Nov 9th – Walkout, March, Shutdown London!

Walk out! MarchShutdown London!

Bring Down the Government!

Build a mass, independent, integrated youth-led civil rights / immigrant rights movement!

A year ago a new movement was born in mass student actions. Young people were the first to challenge the coalition government’s cynical attacks on our education and the social welfare protections established over 60yrs. November 2010 saw our momentous break from business-as-usual, when students took over Millbank Tower and the Tory HQ. In the two months following we walked out of classes together, marched and shut down the streets of central London, occupied college buildings, and inspired older generations to remember what it means to fight for your future with optimism and unity. Many of us had never marched before. We were creative, learned new tactics to avoid or break free from police kettles. Standing together, different schools and colleges of every background, meeting people we would never have known otherwise, and backing each other up, we were transformed, newly learning to speak with our own voice –independent of the cynical interests of all the main political parties.

The student movement that sprung to life in Britain last autumn is part of a global struggle against inequality, poverty and oppression – a struggle for a better future in which youth are everywhere in the front-line. This world-wide movement takes different forms, bursts out anew now here, now somewhere else. Here and there it ebbs for a time, while we absorb the lessons of our successes and failures, but each national struggle has an impact on all the others, from France, Italy and Greece to Britain, Ireland and the USA, from the mass demonstrations that brought down dictators in Tunisia and Egypt to the student revolts in Chile, Uganda and elsewhere.

Everywhere in the world the past year has seen our new movement grappling with how to fight, and Britain has been no exception. The youth uprisings of August 2011 in London and other cities were another step in our struggle. The uprisings by youth in many of the poorest and most discriminated-against communities were an outpouring of anger at growing poverty, inequality, police racism, record levels of youth unemployment, government attacks and the whole corrupt political system. Thousands of us across the country were asking the question how do we assert that we are powerful too, and that we dont accept the sacrifice of our futures to save the lifestyles of the rich? Government policies have ignored and defied young people’s demands; as Martin Luther King said in 1963, “Riots are the language of the unheard”.

Shut Down London! Bring Down the Coalition Government!

This movement of which we are a part terrifies the rich and powerful everywhere. They know our struggles are a response to the economic depression that is caused by their greed. They are attacking our communities and the poor and oppressed communities in other countries in order to protect their own wealth, and they know we will keep fighting to defeat those attacks.

Now we must push forward and relaunch our movement in this new term. The 9th November is the day of the first mass student actions of the new term. It will be quickly followed by further actions on the 30th November. Black and Asian, immigrant, poor and working class youth must take the lead and make this a period of escalating action that will Shut Down London. Our communities are hardest hit by Government cuts; we have the most to gain when we win and the most to lose if we don’t. Our determination to win can be decisive and inspire millions.

If our actions shut down London and spread to our communities – East London, Hackney, Brixton, Peckham, Harrow, Tottenham… and other cities, we can Bring Down the Coalition Government. This is a corrupt, scandal-ridden government, faced by a worsening economic crisis it can’t control. Its only policy is to attack the poor, but both the Tories and the Lib.Dems know that this will further weaken the economy and cause more social unrest. They are divided among themselves, and against each other. The main prop holding up the Government is the phoney ‘opposition’ and real collusion of the Labour Party. Labour leaders agree with the main aims of the government’s anti-poor policies and carry them out in local councils; they try to sabotage any real fight against the cuts, but they want the government to take the blame so they don’t want an election yet. To stop the cuts and the attacks on education our movement has to smash this rotten deal between the politicians and bring down the government.

We must build organisation to achieve this. The Movement for Justice is the organisation that stands on this strategy, that is building an independent, integrated, youth-led civil rights / immigrant rights movement, knows the oppressed can win, and is always speaking to and for the oppressed.

Education is our right not a privilege!

At the beginning of the year we won a victory when the government said it would keep the EMA for those of us who had already started courses. In the two weeks after the uprisings the Government responded by changing their course and declaring that FE students on benefits would not have to pay tuition after all. This would not have happened without our action, but these limited U-turns weren’t enough to stop the decline in student numbers in FE colleges caused by the abolition of EMA and the charges colleges are demanding on some courses; nor were they enough to stop the 12% drop in university home applications caused by the hike in fees that take effect next year.

Now the government has announced plans for university education that spell the end of the promise to deliver equality of opportunity through a public education system. Though the promise has never been properly honoured, many poorer and ethnic minority students have been able to go to university in recent generations. That will be reversed if we don’t defeat the government plans to open universities up to privatisation, turn HE into a complete market-place, and push poorer students into cut-price two-year, so-called ‘vocational’ degrees designed to suit employers’ short-term interests.

We will not accept the death of our dreams, or the view that knowledge and creativity be the privilege of a rich elite. When politicians attack our equal right to quality education they attack democracy itself.

Build an independent movement of students linked to the black, Asian, Muslim, immigrant, poor and working class communities!  To defeat the Government’s plans, stop the fee hikes and restore EMA we must learn lessons from our actions last November and December, and from struggles elsewhere, so we can be better organised, politically clearer, and able to employ tactics that can win. Our movement last autumn was popular and we inspired much of the country with our boldness –but the truth is the government won the votes in Parliament last year, not because it is so strong but because we didnt exercise our social power enough because there wasnt enough social unrest on our streets, in our communities and at our educational institutions.

Our movement has the courage and determination to fight for a real victory, but we lack the political leadership and the organizational capacity we need. Too many of the leaders of today’s youth and student struggles across the globe glorify building “leaderless movements” that lack a clear and precise political program, an accountable leadership and clear tactical aims. Embracing this anarchist political philosophy will lead us to a series of bruising and demoralizing defeats. Our movement does not have to be a moral protest movement, always righteous and always losing. We cannot fear unleashing our own power. Organized and on the move, the oppressed possess more power than the rich. If we overcome the racism, fear and prejudices that divide us, we can save public education and defeat the whole free market program of destroying the public sector.  Movement for Justice exists to unite the best, most serious activists in a single integrated and diverse democratic organization lead by a group of elected battle-tested leaders, so that we can win. We must continue to grow.

Students are the most powerful force in education.  Student “leaders” who cede all power and decision-making authority to the trade union leadership, the do-nothing, self-proclaimed community ‘leaders’ and the Labour Party politicians either don’t recognize this reality or fear the anger, determination and will to win of students and youth in action more than they fear the consequences of the cuts and privatization! We cannot let our new movement become subordinated to dead-end maneuvers with trade union bureaucrats or the current NUS leaders. These leaders are tied to the Labour Party and will tie our new movement to the Labour Party, which has refused to commit itself to reversing the cuts even when it comes to power.

Movement for Justice understands that the greatest strength of our new movement is precisely what our enemies fear the most: the anger, determination and power of those who have most to lose young black, Asian, Muslim, other ethnic minority, immigrant, poor, working class and oppressed students in schools, FE colleges, universities, and communities.

If we rebuild the dynamism of the student movement on this basis and organise mass student mobilisations in our schools, colleges and universities and for the demonstrations on 9th & 30th November, we can SHUT DOWN LONDON! BRING DOWN THE COALITION GOVERNMENT!

Join the Movement for Justice. Get in touch to start an MFJ group at your school, college, sixth form or Uni.  07504084033   @followMFJ

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