National free education demo called for 4th November
At its summer conference in Sheffield yesterday, the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) voted to call a national demonstration for free education in London on 4th November.
The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts is a national student organisation campaigning for free education. Various student groups across the country are affiliated with NCAFC—including the Young Greens of England and Wales.
The demonstration is intended to be a rallying point for resistance to the government’s programme of cuts, fees and marketisation in higher and further educations, and will fight for a positive vision for a free, liberated and democratised education. Slogans around the defence of migrants will also be raised, calling for an end to deportations and for detention centres to be shut down.
Participants at the conference voted to support disruptive direct action, both during the day of the demo and around it. NCAFC will also call for regular local marches for free education, bringing together students, workers and the wider community. The first of these will be called for 24 October. Additionally, NCAFC will work to mobilise students in occupying their campus following the demo.
NCAFC will seek the support of a variety of education unions, including the UCU and NUT, who have already voted to support the idea of a demonstration, and NUS, which has thus far refused to call the demonstration but is expected to endorse NCAFC’s demo at its July NEC meeting.
A similar demonstration under the banner of ‘Free education: no fees, no cuts, no debt’ last year saw around 10,000 in attendance and made national headlines; this year’s is anticipated to be significantly larger. NCAFC has been organising large national demonstrations and direct action since 2010.
In addition to rallying student resistance against the government’s attacks on education, this national demo presents an excellent opportunity for the Young Greens. As an organisation affiliated to NCAFC, and the youth branch of the largest party in England and Wales supporting free education (as well as the largest youth party in the UK) the Young Greens will be able to mobilise its over 21,000 members and stand at the forefront of the fight for free education. Young Greens groups across the country will have the opportunity to reach out to students in colleges and university campuses; initiate conversations about free education up and down the country; organise local actions, marches and occupations; and send a massive contingent to London in November.
Of course, no single demonstration by itself can win the fight for free education. But a national demo drawing tens of thousands of students marching through London in the middle of the week, combined with occupations, actions and marches in colleges and universities across the country, can send a clear message to the government that the student movement is not going away, will fight against all further attacks on education, and will continue to call for free education until it is won.
The Facebook event page for the demo can be found here.