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From: The Socialist issue 1066, 27 November 2019: Vote for jobs homes, services. Tories out, Corbyn in. Fight for socialist policies.

Search site for keywords: University - Unions - Student - Students - Union - Socialist Students - Democratic rights

Resist attacks against free speech on campus - fight for democratic student unions!

Socialist Students bloc on the anti-Trump demo, 4.6.19, photo Naomi Byron

Socialist Students bloc on the anti-Trump demo, 4.6.19, photo Naomi Byron   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Students

At a time when a general election is taking place, and students are discussing how to fight for free education, affordable student housing, and a decent quality of life after university, serious attacks on democratic rights on campuses across the country are being perpetrated.

These include the outrageous scandal of the blanket banning at Bradford University of all political societies by the student union.

This is in addition to news that at Sussex University the student union has banned students and societies from either campaigning or canvassing on campus during the election period.

Meanwhile, at Southampton University, the student union has instructed societies that they will have to abide by a decision of the student union's annual general meeting on whether or not to support University and College Union (UCU) strikers, or face being derecognised as official societies.

These represent nothing other than a blatant attack against the right to free speech and the rights of students to organise, campaign and protest on campus.

These attacks come at a time when the salaries of university vice-chancellors are at an all-time high - the average vice-chancellor pay rose by 3.5% last year, from 245,000 to 253,000, while nearly half of vice-chancellors were paid over 300,000!

At the same time, there is a huge fightback taking place in our society. University staff on campus are taking eight days of strike action between 25 November and 4 December against the bosses attacks on their pay, workload and pensions.

Meanwhile, students on campuses, as well as in schools and colleges, and young workers also, are discussing what is the best way to kick out the Tories at this election, and what kind of policies and programme a Corbyn-led government needs to adopt to end austerity once and for all, and fight for a future for young people.

These attacks against democratic rights are designed to undermine the efforts of staff striking back against austerity and marketisation on campus, as well as students looking to fight to end Tory rule. Socialist Students demands that all of these anti-democratic attacks banning students from campaigning on campus are immediately reversed.

We also demand and campaign for the transformation of student unions into organisations which fight for student rights, alongside the restoration of democracy within all student unions, including the reestablishment of regular, all-student general meetings, organised by the local student union.

Socialist Students rally and conference

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our Fighting Fund.

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Article dated 27 November 2019

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Leicester picket on the 21st strike day (22nd Feb) of around 7,000 British Gas engineers.  They are fighting against

Leicester picket on the 21st strike day (22nd Feb) of around 7,000 British Gas engineers. They are fighting against 'fire and rehire' - designed to worsen terms and conditions. Photo by Steve Score, Leicester Socialist Party

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