Discussions on the day included looking at the alternatives to austerity, exploring ways to build effective campaigns locally and nationally against the cuts, racist scapegoating and bigotry as well as for welfare not warfare and for a green and sustainable future.
The day kicked off with a session chaired by Barbara Ntumy from London Met University Student Assembly called ‘No More Austerity.’ This session featured high profile guest speaker Natalie Bennett (leader of the Green Party), Chris Hazzard (Sinn Fein Northern Ireland Assembly Member), Sam Fairbairn (People’s Assembly Against Austerity), Mick Burke (Economists Against Austerity and Socialist Economic Bulletin) and Lindsey German (Stop the War Coalition).
Later in the day we discussed ‘Taking on the Tories: building the student fight back’ with Shakira Martin (NUS Vice President Further Education), Sabby Dhalu (Stand Up To Racism), Ali Milani (President of Brunel Union of Students), a campaigner from Focus E15 Campaign and Daniel Blaney (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, CND).
We also had excellent, interactive workshops on the following themes:
- Fighting for free education: no to cuts, privatisation and student debt
- The hardest hit: fighting cuts, bigotry and inequality
- Standing up to racism: no to scapegoating and the Prevent agenda
- Stop climate chaos – green jobs now
- FE and the fight back: no to cuts
- Fund education not war: all out to say scrap Trident
A detailed report of each workshop, including points of discussion and actions we have planned will be published in the coming days on our website – watch this space.
Next steps: Get active with the Student Assembly Against Austerity
1. CAMPAIGN FOR FREE EDUCATION – NO TO CUTS, FEES AND DEBT
Our education is under threat. Huge cuts are destroying our colleges and universities. £9,000 tuition fees make Britain one of the most expensive places to study in the world and education is set to become even more inaccessible as grants for the poorest students face the axe.
Earlier this month the Tories launched a new round of attacks with their Higher Education Green Paper. This proposes to allow the ‘best’ universities to increase tuition fees and invite more private providers into higher education.
This comes on top of massive cuts already taking place in further and higher education.
The Student Assembly Against Austerity is coordinating a national week of action from Monday 8 – Sunday 14 February.
We want to see campus protests, rallies, banner drops, public meetings, film showings, stalls, creative stunts, petitioning, postering, leafleting and much more!
Want to organise something for the week of action on your campus? Drop us an email to let us know.
2. FUND EDUCATION NOT WAR – SCRAP TRIDENT NATIONAL DEMO
2016 is decision time. Parliament is set to decide on whether or not to replace Britain’s nuclear weapons system: Trident. This will cost an enormous £100 billion. Britain already spends a huge £39 billion on the military every year – the 5th highest of any country in the world.
On Saturday 27 February 2016 CND is organising a national demonstration to say STOP TRIDENT.
Join Student and Youth CND, the Student Assembly Against Austerity and the Stop the War Coalition on the student bloc to say: Fund Education Not Trident, we want Books Not Bombs.
3. TAKING ON RACIST SCAPEGOATING –UN ANTI RACISM DAY DEMO
As the cuts bite, racist scapegoating and Islamophobia is on the rise. The student movement has a proud tradition of standing up for equality and diversity.
Join the national Stand Up To Racism demonstration in London on Saturday 19 March 2016. The Student Assembly Against Austerity is organising the student bloc – contact us to get involved.
4. SET UP A STUDENT ASSEMBLY AGAINST AUSTERITY CAMPUS GROUP
The Student Assembly Against Austerity is growing fast and we now have over 30 campus groups across Britain.
Our groups organise a large range of activities including talks, campaigns, film showings, stalls, creative actions as well as mobilising for national protests.
If your campus doesn’t have a Student Assembly group yet, why not set one up? We can offer help and support every step of the way. Each of our local groups also gets a place on our National Committee which democratically decides what the Student Assembly does nationally.
You can also get involved in your local People’s Assembly Against Austerity group – there are over 100 nationwide. Find your nearest one on the website at www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk.
5. SPREAD THE WORD ON SOCIAL MEDIA
We regularly update our facebook, twitter and website with the latest news on campaigns and events against austerity – follow us to keep up to date.