Students across the UK have shown a tremendous amount of bravery (and a small minority an equal amount of stupidity) in the past few weeks. Fifty thousand students marched against funding cuts and tuition fee increases last week in the face of armed police and a hostile press. Resistance continued this week as students – both school, college and university – took part in a day of action on Wednesday. They risked punishment from their parents and from their university authorities in walking out of classes and staging occupations of university buildings on campuses right up and down the country. It is unfortunate that students have been driven to challenging the law in order to make their point, but The Student believes they are justified in doing so.
Direct action is regrettable because it puts students in harm’s way, but it is ultimately neccessary. Occupations may increase the antagonism between students and university authorities and may be disruptive but they are in pursuit of a long term aim- to protect our future and that of our country-that trumps any short term inconvenience. The Student was pleased to hear the Labour MP John MacDonald speak out about the need for direct action when more moderate protests have been wilfully ignored: When a government refuses to listen, there is “no other alternative than take to the streets and direct action to bring them down… The real criminals are the ones attacking our education system”.
The next protest is planned for today, when students will march to the Scottish Parliment. Everyone who is able to should join them to send a loud, clear message to both the current and future Scottish government. Until then, enjoy some brilliant sketches of the Appleton Occupation made by one of the protesters.