Despite horrible weather 300 Sheffield students and staff rallied together on March 2nd to call for free education, funded by the government, with proper pay, pensions and conditions for all workers. The local Marxist societies had taken a lead in building for these strikes, rallying together student activists from across the city to support striking staff.
There was a march through town to the University of Sheffield Students Union where students and staff took over the building for the day to have teach-outs. Discussions were led by school and university student activists, UCU members, as well as local members from other trade unions such as the NEU. Marxist society members delivered 3 of the dozen teach outs, which were on the NHS crisis, on the climate crisis, and on the question of whether strikes work. It was a vibrant festival of ideas and activism, showcasing what could be possible with student and worker control of universities.
In the discussions members of the Marxist societies put forward by far the clearest ideas, making the case that as students and workers we need to focus on capitalism as the root cause of today’s problems – not just in education and in the UK, but across society and the world.
Our comrades raised the need for leadership in fighting the crisis we are in today, pushing for the need to continue the student-staff solidarity movement. With the UCU strikes coming to an end and nothing having changed, this is important now more than ever.