The following is a letter written to Indymedia Scotland and the reason I have posted it here is that I fully agree with the writer's sentiments. The student movement should not fight in isolation hoping to sort out something on education cuts. To quote the millionaire twins, "we are all in this together", the fight is a matter of self defence for the whole of society, excluding the millionaire parasites who at this moment in time are calling the shots. The ideology that is being forced onto the ordinary people of this country affects everybody, workers, students, unemployed, claimants, pensioners, the sick, those with mental health problems, housewives, single parents, couples and children. These groups should not be left alone to fight their own battles, like the letter says, the state is powerful, has limitless resources at its disposal and will pick the groups off one at a time. It is only through linking up and working in co-operation across the full spectrum of society with true solidarity can we win this fight. It is a defining battle, if the ordinary people lose there will be a totally corporate society, a society with no social welfare, everything provided by the private sector, at a price, and if you can't afford the price then it will be an appeal to a charity. We will have become a society of profit providers for the corporate world with no say in the shape our society takes. On the other hand, if we win, we can start to create a society that will see to the needs of all our people, a society built on the simple principles of mutual aid, voluntary co-operation and free association based on sustainability. We can create a society that frees all its members from the fear of deprivation. However, it will take courage, co-operation and organised solidarity. We can draw on lessons from some of our victorious battles of the past, to mention two, the 1915 Clydeside rent strike and the 1980's poll tax struggle. Solidarity and direct action was the key in both these victories.
More on Glasgow working class history, HERE.
Dear Student Anti-Cuts Protesters,
Thank you. You are an inspiration. You have lit the blue touch paper. But now is not the time to stand back. I was proud to be part of the tremendously successful Edinburgh University-led protest and occupation yesterday. There was a huge turn-out for an Edinburgh protest, and the sudden occupation of the university took everyone by surprise. I am not a student: I'm currently a benefits claimant, and was marching with the Edinburgh Campaign Against Poverty. One of the reasons I am most proud of the Edinburgh protest is that it made an active effort to work in solidarity with workers, benefits claimants, and all others affected by the cuts. As in London, we were all also delighted and impressed by the number of school students who came too. This is an aspect a number of the University anti-cuts campaigns are missing, and that's what I'm writing to you about now.
Your struggle is not isolated. You are not alone. All those affected by the cuts – workers, claimants, families, everyone – should be proud of you and impressed by you, because you have with rage and love and energy led the charge against these repressive and unnecessary cuts. Workers are being betrayed by the TUC just as students are being betrayed by the NUS: currently so many in Britain are waiting and hoping for organisations to work for cross-class struggle against the cuts. You can contribute to that.
This government, for all its flimsy rhetoric, is incredibly powerful. States are powerful. You do not win a fight against a state, with all its apparatus of power – from police who beat us up to teachers who punish schoolchildren for their brave protest “truancy” – unless you work across social groups, across classes, in solidarity with the huge diversity of people who are struggling with this government.
University student protesters, you are privileged. Many, if not most you, have far more financial freedom and time than many affected by the cuts (though certainly you will suffer terribly from them); many of you are white, or male, or have other markers of privilege. It is easier for you to protest and occupy than it is for many, because you will face less repression and have more freedom, and so you have a responsibility to use that power for others.
So do not let your struggle against fees be compartmentalised. Do not let the anti-cuts fight be divided. Go out and meet with trade unions, with workers and their councils, with disability and LGBTQ rights groups, with women's groups, with those fighting for their benefits, with everyone who is affected by the cuts. None of us will win alone. Together, we can. Do not be parochial. Do not let your struggle be the only reported struggle, and do not waste the power you have.
This is not to say that you must come and rescue the struggling poor or oppressed minorities. That would perpetuate structures of privilege and oppression. What I am saying is that you are organised, and that you are starting to be heard, and that all the other organised groups who have to struggle harder to be heard need you to work for them.
Be strong. Use your privilege. Extend your fight. Make it stronger. Show solidarity – but also be active in your solidarity. I say this without pretension or apology for sincerity: your country needs you.
This letter has been written quickly and not gracefully. It is propaganda. It is flawed. I am currently too busy working and fighting to spend much time writing the philosophical arguments and journalistic analyses. But you can find those elsewhere and I will link to as many as I can find as soon as I can; there are people struggling and writing on all fronts. I am not the only voice telling you this. I am not the only voice asking for your help.
We are already together. We are already strong. Onwards!
ann arky's home.