rising tuition fees for English, Welsh and Northern Irish students wanting to attend Edinburgh University.Therefore, Edinburgh University will become one of the most expensive institutions in the UK, charging up to £36,000 for a degree to students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The occupation can be seen as part of a general mood developing across the country against the Government’s decision to make spending cuts to basic public services, such as education and community services. It follows a series of strikes and protests all around the country, such as the strike at the end of June and the occupation of the Hetherington building at Glasgow University. This general mood showed its ugly face in the English riots in August and it is likely to increase over the rest of the year, after the biggest trade unions across the UK announced they will be balloting for co-ordinated strike action for the 30th November which is expected to involve millions of workers all over the country.
However, this is only part of a bigger picture. Spending cuts to public services have already been announced in many countries across Europe, such as Greece, Italy and Spain, as well as United States and South American countries, such as Chile, where massive student protests took place over the summer.
In an effort to save the collapsing capitalist system and those responsible for the current major economic crisis, governments from all over the world are not hesitating in attacking and reducing to ashes the rights for which the working class has been struggling for generations. Public services, which should cover the fundamental needs of the population who, in the end, are financially supporting these services with taxes, are now subject to privatization and speculation from the financial markets.
We believe that measures such as these only respond to the greed of an exploitative system that is trying to save itself from its collapse by making profit out of basic human needs. The Edinburgh Uni Marxist Society wholeheartedly supports this occupation, and any plans for further action, as part of a wider movement looking to challenge and overthrow the decaying capitalist system and achieve socialism, where free education would be guaranteed.