On Wednesday, the voice of British students will resonate again in the streets of London. A national march against fees, cuts and privatisation has been called for next Wednesday 9 November, by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, with the support of NUS, UCU and UK Uncut. Starting from Malet Street, this time the students will march not to Parliament, but on the City of London, to join the Occupy LSX protesters. The march will then end at Moorgate Junction, next to London Metropolitan University—one of the university which is suffering most from the public spending cuts as well as having more black and ethnic minority students than all the universities of the Russell group.
The British student movement rose exactly one year ago, with the occupation of Millbank, as is chronicled by the Verso anthology Springtime: The New Student Rebellions, edited by the former ULU President Clare Solomon and Tania Palmieri. As Matt McGregor has written in a review for Bookslut, the book, with its "impressionistic accounts of protests and occupations, compelling radicalism, and excellent historical backgrounds, is a success". Reading the svelte, brisk contributions collected in Springtime —"more a series of clicked links than a typical academic anthology"—one year later, one is under the impression that the student movement has opened a season of change:
This is a real movement, motivated by real fears. The rhetoric of political change is tiresome, unless political change is actually on the cards. This book is rife with the excited hyperbole of collective action, some of which you may have heard before. The difference, of course, is that hundreds of thousands of students actually took to the streets. The unity of the coalition government in Britain was shaken. North African governments have fallen. Silvio Berlusconi recently lost his majority. So, when we hear that "Britain's political landscape has been transformed," perhaps we should halt the upward eye roll. After all, who is to say that it hasn't?
Visit the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts for more information about the student demonstration on 9 November.
Visit Bookslut to read the review of Springtime in full.