Socialist Students, one of the organisations at the heart of the 2010 student movement against tuition fees, has strongly condemned recent revelations about police surveillance of political campaigns and student activists. Students from the group, who are involved in organising against cuts, fees and privatisation on campuses, have said it ‘makes a mockery’ of the democratic right to protest in Britain. This comes a day following a student demonstration against the closure of the University of London Union, which saw a large and heavy handed police presence prevent students from entering their own campus and, following which, the president of the students’ union has been arrested.
Edmund Schluessel, Socialist Students member and NUS National Executive Councillor said:
“The videos released give categorical evidence that the police targeted groups on a political basis, including those involved in peaceful protest. This follows several revelations of police surveillance of activists, which included systematic infiltration of groups like Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE) during the 1990s.The huge student movement of 2010 broke the consensus and in many ways humiliated the police. These are outrageous attacks on basic democratic freedoms and the right to protest. These surveillance techniques, coupled with heavy handed and often violent policing, are designed to limit the effectiveness of protests and intimidate demonstrators. Protest is increasingly becoming a criminalised act. Alongside this, anti-trade union laws are making strike action increasingly difficult to organise legally. Clearly, there is a deep seated fear at the heart of the establishment about the potential momentum that campaigns like these could gain. As brutal austerity intensifies and Cameron declares its permanency, it is vital that we defend the right to protest.”
Socialist Students is campaigning defend the right to protest. They plan to link up with other groups, such as YRE, to build the fight for democratic rights.
Teachers in the UK are becoming ever more angry at the education secretary’s (Michael Gove) reforms which has now led to a grassroot movement of teachers to call for civil disobedience.
From the Guardian:
Classroom teachers at the National Union of Teachers’ annual conference in Liverpool told the Observer their profession had reached a turning point in its relations with Michael Gove, and calls for radical action were widespread. Last week the Association of Teachers and Lecturers overwhelmingly carried a motion of no confidence in Gove, in the first motion of its kind against an education secretary in its history. NUT members will vote on a similar motion on Sunday. Teachers have described Gove as showing “abject failure to improve education or treat teachers, parents and pupils with respect”.
“We’ve just had enough,” said Alison Palmer, a primary school teacher from Camden, north London. “We are committed people who try to do the best we can for children and Gove just tells us we are rubbish. There has to be a limit to what teachers will put up with.”
The knock on effect of increased tuition fees (up to £9,000/€11,000) by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition is (as expected) a fall in applications from UK candidates.
The price hike has meant that the poorest members of society have been priced out of education which has been reflected in the 6.3% fall in applications up to 17th December compared to the same period last year.
Earlier figures from November 2011-November 2012 were down a whopping 8.4%, all signs that the government (predominantly white, male millionaires) are deliberately and consciously targeting the poor, they want the poor to get poorer and the rich to get richer.