Up and down the country, Socialist Appeal student activists in the university Marxist societies have been showing their support for university staff taking strike action. We provide here a few reports that provide a great example of the solidarity actions that Marxist students have been taking in support of UCU, Unite, and Unison members on strike in universities across the country.
Up and down the country, Socialist Appeal student supporters in the university Marxist societies have been showing their support for university staff taking strike action.
The Marxist Student Federation’s model resolution has been discussed and passed in almost every society affiliated to the Federation. A number of Marxist societies rearranged their meetings from Thursday to Wednesday this week so as not to break the strike. Delegations from every society were down at the picket lines supporting our staff and Federation members were out in force at campuses everywhere in the run-up to the strike, handing out leaflets and building support for the strike.
By way of example, we report below what members of the Marxist Student Federation have been doing to support the strike action in the Cambridge, UCL, SOAS, and LSE Marxist societies.
In Cambridge, members of the Marxist Student Federation brought the Marxist resolution in favour of the strikes to the Student Union Council (CUSU). Although our motion was not passed by the Council, another resolution that also called on students to support the strike – albeit without explaining that the attacks on staff are the result of a crisis of capitalism – was supported by the Union. As a result of their bold socialist stance in support of the strike, members of the Federation were asked to represent CUSU at the picket lines and at the strike rally in Cambridge.
The Marxist Discussion Group in Cambridge made plans for the day and signed up many representatives for CUSU and the Marxist Society at the picket lines tomorrow. Federation members have also been arguing in favour of the strike in the student press and around the various Cambridge colleges.
In London, the Marxist society at UCL raised over £70 in support of the strike, which was used to provide food and drink for those on the picket lines. Members of the Federation have been using The Spark, the bulletin of the UCLU Marxists, to argue in favour of supporting the strike. Although the MSF’s resolution in favour of supporting the strike was not discussed by the Student Union Council due to the zealous enforcement of administrative rules, Federation members have been using it to explain the context of the strike and that the only way to guarantee decent pay for university staff is for Universities and businesses to be democratically owned and controlled by the workers and students themselves.
SOAS and LSE
Members of the Marxist societies at SOAS and LSE in London were present on the picket lines this morning and at the strike march and rally outside LSE. At SOAS, a “teach-out” organised by striking lecturers provided a forum for discussing various aspects of the strike and its wider context in the current crisis of capitalism. At LSE, speakers at the beginning of the march from the UCU, Unite, Unison, and from the firefighters’ union (FBU) – who are striking next Monday – gave rousing speeches that outlined the attacks facing university staff and that linked these attacks to the wider assault on students, education, the public sector, and the working class as a whole.
Marxist students everywhere have been arguing that this attack on university staff is just one example of how workers and students are being asked to pay for a crisis they did not cause. Since 2008 the government has been trying to pay back the debts of the banks by cutting funding from education, welfare and health services, to name just a few.
We have to show that we’re not going to take these attacks lying down. We must support our staff and argue for them to receive decent pay, as that directly affects our education just as much as course closures or mountains of debt. Marxist students recognise that to secure a decent education with well paid staff, properly funded courses and the abolition of debt, we must get rid of capitalism. A system run for profit rather than need will never be able to provide these things. It is only by taking the vast resources of the private banks, businesses and universities into public ownership to be democratically controlled that we can ensure a properly funded education system.
Marxist students support this strike, and we recognise that we can only be successful in this by linking our struggles together into a fight for the socialist transformation of society.
- Support the strike!
- For decent staff pay and properly funded education!
- For the nationalisation of universities, banks and big businesses!