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The Coalition government's Health and Social Care Bill will reach the report stage in the House of Lords on February 8 prior to its Third Reading in the Lords. The Bill will then return to the House of Commons for consideration of the amendments before it receives the Royal Assent.
At the same time, the government is proceeding with the measures contained in the Bill before it has been passed by Parliament. For example, there are proposals in the Bill to place the commissioning of NHS services in the hands of GP consortia. Speaking of the fact that these are already being implemented, Rehana Azam, the GMB’s national officer for the NHS, said: “It’s the height of irresponsibility to put these untried and untested new organisations in charge of a quarter of the NHS budget without proper parliamentary approval.” The GMB’s research showed £29 billion of the NHS’s £106 billion funds has been given to family doctor-led Clinical Commissioning Groups, he pointed out.
The government, through cuts in budgets, is also encouraging the break up of key services allied to medicine such and podiatry, and almost all prevention of ill health programmes that are presently attached to the NHS and local authorities in England. With another provision of the Bill, they are preparing to launch their “Any Qualified Provider” which will allow the private sector to compete for NHS services on a case-by-case basis. Such measures as tendering out services and “any qualified provider” are being introduced with the big lie that this will improve quality when in fact they are destabilising the health care system so that it fails to meet the needs of the people whilst increasing the costs to society.
In spite of the passage of the Bill through both Houses, opposition to the Bill is continuing from doctors, nurses and health care professionals and their trade unions and professional organisations. For example, already 42,000 people have signed a new government e-petition1 with the target being 100,000. NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar in the face of this opposition made clear that the reforms to the administrative structures of the NHS and the huge cost involved are a “distraction” when the government is at the same time cutting the NHS budget by £20 billion over the next few years. He said “We are therefore increasingly worried by the lack of clinical support for the reforms and the fact clinical opposition to the changes has hardened in recent days.”
The admission that the opposition to the Bill has hardened shows that this opposition is continuing to be consolidated and is based on the conviction that if the workers’ movement and the movement among the people do not take a stand against the wrecking of the NHS and fight for the alternative based on the right to health care, then the consequences will be very serious for society.
Such a reckless aim for the NHS as is being pursued by the government cannot be justified and reflects the minority interests of global monopolies to maximise their profits at the expense of the health care system in Britain. It is worth noting that it is recognised by almost all that these aims exist in the present legislation introduced by the previous Labour government that increasingly aimed to involve the private sector through the setting up of the private competition for health contracts in the name of the “commissioner provider split”. However, what the present government represents is the impatience of the global monopolies to accelerate this take over of the NHS. They are behind the grenade that the government has thrown into the NHS in the shape of the present Bill and it is this that has focused almost 100% opposition from society that has left the government completely isolated.
For the Workers’ Opposition, this raises the vital question of what the aim of the movement to safeguard the future of the NHS must be. It cannot be limited in any way to an outlook that accepts the right of the monopolies to dictate to society as they do now through the cartel of Westminster parties that represent this dictate. Whether it is the present legislation of creeping privatisation through “commissioning” and the introduction of a market into health care, or the Coalition government’s grenade that they have thrown into the NHS, they both represent the prevalence of monopoly right over public right. This is the problem that needs solution. The safeguarding of the future of the NHS is not just about this present Bill but it is about building the resistance and organisation that undermines and overthrows the monopoly dictate in parliament and throughout society. The challenge that the Workers’ Opposition takes up is for the prevalence of public right over monopoly right in political, ideological and economic life of the country.
1. Link to e-petition http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22670
Speculation of a new round of quantitative easing has been growing recently. With the announcement of a contraction in GDP in the final quarter of last year, the Investors’ Chronicle tells us that “economists expect the Bank's monetary policy committee to respond to this by announcing more quantitative easing, probably at its next meeting on 9 February”.
Quantitative easing has been called “printing money”. In the Bank’s own words: “Instead [of physically printing more banknotes], the Bank buys assets from private sector institutions – that could be insurance companies, pension funds, banks or non-financial firms – and credits the seller’s bank account. So the seller has more money in their bank account, while their bank holds a corresponding claim against the Bank of England (known as reserves). The end result is more money out in the wider economy.”
In capital-centred accounting, an “asset” is something from which the holder of the asset expects to receive some future financial benefit. Debt, such as a bond (for instance, 2 ½ % Treasury Stock 2013), is considered an “asset” because the amount borrowed and the interest is payable to its holder by the party that issued the debt (the word “issuer” is used to mean the borrower). And this is what the Bank of England is talking about when it refers to “assets”.
For example, a government bond is a contract to repay borrowed money, where the government owes the holder of the bond a debt and is obliged to pay interest. Corporate debt is the same, except that the issuer of the stock is a company. With quantitative easing, the Bank of England generally buys government and high-rated corporate bonds, where “high-rated” means bonds issued by companies with a high credit rating. These are generally big companies and monopolies.
Debt is therefore considered an “asset” when used as a place to invest capital and receive interest. This is a far cry from the negative connotation of the word debt when used in connection with the national debt and so-called need to pay the deficit as a justification for cuts in social programmes. In this connection, debt is considered as a liability. That investment in social programmes is considered a cost and not an obligation for the public good underlies the terms of the discussion over quantitative easing as a supposed stimulus to “the economy”, in which government debt is considered on the one hand an asset, on the other a liability, from the standpoint of finance capital laying its claims as the only claims that are sacrosanct.
It is where the Bank “credits the seller’s bank account” that money is created out of nothing, which ends up in “the wider economy”. In summary, the Bank of England buys existing government and corporate bonds from various financial monopolies, who have (ultimately) previously bought them from the government and private corporations. These monopolies receive this money-from-nothing in return, in the end reflected in greater bank reserves, which banks may then either hold on to or lend out at interest. In effect, the Bank has electronically “printed money” and paid it to the rich.
The sheer arbitrariness of creating billions of pounds from nothing is itself an exposure of capital-centred decision making over the economy. It raises the question: if this can be done, why cannot money simply be created to fund social programmes rather than paying the rich?
Rather, we are to be satisfied with arguments such as this: the effects of the buying of debt by the Bank are to increase bank reserves, which they can then loan out, “funding” business projects, and to increase the market price of bonds by reducing their supply and consequently reduce their yields (rates of return). This filters into the wider debt market as the big investors who sold the Bank their bonds buy substitutes to invest their capital. The knock-on effect is that medium to long-term interest rates fall, lowering the cost for businesses to borrow, helping “economic growth”. Meanwhile the holders of bonds – again, particularly the financial monopolies that hold large quantities – can sell them at profit in the short term while their prices are rising and get richer. This so-called “wealth effect” of enriching the rich is supposed to help us all as their confidence to spend and invest rises.
This kind of “trickle-down” deception will not wash, however. Not one speck of actual wealth has been created at all, and what happens when the “asset bubble” bursts goes unsaid. The real source of all wealth is the value added by human labour to the products of nature. Commentators have already exposed the myth. Dhaval Joshi of BCA Research argues that “QE cash ends up overwhelmingly in profits, thereby exacerbating the already extreme income inequality and the consequent social tensions that arise from it.”
The experience of the last round of quantitative easing has shown that banks have tended to “keep” their new money rather than lending it out, so even by their own terms, the “monetary stimulus” has not materialised as envisaged. Bank of England governor Mervyn King admitted in October that he could not guarantee that a new round would mean that lending by commercial banks will rise. Indeed, Joshi suggests that “QE1... just handed banks lots of extra money which they used to speculate on commodities such as oil, boosting their price, pushing up inflation and making life even harder for cash-strapped consumers”.
In general, the inflationary pressure of quantitative easing, due to the greater quantity of money circulating for a given amount of production, is well known, though this is complicated by factors such as the hoarding of the created money in bank reserves. Research quoted in The Guardian suggests that the first round of easing added 0.75% to 1.5% to inflation. Quantitative easing is an arbitrary attempt to distribute what has not been produced, creating disequilibrium with the potential for outright havoc in the economy.
The financial oligarchy is tightening its grip on all aspects of society, and quantitative easing is consistent with the demand of the financial oligarchy that no solution can be found which does not channel to it further tribute from the economy. Indeed, the whole issue is being raised and posed in such a way as to tighten the grip of the financial oligarchy on the direction of the economy, and freeze out any serious discussion of an alternative direction.
Only an effective Workers’ Opposition with its central role in production has the power to block this dictate and ensure that more is put into the economy than is taken out. Rather than arbitrariness, the Workers’ Opposition favours conscious intervention in and control over the economy. This in part requires the development of public not-for-profit financial institutions, in place of the contorted system of for-profit private financing that extracts wealth out of the economy every step of the way. This is a component of the demand for the alternative, for a new direction for the economy. This demand, despite the attempts of the government and financial oligarchy, is one which is increasingly being reflected in the consciousness of the workers’ movement, and one which must be strengthened. The situation typified by quantitative easing as a means for paying the rich which further concentrates wealth in their hands, underlines the urgency of the need for the working class to have a decisive say in this new direction for the economy, one which upholds a genuine responsibility towards the socialised economy. The crucial task for the Workers’ Opposition is how to organise to turn the situation around and bring this about.
In a joint statement issued on Monday, January 23, Prime Minister David Cameron, together with the German Chancellor and the French President, announced that Britain and other EU countries had agreed to implement further economic sanctions against Iran. These include an embargo on the purchase of Iran’s crude oil by EU members, various measures against the Central Bank of Iran and other economic sanctions.
According to the joint statement, Britain and its allies “will not accept Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon”, and have placed an even greater onus on that country to prove the “exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme”. Britain and the other big powers are now demanding that Iran immediately suspend what is referred to as its “sensitive nuclear activities”, and accuse it of “already exporting and threatening violence around the region”. This new display of sabre-rattling by the EU follows the imposition of financial sanctions already imposed by Britain, the US and Canada late last year. Australia has now also joined the anti-Iran coalition. It marks a significant escalation of the warmongering approach taken by Anglo-US imperialism and its allies. The new sanctions were accompanied by the announcement that six British, French and US warships were en route to the Straits of Hormuz, the vital sea route that some Iranian politicians have threatened to close in retaliation.
The new sanctions were immediately condemned by Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, who expressed his country’s view that they “did not help matters”. Russia has also been critical of the actions and the November report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which have created the conditions for the recent bullying of Iran by the other big powers. Lavrov added that despite such threats and bullying there was still an expectation that a new round of talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) would soon take place. The Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China has also expressed its opposition to further sanctions. In recent years China, Russia and Iran have drawn closer in order to oppose any NATO expansion in the Gulf region or in Central Asia.
Britain, the US and their allies have been attempting to interfere in Iran and regain their former domination of the country since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. In recent years, their preferred approach has been to use the IAEA as their main weapon of intervention and to accuse Iran of attempting to develop a military nuclear capability, which constitutes a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to which Iran is a signatory. Their tactics here are reminiscent of those used against Iraq prior to the invasion of that country. Iran has denied such accusations, but nevertheless since 2006 has had various sanctions imposed on it by the UN Security Council. In November, the IAEA issued its latest report on Iran suggesting that the country may still be engaged in “some activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device”. Iran denies these allegations and has already announced that senior IAEA officials will visit the country next week.
The Iranian government not only has to contend with the sanctions and bullying of the British government and its allies. There is also the added threat of Zionist Israel, which has not ruled out a military strike against Iran, and is widely believed to be carrying out covert attacks against the Iranian nuclear industry, including the recent murder of an Iranian scientist. There is no doubt that today, as in the past, Zionist Israel is being used as a cat’s paw in the region in order to create conditions which may be favourable to the warmongering NATO countries.
The British government has been at the forefront of the recent attacks against Iran, which are not unconnected with its efforts to intervene together with its allies in Syria. The government may attempt to justify initiating such interventions with alleged concerns about Iran’s nuclear industry, or the political divisions that have been encouraged in Syria. But the fact is that such moves are based on the desire of Britain and its allies to strengthen their geo-political advantage throughout the region, to secure greater control of the mineral wealth of this region and the major arteries for its transport. At the same time, the warmongering actions of Britain and the other NATO countries also signal an escalation of the contention with their main rivals, Russia and China.
The contentions between the great powers, and in particular the warmongering actions of Britain, the US and their allies, are creating an increasingly dangerous situation in the world. In these circumstances, all peace-loving people must be extremely vigilant and must raise their voices to condemn the warmongers. At the same time, it is necessary to step up all the struggles to bring into being an anti-war government in which the say of the working class and people will be decisive in putting an end to crimes against peace.
Sign at left reads: "The Malvinas are Argentina's"; right: protest outside British Embassy
in Buenos Aires, Argentina, January 20, 2012. Signs read: "British Out of the Malvinas."
The Coalition government has approved a contingency plan to increase its troops in the vicinity of the Malvinas, which will heighten the conflict with Argentina over the Islands, usurped by Britain in 1833. Its plans call for the rapid deployment of troops in the area via Ascension Island. It already has a garrison of 1,700 troops on the Malvinas, almost equal to the local population. Added to this, it is suspected there are nuclear submarines in the area, given the Defence Ministry’s refusal to confirm or deny the question.
Prime Minister David Cameron on January 18 accused Argentina of “colonialism” for insisting on its sovereign claim to the Islands, which provoked an angry response from Buenos Aires, demanding that London accept the UN resolution on a peaceful negotiated solution to the conflict. Meanwhile, Cameron who, according to The Times, is pushing for military escalation said that he was determined to ensure that UK defences and everything else is in order on convening the UN Security Council to address the situation of the Malvinas.
Argentina's Senate accused Britain of breaking a United Nations resolution forbidding unilateral development in disputed waters, by beginning oil drilling under a seabed off the Falkland Islands. In a statement, the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee said they condemned "any acts of exploration or exploitation of natural resources in the illegally occupied territories by foreign powers, such is the case of the Falklands". The senators said that "the Argentine Parliament and all related political forces demand that the United Kingdom starts accepting the UN resolution over the Malvinas matter".
What Is Britain Up to in the South Atlantic?
In a February 23, 2010, article entitled, "South Atlantic: Britain May Provoke New Conflict with Argentina," Rick Rozoff points out that on February 22, 2010, the British Desire Petroleum company started exploring for oil and gas 100 km north of the Malvinas.
Argentina immediately filed a formal protest with the British government saying, "Neighbouring Argentina, which lays claim to the islands, is fiercely opposed to the drilling." Argentine President Cristina Fernandez called the actions 'unilateral and illegal' and a breach of Argentine sovereignty.
"There continues to be systematic violation of international law that should be respected by all countries...," Fernandez said.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said at that time, "We support unconditionally the Argentine government and the Argentine people in their complaints. That sea and that land belong to Argentina and to Latin America."
Indicating the dangerous dimension a new British-provoked altercation with Argentina can escalate into, he also said at the time, "The English are still threatening Argentina. Things have changed. We are no longer in 1982. If conflict breaks out, be sure Argentina will not be alone like it was back then."
While highlighting the military threat posed by Britain off the coast of Argentina, he alluded to a British submarine site in the Malvinas and said "we demand not only [that] the submarine platform be removed, but also [that] the British government follow the resolutions of the United Nations and give back that territory to the Argentine People."
In late December, Britain conducted a two-day military operation off the coast of the Falklands/Las Malvinas which included the use of Typhoon multi-role fighters and warships. The exercises, code-named Cape Bayonet, "took place during a tour of the Falklands by British forces ahead of the start of drilling in the basin in February 2010" and "simulated an enemy invasion..."
A news report at the time added, "Britain has strengthened its military presence in the Falklands since the  war and has a major operational base at Mount Pleasant, 35 miles from the capital Stanley.
"The prospect of the islands transforming into a major source of oil revenue for Britain has raised the military's argument for more funding to beef up the forces in South Atlantic."
Four days before British drilling began off the islands, Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated, "We have made all the preparations that are necessary to make sure that the Falkland Islanders are properly protected," although Argentine officials have repeatedly denied the possibility of a military response to British encroachments and provocations in the South Atlantic Ocean.
On the same day, February 18, Argentina's Vice Minister of Foreign Relations Victorio Taccetti accused Britain of "a unilateral act of aggression and subjugation" in moving to seize oil and gas in the disputed region. Buenos Aires has prohibited ships from going to and coming from the Falklands/Las Malvinas through Argentine waters.
What is at stake are, according to British Geological Survey estimates, as many as 60 billion barrels of oil under the waters off the Falklands/Las Malvinas.
In late January, a Russian military analyst explained that even that colossal energy bonanza is not all that Britain covets near the Falklands/Las Malvinas and further south.
Ilya Kramnik wrote that "along with the neighbouring islands controlled by the UK, the Falklands are the de facto gateway to the Antarctic, which explains London's tenacity in maintaining sovereignty over them and the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, as well as territorial claims regarding the South Shetland and South Orkney Islands under the Antarctic Treaty."
Regarding Antarctica itself, "Under the ice, under the continental shelf, there are enormous mineral resources and the surrounding seas are full of bio-resources. In addition, the glaciers of Antarctica contain 90% of the world's fresh water, the shortage of which becomes all the more acute with the growth in the world's population."
A Chinese analysis of over two years earlier described what Britain in part went to war for in 1982 and why it may do so again: Control of broad tracts of Antarctica.
"The vastness of seemingly barren, ice-covered land is uncovered and exposed to the outside world, revealing a 'treasure basin' with incredibly abundant mineral deposits and energy reserves... A layer of Permian Period coal exists on the mainland, and holds 500 billion tons in known reserves.
"The thick ice dome over the land is home to the world's largest reservoir for fresh water; holds approximately 29.3 million cubic kilometres of ice; and makes up 75% of earth's fresh water supply.
"It is possible to say that the South Pole could feed the entire world with its abundant supplies of food [fish] and fresh water... [T]he value of the South Pole is not confined to the economic sphere; it also lies in its strategic position.
"The US Coast Guard has long had garrisons in the region, and the US Air Force is the number one air power in the region."
The feature from which the preceding excerpts originated ended with a warning: "[T]he South Pole [Antarctic] Treaty points out that the South Pole can only be exploited and developed for the sake of peace; and can not be a battle ground. Otherwise, the ice-cold South Pole could prove a fiercely hot battlefield."
Two days before the May 13, 2009, deadline for "states to stake their claims in what some experts [have described] as the last big carve-up of maritime territory in history," Britain submitted a claim to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf for one million square kilometres in the South Atlantic reaching into the Antarctic Ocean.
An article in this series written five days afterward detailed the new scramble for Antarctica initiated by Britain and Australia, the second being granted 2.5 million additional square kilometres in the Antarctic Ocean in April of 2008.
A newspaper in Britain wrote about London's million-kilometre South Atlantic and Antarctic ambitions beforehand that "Not since the Golden Age of the Empire has Britain staked its claim to such a vast area of land on the world stage. And while the British Empire may be long gone, the Antarctic has emerged as the latest battleground for rival powers competing on several fronts to secure valuable oil-rich territory .The Falklands claim has the most potential for political fall-out, given that Britain and Argentina fought over the islands 25 years ago, and the value of the oil under the sea in the region is understood to be immense. Seismic tests suggest there could be about 60 billion barrels of oil under the ocean floor."
Last autumn a Russian news source warned: "Many believe that the 1982 war between Britain and Argentina with almost 1,000 servicemen killed in the hostilities was all about oil and gas fields in the South Atlantic. In this sense, Desire Petroleum should certainly think twice before starting to capitalize on what was a subject of the bloodbath in 1982..."
Regarding the territorial claims submitted by Britain last May (still in deliberations at the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf), the report pointed out London's "eagerness to expand its Falkland Islands' continental shelf from 200 to 350 nautical miles, which would enable Britain to develop new oil fields in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands," and ended with a sombre warning:
"Given London's unwillingness to try to arrive at a political accommodation with Buenos Aires, a UN special commission will surely have tougher times ahead as far as its final decision on the continental shelf goes. And it is only to be hoped that Britain will be wise enough not to turn the Falkland Islands into another regional hot spot."
Unlike the first South Atlantic war of 1982, when the regime of General Leopoldo Galtieri garnered no support from other Latin American nations, a future standoff or armed conflict between Argentina and Britain over the Falklands/Las Malvinas will see Latin American and Caribbean states acting in solidarity with Argentina.
If Britain succeeds in provoking a new war, it in turn will appeal to its NATO allies for logistical, surveillance and other forms of assistance, including direct military intervention if required. In addition to the US and Canada, Britain's NATO allies in the Western Hemisphere include France and the Netherlands with their possessions and military bases in the Caribbean and South America.
Britain is playing with fire and if it ignites a new conflict it could rapidly spread far beyond the waters off the southern tip of South America.
1. Radio Netherlands, February 22, 2010
2. Associated Press, February 22, 2010
3. Reuters, February 22, 2010
4. Reuters, February 22, 2010
5. The Times (London), February 23, 2010
6. Xinhua News Agency, February 23, 2010
7. United Press International, December 28, 2009
9. Reuters, February 18, 2010
10. Xinhua News Agency, February 19, 2010
11. Russian Information Agency Novosti, January 28, 2010
12. People's Daily, December 4, 2007
14. Reuters, October 7, 2007
15. "Scramble For World Resources: Battle For Antarctica," Stop NATO, May 16, 2009
16. The Scotsman, October 23, 2007
17. Voice of Russia, September 16, 2009
(Sources: “Britain Increases Military Presence on the Malvinas”, TML Daily, January 25, 2012, http://www.cpcml.ca/Tmld2012/D42006.htm "South Atlantic: Britain May Provoke New Conflict With Argentina," Rick Rozoff, Stop NATO, February 23, 2010, http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/south-atlantic-britain-may-provoke-new-conflict-with-argentina/)
The student movement has started 2012 with a momentum generated by a number of actions at the end of last year. We give a brief overview of some of the events that closed 2011.
A wave of occupations and other actions were organised in conjunction with the November 30 public sector strikes.
Thirty students occupied Essex University’s Lecture Theatre Building theatre on November 30 to both support the strikes and to demand free education for all. They were also protesting against changes to accommodation services and privatisation of universities. Setting up a social space, they discussed the alternative and solutions to the problem, as well as their vision for the future of education.
Thirty students from Royal Holloway entered occupation of the management corridors at their university on the same day in protest against cuts to education and public services. Furthermore, the occupation was aimed at creating a forum for students to discuss the issues of the changes proposed to the education system. Analysing the Higher Education White Paper, entitled “Students at the Heart of the System”, these students drew the conclusion that “the report in fact goes as far away from this concept as possible”, and “can be broadly understood as a hurried and jumbled attempt at opening a market in the higher education sector, remodelling students as consumers and universities as service providers.”
Fifty students in Aberdeen occupied their university on November 29, demanding that the university principal publicly condemn the coalition government’s agenda of cuts and privatisation of Further and Higher Education institutions.
A week earlier, students at Birmingham, Bloomsbury, Cambridge, York, Warwick and Edinburgh occupied their universities in solidarity with public sector workers. Students occupying Edinburgh University left on November 30 after a week-long occupation, to go and join the strikers.
Students at the University of the West of England, the University of East Anglia, Sheffield, Liverpool and Warwick also occupied university buildings during that time and into December.
No Confidence Motion
On December 3, students at University College London voted overwhelmingly for no confidence in Provost Malcolm Grant, following his appointment as the Chair of the new NHS Commissioning Board. Students rejected this association of their university with the government’s attack on the Health Service.
Anger has also grown at Grant’s vision for universities. “Grant’s administration of UCL has revealed a narrow, business-oriented, anti-academic vision of education and research – one disturbingly similar to that found in the government’s White Paper for Higher Education,” said Ben Towse, President of the UCL Postgraduate Association.
Malcolm Grant has also been criticised for victimising protest on campus. According to Michael Chessum, the proposer of the no confidence motion, “he has pursued prominent activists through the High Court, taken action that has led to his own students being arrested from their Halls at the crack of dawn, and had students fined for challenging him in lectures.”
Students at Birmingham University ended the year fighting a High Court injunction banning all “occupational protest action” on campus for twelve months. Breaking the injunction could result in fines, asset seizure and imprisonment. Students have nonetheless sworn to protest on campus against the ruling and are to organise a national mobilisation on Birmingham campus if the injunction is not dropped.
Sheffield University earlier lifted its similar year-long ban on protest after its students’ union contested the claim.
Right to Education
The main focus of the student movement continues to be the struggle to guarantee the right to education, as part of the wider youth movement to take control of their future by ending their marginalisation and asserting their claims on the society to which they were born.
Students reject the claims by the big parties that education is a privilege and that there is no alternative to shouldering the burden of the crisis through ever-higher fees. To guarantee the right to education in practice requires a change in the direction of the economy so that the government stops paying the rich and invests in social programmes. The right to education is an issue for the whole of society and by defending that right, students are defending the rights of all.
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