Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials, 13 December 2010

13 December 2010

With their usual arrogance, politicians voted to mortgage the future of university students for decades to come - including a number of Lib-Dems who reneged on their election commitments. But then, should anyone trust politicians' promises?

Never mind, that at the same time, outside the Commons, tens of thousands of youth had to face the clubs, horses and kettling of the police, just to have a chance to voice their opposition to this attack. Some "democracy"!

So, a small majority of MPs, elected by a minority of voters, are to get away with forcing the children of the working class majority to start off their lives with tens of thousands of pounds in debt? And the youth are expected to keep quiet about this "democratic" farce?

For the right to free education

Of course, the papers have been quick to portray students as defending their "privileges".

Ironically, though, the same papers were even quicker to shed tears over the distraught faces of Charles and Camilla, portraying them as "victims" of the protestors. But if these parasites are so divorced from reality that they chose to drive into the protest in their chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce on their way to a concert, don't they have only themselves to blame for causing anger among the youth?

No, the students are not defending so-called "privileges". Nor are they demanding that the working population should pay for their studies out of their taxes, as the gutter press claims. What they are fighting for is the right for every youth and adult to have a proper education - and so that this can be a right for all, it has to be free, period!

This government claims that public finances can no longer "afford" to pay for university studies. A few years back, Labour sang exactly the same song, when introducing tuition fees, even if, today, they voted against the increase. Except that now, of course, the Con-Dems can use the excuse of the crisis - or rather, of the budget deficit caused by the hundreds of billions used for the bank bailout.

But guess who will be the main beneficiaries of the mountain of debt that students will face? The very same banks that were bailed out. Because they will be providing the money and making a fat profit from the interest, just as they do from our mortgages!

And beyond the banks, the bosses will benefit, especially the largest companies, by getting ready-made skilled workers, whose training they did not have to pay for. And they will be easier to cow into accepting lousy wages, because they will be in debt up to their necks!

So, what can be wrong with demanding that the banks, the bosses, and their wealthy shareholders, should pay for a decent and free education for all?

The real parasites must be made to pay

No, there can be nothing wrong with such a demand. Especially at a time when, having gobbled up hundreds of billions from public funds, the banks and large companies are now awash with cash. This is why the financial markets are so buoyant these days. Instead of investing in socially useful activities, the capitalists are using this mountain of cash to make a quick buck in speculative operations. And what do they care if, by the same token, they threaten the economy with yet more instability - as happened recently in Ireland!

The issue, therefore, is not to use the pounds and pennies of income tax paid by the working population, but to force this parasitic capitalist class to use its billions for a useful purpose.

In their own way, by opposing university tuition fees and the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance for the 16-18 year-olds, the youth have made a stand in this respect. The government's only response was to send its cops, bash the students' skulls and ignore their demand by passing the tuition fees regardless.

But their fight back has not been for nothing. Whatever a bunch of unrepresentative MPs may do, it can always be undone by a large enough mobilisation in the streets - as the downfall of Thatcher's poll tax showed two decades ago.

However, this means that the youth need our support. It is in the interest of all sections of the working class, to take our cue from the first step made by the youth in the necessary fight back against the capitalists' offensive. Stopping the service and job cutters in their tracks, stopping the attacks on the jobless and disabled and defending the right to free education, are all part of the same struggle - the struggle to make the capitalist profiteers who caused the present crisis pay for the damage they have caused!