Tuesday, March 2, 2010


This Saturday over 300 students and university workers came to King’s College London to unite and fight against the cuts in higher and further education, at a mass teach-in hosted by the London Education Activist Network. Participants included lecturers who have defeated cuts through industrial action in Tower Hamlets College and Leeds University, and students who have been campaigning to defend their education in universities from Sussex to Strathclyde.
After a day of lively workshops, the electric final session included a report from Nikos Lountos, an Athens student who reported from the general strikes in Greece. Popular left-wing academic Terry Eagleton warned that the economic crisis was being used as a pretext to radically restructure universities. And perhaps the warmest response was given to Lesley McGorrigan from Leeds UCU, who explained how an active and political union branch could unite its members and defeat the resolve of management.

The teach-in was a success, but it was only the beginning. Delegates agreed on a plan of action (below), including regional teach-ins to replicate the experience of the day on our campuses, a regular bulletin to coordinate actions and campaigns on a national level, and a pledge to build resistance and solidarity in defence of jobs and education.


Education is under attack. Up to a third of university funding – £2.5bn – is to be cut, 30 universities could shut down and over 14,000 lecturers may lose their jobs. Big businesses exert more and more control over the university system. Cuts in student places and higher fees could exclude many people from higher education altogether.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Education workers are winning through strike action. Student protests are taking off across Europe, with universities occupied to stop neoliberal reforms – and to take control of campus for another kind of education. From this conference we resolve build on this resistance, and:

1. To support, build and encourage action against education cuts through demonstrations, student occupations and industrial action. To build solidarity with these struggles through inviting strikers, occupiers and others to speak at our college/union/campaign meetings; organising petitions, collections, and solidarity demonstrations and occupations.

2. To organise regional teach-ins on the Take Back Education model. To launch regional education action networks from these that can help develop local networks of resistance and spread the kind of action that can win.

3. To organise a national coordination from here to help coordinate and spread our resistance nationally. This coordination should produce and distribute without delay a national bulletin carrying reports and announcements from this teach-in and the developing local struggles. It will help to spread the resistance when people move into action.

4. To mobilise for and support the London wide demonstration called by London region UCU to defend education on March 20th and other initiatives such as the no cuts at Westminster demonstration on Monday 1st, the Leeds UCU demo Thursday 4th march, and No Cuts @ Kings protest on sat 13th march.

5. To recognise the cuts in education as part of a broader attack on the public sector, and the need for solidarity across the sector. To support and mobilise for the national demonstration against public sector cuts on the 10th April.

6. To organise through our respective trade unions, students unions, local anti-cuts groups, campaigns and organisations support for a national demonstration to defend education in the autumn.

Over 200 staff and students at the University of Westminster have protested, stormed the board of governors meeting and are currently in occupation, vice-chancellors office, in regard to recently proposed tutoring and administrative job cuts.
For more details, see their blog.

We aim to produce the first of the bulletins in time for the rallies at Leeds and UEA this week. If you would like to subit any reports, announcements or photos please reply to this address. Articles will also appear at https://www.educationactivistnetwork.wordpress.com/