Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Day X 3

The parliamentary vote on tuition fees is scheduled to take place on 9th December, folks. Roll up, roll up, come one, come all - that's the day to be on the streets raising hell. I spent the afternoon talking to the very pleasant and thoughtful students occupying at UEL. The sense that we can win it, that we're in it to win, not merely to protest, is palpable. We can break this government. Look at them retreating already. Lib Dems talking about 'abstaining' on a policy devised by their own government. Cable saying he will abstain for the sake of 'party unity' - as if he isn't scared of his party members finding a spine between them and chucking the Orange Book crowd out of the leadership. The government saying they will delay the introduction of changes to Housing Benefit. Look at Ed Miliband in the Evening Standard today, trying to hitch a ride on the back of the student protests.

This movement is already leading, forcing others to adapt, and leaving those who don't adapt eating the dust trails - and in its present form it's only a few weeks old. Imagine what it can do if it keeps growing, and keeps going. Imagine what it can do in coalition with the organised labour movement. And that's something to think about, by the way, if you're a public sector worker facing the sack. These students can shake things up this much in such a short space of time. They've shown that militancy, commitment, imagination and tactical flexibility can do wonders. Trade unions have operated cautiously, conservatively for some time, based on a pessimistic meta-induction from the outcome of the miners' strike, which says that the militancy never wins. But the workers have the power to bring this country to a standstill. The workers have the power to break this government if they want to. The workers have the power to put an end to a system that rewards bankers and spivs, and punishes the people that keep this country going.