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Happy New Year – Co-ordinating meeting and forum, Jan 10th

January 5, 2011

Welcome to 2011. November and December were interesting. Happy New Year.

Either “the year when the Tory-LibDem government finally press the advantage they have created in convincing many people that massive cuts are both necessary and inevitable”.

Or a year where the students and pupils will come to be seen as only the first sign of a massive and considered retaliation to the political project of this government.

Glasgow Against Education Cuts
The End of the Beginning Begins!
Monday 10th January
17:30 – 20:30
Glasgow School of Art, ‘The Vic’ student union,
Renfrew Street.
Facebook event here.
Editable agenda here.
Calendar here.
Key dates for discussion:
11th Jan (Parliamentary vote on EMA)
26th Jan (National Walkout: Save EMA)
29th Jan (National Demo, NCAFC)
26th March (TUC National Demonstration)

The 10th Jan looks like being a big meeting, hopefully as big as the last meeting at the GSA that saw over 150 people discuss how to co-ordinate the March on the 24th through Glasgow City-Centre.

That march linked up educational institutions across the city. Since then we have shown that this is not just about students; the group and the marches has included parents, teachers, workers, pupils. Those involved have been concerned about the futures of their nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, friends and children. We have shown through occupations of University buildings, tax-dodging businesses and the re-taking of civic spaces across the country and in Glasgow that we can be in control if we want to be.

The police, the government and media have over-reacted with violence and libel and a concerted campaign to find and punish ‘leaders’ – often simply those shouting the loudest. Students in Kent kept their protest going through Christmas and New Years. Glasgow University Court rejected proposals to allow more outside interests and ‘business leaders’ to influence academic decisions. The government rolled-back on cancelling Booktrust – but the challenges to our society that are approaching are even larger than these issues.

It is a simple question: who decides how our lives are run?

Scotland is next in line for education cuts – Mike Russell’s green paper has made it clear (by raising the spectre of a £450million funding shortfall) that continued free education for University students is not possible north of the border. A graduate contribution (and ‘philanthropy’; business-minded education) is inevitable. Is there another way? How do we fight for it?

As Len McClusky, leader of Unite said, in an article that has terrified the coalition, and met with dubious ridicule:

Britain’s students have certainly put the trade union movement on the spot. Their mass protests against the tuition fees increase have refreshed the political parts a hundred debates, conferences and resolutions could not reach…

The response of trade unions will now be critical. While it is easy to dismiss “general strike now” rhetoric from the usual quarters, we have to be preparing for battle. It is our responsibility not just to our members but to the wider society that we defend our welfare state and our industrial future against this unprecedented assault….

These are Con-Dem cuts, and this is a capitalist crisis.

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