The NUS have over the past couple of weeks come under criticism for perceived lack of action after the 10th November demonstration. Many feel the NUS, and in particular its president, Aaron Porter, have been too slow to support the occupations of uni buildings across the country. This has weakened the campaign. However, Aaron Porter has finally come out in his recognition of the legitimacy of occupations and walk-outs and spoken at the UCL occupation.
In his statement, Aaron Porter apologised for his ‘dithering over the past few days’ and admitted the NUS had been ‘spineless’ in its lack of support – an apology which was received warmly by students at UCL, and indeed in other universities and colleges.
Meanwhile, the University of Plymouth occupation also continues in the Roland Levinsky building. I give my full support and solidarity to these students and hope to visit them over the next week if the occupation continues. Trade unionists are being invited to speak and offer their practical support in terms of food, bedding and company. This truly is becoming a united movement.
Students in London are also uniting with rail workers and members of the RMT and TSSA unions, led by the respected comrade Bob Crow. Over 100 sites are being picketed, and students launched a campaign a couple of days ago in support of the workers’ industrial action against mass firings and the subsequent impact on passenger safety. The Facebook page of the campaign can be found by clicking here.
Sussex University students published their list of demands to the university heads yesterday, calling for the university to oppose the cuts and for solidarity between workers and young people fighting against forced austerity.
The Education Activist Network and NCAFC are working together in anticipation of the second Day of Action, dubbed Day X2. Students from Truro College, Green Party members, Labour activists, trade unionists and other pressure groups will be demonstrating as part of Day X2 in Truro, in opposition to the budget which aims to cut spending by over £110m. I am informed by councillors that Truro Council are unanimously against the cuts, regardless of party differences, and a large percentage of the Unitary Council oppose the budget. Our presence there at 8am on Tuesday may therefore be what is needed to successfully persuade councillors to reject the unfair budget and aim for a fairer and progressive alternative for Cornwall.