This autumn, or spring in the southern hemisphere, Chile has been witnessing a series of student-led protests which have seen tens of thousands of people take to the streets. The movement has also included student occupations, and linked up with striking workers. The movement began by demanding free education up to university level, as much of Chile’s education sector is privately run for profit, excluding many. But it has grown to include striking miners and environmental protests, fuelled by the economic crisis and united in anger against the right-wing government.
Last night, Saturday the 21st of May, saw upwards of thirty people attend a public meeting on the upcoming June 30th education and civil service strikes. Hosted by the North London Solidarity Federation, the meeting was very practically focused. Attendees talked about their particular workplace or uni situation and highlighted strategies and tactics which have helped them to organize at work and/or begin talking to their co-workers or fellow students about June 30th and why they shouldn't cross picket lines. We discussed what sorts of momentum-building actions could be undertaken in the run-up to June 30th that will ensure education workers and students are not only aware of the issues but feel empowered and confident enough take strike action.
A report back from a student workshop co-ordinated by North London Solidarity Federation, held on 25/01/11 at Queen Mary University in Tower Hamlets.
NLSF co-ordinated a highly practical workshop for students (and anybody else) going on the many demonstrations against the rise in tuition fees and cuts in education spending. First up were the Legal Defence Monitoring Group who laid out the basics of the law that is used against protesters on demonstrations and how to get around it. This was followed up by Fitwatch, the activist group dedicated to combating the oppressive surviellance of the Forward Intelligence Teams that plague demonstrations. The main tips here were to mask up, wear plain clothing, and, when in sizeable groups, prevent the FIT cameras from filming you by blocking their line of sight with placards and banners.
We're publishing here a letter to parents and school staff that we received from a local teacher.
Protests by college and school students on November 24th and 30th were an exuberant festival of disorder. Young people threw down a challenge to adults facing threats to our livelihoods from the all-party cuts currently starting to kick in. Students as young as twelve got out on the streets, stepping out of their allotted roles and creating a vibrant, positive response to the vicious attacks that their generation are facing. At one Brighton school over 550 pupils walked out - a third of the total school population - as well as hundreds from other Brighton schools and Lewes Priory.
Tremough Campus occupation report (university of exeter)
30 of us are currently in the busy lower stannary building occupying and sitting in against the education cuts. We are refusing by direct action to pay for the crisis of the bankers and greedy politicians who are ruthlessly putting profits before people. Students in the occupation understand that this action must be followed by a wider workers movement against education cuts and the public sector massacre in general. Falmouth is already one of the poorest cities in the European Union, and this university is at the heart of its local economy and culture, brutal cut backs now will throw back all the progress made in the area back into a bleak era of thatcherism.
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.