Maintenance & support staff at University of Birmingham are celebrating near-total victory as university management have abandoned restructuring plans. 361 Hospitalist and Accomodation Services (HAS) staff faced compulsory redundancy, pay cuts and being forced to work anti-social hours under plans announced in March; the £407,000-a-year pay packet of the Vice-Chancellor would have been unaffected. The [...]
No to the Normalisation of Fascism Yesterday afternoon, York University’s student newspaper, Vision, published an unashamedly pro-fascist editorial on the eve of a student union referendum on a no platform policy. The piece, titled “We are all fascists at heart”, defends not only Sunderland FC manager and open fascist Paolo Di Canio but the extreme-right [...]
By Edmund Schluessel, NUS NEC elect Since mid-April, Swansea Metropolitan University’s students’ union has been running a food bank so its own students can get enough to eat. Students’ Union sabbatical officer Michael “Smike” Twitchen, who launched the scheme, told the Socialist Students: “I have seen a number of students who have come to see [...]
Socialist Students member Edmund Schluessel has been comfortably elected to the NUS national executive council. Socialist Students also stood Belfast Met Students’ Union President Neil Moore for the FE places on the Block of 15, although Neil wasn’t elected, he got a very credible vote.
No to the Normalisation of Fascism
Yesterday afternoon, York University’s student newspaper, Vision, published an unashamedly pro-fascist editorial on the eve of a student union referendum on a no platform policy. The piece, titled “We are all fascists at heart”, defends not only Sunderland FC manager and open fascist Paolo Di Canio but the extreme-right ideology itself, with statements like “Fascism does not have the best reputation. Much of the negative reaction comes from its perceived marriage to racism and bigotry. However, fascist ideologies say little about race” and “A healthy respect for authority [...] is the cornerstone of functional and successful societies.”
The article itself is poorly argued in addition to being reactionary, and those wishing to complain are urged to do so by e-mailing email@example.com; YUSU president Kallum Taylor asks to be carbon-copied in on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The article’s publication however underscores a deeper problem: while solid resistance by socialists and other anti-fascists has largely driven organised fascist groups like the BNP, EDL and National Front to the farthest margins of British political life, the lack of loud working class response not just against fascists but against fascism has allowed extreme-right ideas to enter the mainstream with little challenge, particularly on issues like the treatment of immigrants and people with disabilities. George Osborne’s new “shares-for-rights” policy for workers, which passed the House of Lords last week, was part of the BNP election manifesto!
The main parties though are too big to be No Platformed. We need mass tactics, and a mass movement, of students and workers so we can unite not just against individual fascists, but against fascism itself, and the capitalist system fascism is a part of.
By Edmund Schluessel, NUS NEC elect
Since mid-April, Swansea Metropolitan University’s students’ union has been running a food bank so its own students can get enough to eat.
Students’ Union sabbatical officer Michael “Smike” Twitchen, who launched the scheme, told the Socialist Students: “I have seen a number of students who have come to see me about their finances for all kinds of reasons. Our aim is that no student should sacrifice food for education, and many students are forced to choose between paying bills, getting the rent in on time, buying books, and buying food. And too often, food and healthy diets are put last on the list of purchases.”
While the Welsh Assembly provides a small and inadequate living grant for full-time undergraduates, many of Swansea Met’s students are part-time, mature students living off campus and with families. The scheme is the first in UK universities, but more are sure to come and food banks for students are already commonplace in the United States and Canada.
The news broke the day after university vice-chancellors put out a call to change the terms of undergraduates’ loans. VCs want students to start paying back their loans when their income is only £18,000 a year, far below the UK average. With recent graduates only barely scraping by if they manage to get a job, adding an additional £75 to their monthly bills would be a kick in the teeth sure to dissuade thousands from going on to higher education – with underemployment now epidemic, many students wouldn’t even be making use of their degree in their first job after graduating.
There is plenty of money available to eliminate tuition fees and provide every student, full-time or part-time, with a maintenance grant, as was done before Thatcher. Instead of stopping tax evasion by the rich, the government is cutting their tax bill. The Welsh Assembly have proven they’d prefer to go along with Westminster than stand up to them and provide an alternative. We need a mass movement of students, workers and the unemployed to build a democratic, socialist education system: free at the point of use and accessible to all, regardless of age, ability or income. Education shouldn’t be a struggle to survive, it should help people enjoy life.