Friday, 12 November 2010

Lets condem the real perpetrators of violence

On Wednesday 52,000 students marched through London. The demonstration was peaceful and good natured. It is good to see that a new generation of British students has woken up and begun to realise that the class war being waged by the ConDem government against the poor, unemployed, disabled and low-paid extends to the right to have a higher education.

During the demo a few thousand students occupied 30 Millbank, which is the site of the Tory Party HQ. Windows were broken, placards were burned, there was the usual pushing and shoving with the police, and some idiot threw a fire extinguisher off the roof. This, and in particularly the latter incident, was manna to the right wing press who described the occupation as an orgy of violence. It was nothing of the sort. It was an expression of the righteous anger of a generation of students who know that they have been screwed, and betrayed by the politicians who promised not to let that happen. This is the same media who were cheerleaders for a war in Iraq where 1 million people died.

The reality is that higher education has been privatised, not out of necessity, but because of Tory 'free' market ideology. The Liberal Democrat MPs, Like Nick Clegg, who all pledged to end tuition fees for students, are entitled to change their minds. But what they cannot do is claim that a rise in fees is necessary, that is the real dishonesty of Nick Clegg's position. The rise is fees from £3000 to up to £9,000 is a matter of choice not necessity. The Lib Dems said they would phase out tuition fees within six years.

Of course, it has been claimed that only students benefit from higher education, and that they should pay. Funny that very few people thought that at decade ago. We all benefit from higher education by having a better educated population that has people with the skills that this country needs. Students often don't get well paid jobs and the idea that they all end up on top salaries is nonsense. The tuition fee rises row hides that fact that the government are making massive cuts of 40% in higher education. Many courses, particularly in the arts, and some universities, will close. We will all be the poorer as a result. These cuts are being driven by 'free' market fanatics who are bailing out a failed capitalist system. These people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

The breaking of windows and throwing of a fire extinguisher are being used by the political right to hide the real violence which is being perpetrated by the ConDem government against the most vulnerable in our society. Violence means causing people harm - that is what this government is doing.

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