The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAF) has announced plans for a major campaign for the future of education with a mass demonstration in London.
Last year thousands of students took to the streets of London to protest against the government’s cuts to university funding. On 9th November they will return to fight the decision to increase tuition fees and scrap bursaries. Epigram witnessed the announcement of these plans in a press conference at the ULU (University ofLondon Union) on the 18th October. The plans were revealed by by Michael Chessum, the spokesperson for NCAF.
Under the presidency of Liam Burns, NUS has once again decided to support students as they protest inLondon. Chessum declared that students are currently witnessing the ‘biggest betrayal of young people in living memory.’ He made a call to arms, stating that from noon onwards on 9th November, protestors will be rallying for ‘the future of education, young people and public services in the UK.’
The march will begin on Malet Street outside the ULU and move through the city centre during the course of the afternoon.
Mark Campbell, member and elected officer of UCU Left (a national organisation of University and College Union activists), confirmed that UCU fully support the call for action. ‘Together we will fight to defend education as a public good’ he rallied.
Campbellalso urged everyone to sign the national petition against the White Paper – the government’s latest plan to cut bursaries and replace them with fee waivers.Campbellclaimed the paper will ‘impoverish student choice.’
‘What you lose in parliament, you can win on the streets’
‘Students are in the driving seat, but the wheels have been taken off’ he explained. The NCAF has also issued a specific pledge for Vice Chancellors to sign. This publicly condemns the White Paper and calls for it to be withdrawn. Chessum agreed that the government is ‘determined to privatise education.’
Mark Bergfeld, from the National Executive Council of the NUS and spokesperson for the Education Activist, argued that the November demonstration is just a ‘launch pad’ for the entire campaign and that last year’s protest ‘ignited a new era of action against the government.’
All the speakers focused on ‘unity’ being the key to this new wave of action. Last year was a ‘wake-up call’ according to Chessum, this year there is ‘a palpable desire to resist’ and every student can be a part of that fight to keep higher education a public service and a public right.
‘What you lose in parliament, you can win on the streets’ said Chessum, and the NCAF will continue to protest throughout a winter of discontent, with an even bigger demonstration in the pipeline for February.