Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Massive London demo against the cuts

Students and lecturers have carried off a 52,000-strong demo against the cuts on a weekday, more than double the expected turnout. They've had a sit-down protest in parliament square, seen off riot cops, who apparently waded into the crowd only to be forced to wade back out again, and an estimated thousand have even occupied Tory HQ in Millbank. Socialist Worker has been carrying rolling live coverage all day, so I recommend you check in and check it out. If you ask me, that's the beginning of the fightback. It reminds me a bit of the anticapitalist demos in London at the turn of 2000s, in terms of its militancy, and the fact that it happened in the middle of the week - but it's actually much bigger than any of those protests was. I've been speaking at universities across the country, and have been told a few times that the student left is starting to rebuild itself. Of course, that's an easy impression to get when you're talking at Goldsmiths (currently in occupation), which has always had a sizeable left, but universities that haven't seen left-wing activism for yonks are said to be seeing a revival. And not a moment too soon, because if the Tories get their way then higher education is finished for millions of working class people. In fact, there are quite a few universities that won't even be around in a few years if the cuts aren't stopped.