Saturday, 11 December 2010

Solidarity messages around and about

A selection of messages from diverse set of groups from Britain and abroad who have sent messages of support to students and staff fighting higher education cuts.

The National Federation of Geography Students of Argentina supports unconditionally
the occupation of university buildings and other means of strike led by students and scholars of the University of Birmingham against education cuts and privatization of the Conservative-led coalition in power. As an organization that has the fight for

free and public education for all as a core objective, we send you our warmest
greetings of solidarity in these times of struggle. We know that the political
environment is not helping you, due to the broadly apathetic attitude of today’s
British society, but it is delightful to see from the South that you have stroke the political scenery with a strength that surprised everyone, and to see that there isalready evidence of steps forward in the lobbying of politicians who will decide on tuition fees this Thursday and later as well.

Our Federation was born in the year 2000, as part of the popular struggles against
cuts in education, as well as in health and other key welfare areas. In those years
we made it to stop the introduction of fees in public universities, and thanks to
those mobilizations today our universities are still public and free. In other
words, we won! That is why we want to tell you that.. it is possible, comrades.
Struggling never is worthless, and the taste of victory is unbeatable. You will win
this fight, and all around the world we will celebrate this victory for public and
free education for all.

We will keep an eye on the development of these events, and please let us know how
we can help. From the land that gave birth to Che Guevara we say… Hasta la victoria siempre!


To our British sisters and brothers in struggle

Please welcome our solidarity from Mexico. We have known about the heroic
struggle you are undertaking in defense of free education in your country,
and we salute it enthusiastically. In Mexico, same as in the rest of the
world, we all suffer from the attacks to public education from a government
working for the big capitalistic groups. Recently, our government has
decided to allocate a large portion of the budget for education to the
absurd war against the narco that has led to the murder of thousands of
citizens, the majority of them being youngsters. The struggle you are
leading is an example for students that fight against state policies to
restrict access to education to millions of young people all around the

We will stay alert about your struggle and we are here for all the support
we can offer to you from Mexico. Revolutionary greetings for you all!


Students of the Socialist Workers’ Party of Mexico (POS-México)



John McDonnell MP, LRC Chair, said:

"The LRC believes all fees should be abolished, the student grant restored
with free education funded from general taxation. There is no need for extra
fees or a graduate tax. This Coalition government will be condemned by a
generation for marketising education and making university education an
elite privilege again.

"We wholeheartedly back the students and we call on all Labour MPs,
including the shadow Cabinet, to join the demonstrations and back the

"This is no time to stand on the sidelines. The Labour Party and wider
labour movement should back the students' inspirational struggle."

The LRC is a democratic membership organisation on the Labour left. It has
over 1000 members across the UK and over 100 affiliates, including six
national trade unions.

In Parliament John McDonnell voted against the introduction of tuition fees
and against top-up fees, and on 9 December will vote against raising the
fees limit. John has also been on and spoken at student demonstrations and
occupations in the last month.

and in Spanish 

A los estudiantes en lucha de Gran Bretaña
Queridos compañeros y compañeras:

Reciban un fraternal y combativo saludo del Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas. 
Actualmente nuestro gremio es víctima de un ataque del gobierno derechista de 
Felipe Calderón que intenta destruir nuestra organización sindical y privatizar 
el servicio público de energía eléctrica.
Estamos enterados de que la Cámara de los Lores acaba de aprobar la propuesta 
del Primer Ministro, James Cameron, de elevar al triple el pago de las
colegiaturas. Este medida constituye un injustificable ataque a un derecho 
humano fundamental: el derecho a la educación. En nuestro país este derecho está 
garantizado, de manera totalmente gratuita, desde la educación básica hasta la 
universidad. Aunque este derecho está consagrado por la Constitución, distintos 
gobiernos neoliberales mexicanos han tratado de conculcarlo desde hace varias 

Su lucha, es también la nuestra. Es también la lucha de millones de personas que 
en el mundo nos hemos levantado en contra de la liquidación del Estado de 
Bienestar, en provecho de un puñado de multimillonarios capitalistas.
Esta lucha recién comienza y los reveses iniciales no deben desmoralizarnos. 
Deben ser lecciones que nos permitan avanzar en nuestra capacidad de 
organización y definir mejor nuestros objetivos de lucha. Una de esas lecciones 
debe ser la de ser capaces de actuar unidos a escala internacional para 
enfrentar a nuestro enemigo común: los grandes señores del dinero y de la 
guerra. Los mismo que ahora se lanzan a devastar la libertad de expresión 
persiguiendo a la página Wikileaks y a su representante Julian Assange.
Ratificamos nuestra solidaridad con vuestra lucha y nos comprometemos a 
participar en las acciones de movilización que ustedes propongan.

¡ Trabajadores y Estudiantes del mundo, uníos!
“Por el Derecho y la Justicia del Trabajador”
México D.F. a 10 de diciembre de 2010

Secretario del Exterior

José Luis Hernández Ayala
Móvil 55 9191 7210

Monday, 6 December 2010

Lib Dem MP for Yardley, Birmingham : Office occupied and closed down

At Midday today members of 'Stop Cuts and Fees Birmingham' closed down John Hemming's constituency office on Coventry road, Yardley.
John Hemming is a Lib Dem MP and we hope that this action will encourage him to keep the Lib Dem pre-election promise - no rise in tuition fees - and vote against the proposed tuition fee rise which will be decided in parliament this Thursday the 9th.
Details are still coming in, but watch this space for more information and pictures.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Video of Students Shutting Down Topshop in Birmingham - 04.12.10

Video Footage here:

In Birmingham, around 15 protesters shut down Topshop, BHS, Vodafone and Burtons in protest against an alleged tax avoidance of £300 million by Philip Green, who is to be made a government advisor as part of the cuts programme.

The demonstrations were mostly peaceful, apart from security guards in the Bull Ring shopping centre forcibly removing protesters by carrying & dragging them outside, and also physically forcing the press to stop taking photographs & removing them from the premises. Protesters moved from Topshop in the Bull Ring, which they had already infiltrated before the official action started, to BHS, Vodafone and finally Burtons. They chanted, handed out leaflets and explained to members of the public their reasons for demonstrating. The day of action ended peacefully, with the protesters heading off to the pub with an unintentional police escort.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Full version of Redbrick Article

I am writing in redbrick to try and give people an idea of recent events from what I would call an activist perspective. Space is limited so I will start by stating a few positions and then will move on to justifying specific actions. 
In his redbrick article David Eastwood puts himself across as being forced to raise fees in order to compensate for cuts in public funding. He fails to mention that he actively campaigned for the cuts through his role in the Browne review and that there are other methods of making up for the gap in funding besides raising fees. The university is currently sitting on a budget surplus of £45 million; in the last nine years management pay has risen from £3.15m to 13.3m and the vice chancellors salary has risen 102% to a staggering £342,000p/a (possibly higher). The strain of cuts is not being evenly shared.
Despite what any vice-presidents have said the guild did not support any protest on the 24th, all the publicity and organising was done by Unison and students independently from the guild.
The assertion that most economists “agree that our budget deficit needs to be cut radically in order to maintain our AAA credit rating” and that cuts are “inevitable” is simply untrue. I don’t have time to list all the economists that are against cuts but three Nobel laureates have been particularly vocal about their opposition.  The ongoing stimulus in Japan and the US, as well as the fact that Ireland’s deficit actually increased as a result of austerity show that cuts are anything but inevitable.

When talking about activism I think it is important to establish a philosophical framework. The position of Redbrick, the guild and practically all students is that we must oppose fees and cuts so this is a conversation of what action to take. Any action needs two things to justify it 1) that it is morally acceptable and 2) that it will help the cause.  I think that considering the destruction the cuts will inflict on the majority of our society all action taken thus far (except perhaps the fire extinguisher) is justified on the first count. Destroying a few windows or police vans (let alone occupying buildings) is insignificant compared to the destruction of jobs and life chances. On a local level both the occupation and the banner asking Eastwood to resign increased the media coverage enormously. Without these Birmingham would probably not have been mentioned instead of the high profile media coverage it received.  The attitude of “nothing’s ever been achieved on a roof, I don’t see the point in it” is completely misplaced. Occupations and sit-ins have been an integral part of almost all popular movements from the Chartists to the Civil Rights Movements.  On a national level students are achieving much already. The interplay between anger driven and peaceful protests has proved very effective. The more sensational protests ensure high media coverage while the peaceful ones ensure the kind of big tent movement that will be needed for change. The anger and willingness of students to take part in protests has already moved the Labour Party from their position two weeks ago of wavering over fees to a well publicised and vehement opposition to them. The student movement, and its reception by the country, is encouraging unions that we can fight cuts and that we can win. When the Government’s cuts start to bite and people start losing their jobs and their homes, they will be able to see that there are large sections of society that will support them against the government’s unfair, unnecessary and Ideological austerity. Any popular movement starts with charges that it cannot change anything and these can only be answered by ensuring that it does. 

Thursday, 2 December 2010

If they won't chase them - we will!

04 December · 13:00 - 16:00

LocationWaterstone's Bullring, Birmingham

Created by:

More infoAt the same time as making massive cuts to public services, this government is letting rich individuals and corporations avoid billions of pounds of tax. Join the peoples "Big Society" Revenue & Customs (BSRC) and become part of an army of citizen volunteers determined to make wealthy tax avoiders pay.

- If they won't chase them, we will, is that not want the torys want? a army of volenteers filling in for the cuts?

If you are not already Join the Birmingham anti fees and cuts update phone tree: text “no fees” to 07902141208.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


Emergency assembly at 6pm tomorrow meet guild reception!

The chips are down and it’s the 11th hour for education, the government, desperate to railroad cuts and fees through parliament have set the vote for the 9th of December, where the future of education will be largely decided. 

Join the national demonstration against rises in tuition fees, an end to EMA, and the cuts agenda, Get the word out. Get organising!

We are meeting at 2pm tomorrow outside the main library on Birmingham university campus to start chalking and leafleting, come join us!

We are meeting at 6pm tomorrow at the reception of the guild (moving from there to another location) to discuss, plan and organise.

We are meeting for a second emergency assembly again Friday 5pm in the guild of student’s reception. 

We are meeting at 1pm by the bullring waterstones, to target a mystery tax dodger in town, join us!

We need cars, if you have a car reply to this message, we are organising lift sharing!

We need you most of all! Join our phone tree text no fees to 07902141208 to receive updates of meetings and actions.

In solidarity 

Stop Fees and Cuts in Birmingham