Union representatives sign statement in support of Millbank protests

A statement supporting the Millbank protests has been signed by representatives of University of London Students’ Unions.

Clare Solomon, ULU President, Michael Chessum, UCLSU Education and Welfare officer and Sean Rillo Raczka, Chair of Birkbeck council all signed the statement (in full below).

The statement has also been signed by Alex Callinicos, a Professor at King’s College London.

The statement was produced by Mark Bergfeld, who sits on the NUS NEC.

THE STATEMENT IN FULL:

We need unity to break the Con Dems’ attacks – Stand with protesters against victimisation.

Wednesday’s national NUS/UCU 50,000 strong national demonstration was a magnificent show of strength against the Con Dems’ savage attacks on education. The Tories want to make swingeing cuts, introduce £9,000 tuition fees and cut EMA. These attacks will close the doors to higher education and further education for a generation of young people.

During the demonstration over 5,000 students showed their determination to defend the future of education by occupying the Tory party HQ and its courtyards for several hours. The mood was good-spirited, with chants, singing and flares.

Yet at least 32 people have now been arrested, and the police and media appear to be launching a witch-hunt condemning peaceful protesters as “criminals” and violent. A great deal is being made of a few windows smashed during the protest, but the real vandals are those waging a war on our education system.

We reject any attempt to characterise the Millbank protest as small, “extremist” or unrepresentative of our movement. We celebrate the fact that thousands of students were willing to send a message to the Tories that we will fight to win. Occupations are a long established tradition in the student movement that should be defended. It is this kind of action in France and Greece that has been an inspiration many workers and students in Britain faced with such a huge assault on jobs, housing and the public sector.

We stand with the protesters, and anyone who is victimised as a result of the protest.

If you want to sign this statement please e-mail teneleventen@gmail.com

This statement has been issued by myself and other activists in a personal capacity

Mark Bergfeld, NUS NEC

Sean Rillo Raczka, Birkbeck SU Chair and NUS NEC (Mature Students’ Rep)

Vicki Baars, NUS LGBT Officer (Women’s Place)

Alan Bailey, NUS LGBT Officer (Open Place)

Kanjay Sesay, NUS Black Students’ Officer

Matt Bond, NUS Disabled Ctte (Open Place rep)

Michael Chessum, Education and Campaigns Officer UCL SU

Jade Baker, Education Officer Westminster Uni SU

Cameron Tait, University of Sussex Students’ Union President

Nathan Bolton, Campaigns Officer Essex University Students’ Union

Clare Solomon, ULU President

Jim Wolfreys, UCU NEC

Dr Marion Hersh UCU NEC and Scottish Executive

Alex Gordon, President, National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers (RMT)

Lee Hall, playwright ‘Billy Elliot’

Hilary Wainwright, Transational Institute

Alex Callinicos, Professor of European Studies King’s College London

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