Open Co-ordination Meeting National call-out
Calling all students! We are calling for an open, national co-ordination meeting and demonstration on the University of Birmingham campus. We have recently organised occupations at our respective universities, fighting for a public education and offering solidarity to workers’ struggles, and are seeking continued and growing momentum in the national student movement.
The last few weeks have seen the biggest upsurge within the student movement since 2010. The revitalisation of the student movement is a success in itself, but if we do not launch a stronger, and more sustained fight then students’ and education workers’ rights will be pushed further and further down the agenda.
We need co-ordination - a shared set of demands challenging the agenda of austerity, privatisation and worker exploitation. We want to build the momentum of the broad student movement, establish stronger campaigns at campus level, end the repression of student protests- by university management and police, and make a real contribution to workers’ struggles. A means to co-ordinate and organise, through and open and accessible forum, against the neoliberal agenda and aggressive repression will enable us to strike harder, ensure a maximum level of resistance, and achieve our demands.
We need action - a programme of demonstrations, blockades, occupations and other actions across the country. The University of Birmingham is home to VC David Eastwood - the second highest paid vice-chancellor in the country, member of the Browne Review that called for £9k frees and proponent of further tuition fee rises, to £16k. Just a few weeks ago the University of Birmingham took two of its students to court, attempting to charge them with legal fees of up to £25k for an occupation involving hundreds of Birmingham students. The recent injunction for occupational-style protest on Birmingham campus is the second of its kind within two years on this campus, and the tip of the campaign to intimidate students: the university have - just yesterday - started to sent out disciplinary letters to students involved in the occupation. The threat of disciplinary proceedings is frequently used against students engaging in peaceful protest by the University of Birmingham management in a repressive fashion, to intimidate those wishing to express dissent. A national demonstration here, would be a good starting point to bringing the focus of the student movement and media reaction from London and Sussex to a nation wide campaign. The stronger the protests in London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Sussex and other centres of struggle - and the larger the number of protests elsewhere, big or small - the more impact we will have.
With that in mind, we are calling for a meeting of student activists from all over the UK to come to Birmingham on the 29nd January to discuss the path forward for the campaign, with the following three aims:
To develop a national set of demands based on the campaigns already initiated on campuses across the country, surrounding issues such as solidarity with campus workers’ struggles; the implementation of a living wage for all university staff; fighting the privatisation of the student loan book and rising tuition fees; fighting the marketisation of higher education and opposing cuts to staff, courses, bursaries and vital services.
To develop a co-ordinated action plan for the coming months, bringing together activist groups from universities across the country.
To defend our right to protest in the face of police and university repression in the form of arrests, injunctions, disciplinaries and suspensions.
This is an open meeting so everyone is welcome. This is an opportunity for ideas from all corners of the student movement to be shared, developed and built into a co-ordinated strategy forward.
29nd January, at the University of Birmingham.