On Saturday 19th November, over 15,000 students and lecturers descended on the streets of London in solidarity with one another to fight back against the attacks we are seeing on education. Marxist students from across the country were present on the Revolutionary Bloc, calling for a socialist alternative to fees and cuts.
On Saturday 19th November, over 15,000 students and lecturers descended on the streets of London in solidarity with one another to fight back against the cuts and attacks we are seeing to education: the attempts by the Tory government to further increase tuition fees, and marketise and privatise the education system using the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) as a justification.
TEF is intended to be used to measure the quality of teaching at a university, it will allow a good scoring university to raise their fees. However, it uses data that is unreliable and unrelated to actual quality teaching. The effects of such a policy would add to the already increasing inequalities in education following on from the scrapping of maintenance grants.
Allowing for certain universities to charge more would disadvantage poorer students, creating an elitist and marketised form of education; an education system that will benefit the wealthy in society whilst deterring working class students from attending the top universities.
Education is a right that everyone should be able to access; it should not be run for profit or be treated as a commodity to purchase.
It was clear that the thousands of students and education workers on this demonstration agreed with this sentiment. Chants included “Education should be free; not just for the bourgeoisie” and “Education is a right, not a privilege”.
Despite the autumnal climate, the atmosphere was passionate and uplifting. Students and academic staff turned out from across the country, with Marxist student comrades from London, Cambridge, Swansea, Reading, Manchester, and elsewhere marching together in the Marxist Student Federation’s Revolutionary Bloc.
The solidarity among students showed that the more youth and workers are ignored by the establishment, the more we stand up and fight. The march and rally were extremely well organised meaning the anger became passion.
The right wing cannot cast this anger off as violent or disorganised. Youth and workers are united towards a better future. Students are fighting every Tory policy that comes our way and beginning to look towards revolutionary solutions. As the shouts from the protest asserted – “one solution: revolution”.