UK Student movement

Workers' Liberty students

Student activists in Workers' Liberty argue for working class socialist ideas and campaign on issues like freedom of movement, anti-racism, workers' rights, international solidarity and free movement. Usually, every Monday from 6-7pm, Workers' Liberty Students hold informal online political discussions on a wide range of topics with the emphasis on current and relevant struggles. Summer term programme will run from 26 April 2021. Summer term programme will ve: • Monday 10 May: What lefty students should do when they graduate • Monday 17 May: How to fight sexism • Monday 24 May: Solidarity with...

More in-person action on campuses

One hundred students protested at SOAS University in London on 10 May, rejecting an investigation into racism in the institution as insufficient and demanding the removal of director Adam Habib. Petitions, online actions, and motions in the student union and Unison union branch have been organised since back in March the director delivered a racial slur in response to being challenged about cuts to the African Studies department and the failure to address direct racial discrimination on campus, back in March. Students have been challenging Habib’s position as director since his interview with...

Wave of student action

Students are protesting in occupations and rallies on campus around UK universities, finally able to employ in-person direct action after a year of mostly online organising. Rallies have been organised at the London School of Economics (LSE), Goldsmiths and SOAS in London, and the rent strike campaigns have launched a wave of occupations in Manchester, Nottingham, and two Sheffield universities. On Wednesday 28 April, 300 people rallied at LSE in central London. The lively crowd heard speeches from the fee and rent strikes going on at the university, as well as from the SOAS fee strike...

Occupying to win our demands: an interview with a Sheffield Hallam rent striker

Workers' Liberty spoke to James C. from the Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) occupation. This is an escalation of the rent strikes that have been going on all term. The uni have refused to meet with the rent strike. They’ve ignored us. So this is an attempt to get their attention and force them to meet with us. We want them to open a dialogue with the rent strike. And since the occupation began they have agreed to that. The second demand is that we want them to to threaten to break the nomination agreements they have with private halls providers if they don’t pay students their rent back. The...

Wave of action in universities to fight cuts

The summer term at UK universities has opened with direct action by students involved in rent and fee strikes — a last push in this academic year to win our demands. Student rent strike activists at Nottingham University, Sheffield Hallam, Sheffield University and Manchester University have occupied university buildings. When two Sheffield Hallam students were filmed being pinned to the floor by security guards, as they went into occupation in the Cantor building, there was a big push back on social media; this was seen to be typical of the way students have been treated all year. Elsewhere —...

Student conference: an illusion of engagement

The year leading up to the 2021 National Union of Students conference (online, 6-9 April) has seen a revitalising of the student movement, and has thus raised interest in orienting NUS to be a visible campaigning force. Under the left-wing presidency of Larissa Kennedy, NUS has supported the movement against fees and rent through the Students Deserve Better campaign, even if the work has been primarily “lobbying” higher powers, and the claimed victory of £50 million in government support for students falls way short of the £700 million that is demanded. Conference was opened with positive...

Student campaigns make links

On 1 April student organisers from five London universities met to reflect on lessons and steps forwards for fee strike action. Over 200 students remain on fee strike across Goldsmiths and SOAS, whilst UAL (University of the Arts, London) and LSE (London School of Economics) students are building support among international and postgraduate students, who remain the only groups capable of withholding fees. The strike at RCA (Royal College of Art) is somewhat diminished due to management bullying and threats of border controls against visa-dependent students, but some students are still on...

"Kick the racist out!" Rebellion at Pimlico Academy

Republished from our school workers' blog Class Struggle On Wednesday 31 March, their last day of term, almost a thousand students at Pimlico Academy, the flagship school run by Future Academies, sat down in the playground and refused to go to lessons. The students were protesting a racist school uniform policy, which instructed students with afro hairstyles to cut their hair and students wearing hijabs to cover all of their hair; miserly and “humiliating” free school meal provision; the failure to support students that have been sexually assaulted at school; a whitewashed history curriculum...

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