On the 29th November, Lewisham held its full council meeting to agree its first tranche of cuts, involving over 400 job losses, cuts to services and the closure of a children's centre. Not yet agreed were proposals to close five libraries.
According to the Independent, Aaron Porter, NUS president is reported to have said "Despite repeated dismissals by Nick Clegg that these are uninformed protesters, students are intelligent, articulate people who are not being listened to by those in whom they placed their hope for a different politics."
But we say...
What the students... should learn is that if they really want a new politics, they need to look further than voting Lib Dem, a party which, unsurprisingly, has demonstrated that it is, when all is said and done, just more of the same old.
The need to look to a truly new politics: not the capitalist joke of a 'democratic' system we live under now.
Residents of Camden protested outside the Town Hall against the Labour-run council proposed, and voted through, cuts of £100 million to local services. People are angry at the threat of 1000 lost jobs, closure of libraries, sports facilities and increased rents.
A wide cross-section of the local population were present, with students and workers of all ages assembling together. The resulting changes to be enacted include; cuts to free nursery and after school provision and special needs education, rents to be increased by 7%, an increased to marry, the Talacre sports centre to be farmed out to an outside contractor, Mornington Crescent sports centre will close, all non-essential building works cancelled, street cleaning scaled back and even hours of street lighting reduced.
£68 million in cuts this year, £25 million next year, £136 million over 4 years.
Plans to cut 50,000 jobs are being discussed. Not only will this mean 50,000 people with no jobs, it will also most certainly hit front line services: the council says that only 4% of it's budget goes on back office services.
"When the county council faced its last major round of cuts and changes to services in 2006, hundreds of people took to the streets of Northampton to oppose the changes and the chief executive said he would not rule out such scenes being repeated when this year’s budget is announced next month."
The budget will be announced on 14th December.
Info from this Chronicle and Echo article.
Initial reports and images from Liverpool London, Brighton and elsewhere on today's events, where Solidarity Federation has a presence for the student anti-fees protests:
Initial estimates suggested a turnout of thousands who brought Lime Street to a standstill, with a fast moving march featuring an attempted sit-down in Castle Street.
While most commenters are agreeing that the protest has been peaceful, police brought out dogs and horses and there have been complaints of "intimidating behaviour." The march was largely halted as of 1pm but quickly got moving again and reached the town hall at around 1.30pm. Hundreds of people filled all levels of the Liverpool One shopping centre, and the protest broke up at around 2.30pm.
Students walking out on 24th November should avoid being trapped outside the Lib Dem HQ, says one of the groups behind the Radical Workers and Students Bloc on the 10th November demonstration. Instead, according to South London's branch of the anarcho-syndicalist Solidarity Federation, those taking action on this day should hold roaming marches blockading general economic targets.
Solidarity Federation, which helped organise the Radical Workers' and Students Bloc at the NUS/UCU education march derides "absurd and patronising" attempts to blame it for damage at Tory HQ - and calls for increasing direct action against cuts.
News reporters have been indulging in some imaginative speculation over the last few days suggesting that the temporary occupation of the Conservative Party headquarters on November 10 was down to an internet conspiracy consisting of, among other groups, the Solidarity Federation. This is sensationalist nonsense.
A campaign of demonisation has started against the students who trashed Tory HQ on Wednesday, who are being portrayed as unthinking thugs. We re-publish here an article about what happened at Millbank by one of the participants.
Breaking glass, building solidarity?
Yesterday was glorious. It was inspiring, fun and yes, ‘anarchic.’ I spent most of it laughing and hollering into the brisk air on those sunlit streets. Scary, huh? The news reports seemed to think it was very serious. That may have been because of the seriousness of the cause for which the demonstration was organised, and indeed the violence of the attack on education by the politicians, directors of institutions and the rest, is far greater than anything demonstrators could have dreamed of doing, even the absolute plank who chucked a fire extinguisher from the roof.
Guides for getting organised
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