National chair of TUSC (Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition), Dave Nellist, sends solidarity greetings to the Warwick student demonstration held on Wednesday 04-12-14:
(Dave is a former Coventry Socialist Councillor & Coventry Militant Labour MP)
‘This generation of students threatens to be the first for decades which won’t be better off than their parents. Crippling mortgages, having to supplement inadequate pensions, and debts exceeding £50,000 to get a degree, will be difficult to cope with even if students succeed in getting a graduate level job.
For the thousands who don’t, it will be impossible.
Education should be free.
Peaceful protest is a democratic right. 40 years ago several hundred of us, at what is now Coventry University, held a 19 day occupation of the equivalent of the Senate House. I support the right of Warwick students to protest, including peaceful sit-ins and occupations, to regain genuinely free education.
The actions of the police on Wednesday, as viewed on YouTube, were a disgrace and formal complaints should be made by those present to ensure an investigation takes place. But internal investigations by the police of themselves, is not enough. We no longer have proper, democratic oversight and accountability of the police by the communities in which they work. Present Police Commissioners are toothless and almost all drawn from establishment parties.
We need a new accountability of public sector organisations like the police – to elected committees of local people, including councillors, representatives of trade unions, residents and tenants organisations – and yes, representatives of students and young people as well.
The actions of the police on Wednesday may be an aberration – or it may be part of a pattern that believes kettling and heavy handed policing of student protest is ok. Either way a proper and genuine investigation is required.
The police need to be democratically accountable to the communities they serve.
(Socialist Party and National Chair, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition)