A solid number of
students including the QM Marxists joined staff from the UCU
and Unison in solidarity with their struggle against pension
reforms. From as early as 7am, students gathered at the main
gate to help set up picket lines. All entrances to campus
were covered. Students played a significant role in boosting
the strength of the pickets, and helped effectively close
off several of the main entrances.
On the first anniversary of the great student protest of November last year, several thousand students and trade unionists marched through the City of London accompanied by several thousand police, clearly under pressure to stop a repeat of what happened last time with the Tory HQ.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT),
the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and the National
Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) are balloting their members for
strike action. It is likely that as a result of this we will see
sometime in June or July strikes of teachers up and down the country.
For school students this raises the question of what the response should
Drastic times call for drastic
measures. The price the Tories want ordinary working people to pay for
the crisis of their system is the wholesale destruction of the basic
minimum living standards of a civilised existence for millions. There
are no two ways about it. This is open class conflict, where one class
will succeed and one class will fail.
The University of Leeds has proposed cutting up to 700 jobs, according
to the University and College Union. This is part of the university's
attempt to cut its annual budget by £35 million. The Vice Chancellor,
Michael Arthur, has engineered these cuts, and the student union
refuses to oppose them. Leeds University is just one of dozens of
higher education institutes that will be crippled by a reduction in
funding. These attacks on jobs and education are the most severe since
the Thatcher years and must be resisted.