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Counterfire Student Broadsheet Sept 2011

Counterfire Student Broadsheet Sept 2011

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Published by counterfire
This issue contains articles on; Where next for Students? Education under attack, resisting Islamophobia, ten years of the war in Afghanistan, the Economic Crisis and building for November 30th public sector strike.
This issue contains articles on; Where next for Students? Education under attack, resisting Islamophobia, ten years of the war in Afghanistan, the Economic Crisis and building for November 30th public sector strike.

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Published by: counterfire on Sep 20, 2011
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Las auumn, a new suden poes movemenwas bon. Acvss dscuss he way owad now.
Fan Legg
MSc suden, SOAS
Rallies, occupations,demonstrations, and teach-ins need to be central tocampaigns against ees, cuts,and closures. As students,we must join orces withlecturers and support sta acing attacks on their jobs.Like last year, the studentmovement must continue tolead by example.
Lam McCaey
Non-poolo Ofce,Unvesy o EasAngla Sudens Unon
Te explosion o raw studentanger which became the‘student revolt’ was inspiring.Te role o students in thecoming period will be aboutinjecting the energy, vitality,and tactics o the studentmovement into the widerstruggle against cuts.
Pesden, GoldsmhsSudens Unon (pc)
More than ever we nowneed to win the argumentthat universities are apublic good, something thateveryone should have a rightto access. Te universitiesWhite Paper signalsprivatisation on a massscale in higher education,so we need to renew ourstruggle – demanding thatprot should have no rolein knowledge and learning.
Pesden, Unvesyo Lvepool SudensUnon
Te new White Paper provesthat even more vicious at-tacks are planned. It outlinessystematic privatisation o higher education, where stu-dents become ‘consumers’ ina cut-throat, prot-hungry environment – alien to any notion o learning.We must rally behind theslogan o ‘ree educationor all’. Tat means oppos-ing every intrusion o themarket onto our campuses.Across Europe, students areghting with us. We shouldprepare or demonstrations,strikes, and occupations todeend what’s ours.
Clae Solomon
ome Pesden, ULU
he demonstration on 10 Novemberblew away all expectations. At midday,a 10,000-strong march rom Londoncolleges set o rom ULU to join themain demo, instantly politicising anNUS notorious or its conservatism andirrelevance. By 2pm, some 50,000 studentswere on the move, crammed in romraalgar Square to Millbank. Here wasthe biggest student protest or generations.And there were thousands o sixth ormand FE students, protesting against thescrapping o EMA. hen, unbelievably,there was a mass occupation o Millbank owers.his year students can take themovement to a new level. Protests and dayso action are already being organised andthe UC call or co-ordinated action on30 November gives us a great opportunity to bring students and workers together onan altogether dierent scale.
Jessca Lews
Suden acvs aUnvesy o Eas Angla
Like many other students, Istarted the year o ‘studentrevolt’ with very littleknowledge or interestin politics. It was whenconronted with cuts toeducation and rocketingtuition ees that I began towonder why students arebeing made to pay or aneconomic crisis we didn’tcreate. Tat’s how I becameinvolved in the movement –and how an entire generationbecame radicalised.
Joshua Vasam
Acvs a Bkbeck 
he story is old: in timeso crisis, they maintain themilitary machine, upholdthe banks, and cut welare.he coming year will beone o continued globalrevolt. Look at Chile andthe student movement ledby Camila Vallejo. Britainwill be no exception.
www.counefe.og | Sepembe 2011
Last year’s student movement sawmass resistance to Con-Dem tuitionee increases to £9,000. Many youngpeople aced with losing their EMA– a lieline or sixth-ormers romworking class backgrounds – also joined the protests. Young peoplecare deeply about education andare urious at opportunities deniedthem by a generation that receivedree education and ull grants.Te Con-Dem onslaught contin-ues, with cuts to colleges across thecountry, the withdrawal o all socialscience unding, a new White Paperbringing private competition to theuniversity sector.We have already seen 70% coursecuts at London MetropolitanUniversity, an institution with alarge percentage o black and Asianstudents. Te university implement-ed devastating course cuts on socialsciences and the arts, telling currentstudents to transer elsewhere to n-ish their studies.Meanwhile, philosopher ACGrayling is setting up a privateproit-making ‘college’, charging£20,000 ees to rich Oxbridge rejectsor contact with celebrity academ-ics willing their sell their credibil-ity or prot.Te Con-Dems want to roll back access to higher education, denyingqualiications and decent jobs towhat will become a ‘lost generation’o young people.hey have money or war andnuclear weapons, but they cutspending on education, the NHS,and aordable homes.As students, we need to ght or aneducation system ree or all at every level. We should demand all studentsreceive the support needed to accesseducation on an equal ooting. Wemust oppose privatisation and cutsin our universities, uniting withsta and unions in deending jobsand conditions.But the struggle against educationcuts needs to link into the wideranti-austerity movement. Only by recognising that cuts are part o aGovernment assault on society as awhole can we create eective massresistance – rom school studentsto pensioners, rom hospitalcampaigners to liberation activists.
Educaonunde aack 
Sean rllo raczka, one o he leades o he suden evol las auumn, now Vce Pesden oUnvesy o London Unon, assesses wha s a sake o he suden movemen, and why we musebuld  hs yea.
Te economic news growsdaily more grim. Stock markets reach new lows.Unemployment creepsupwards. Stagnation hauntsthe major economies.Te nancial crash o 2008heralded the rst stages o anepochal crisis o capitalism.When the world’s thirdlargest investment bank,Lehman Bros, iled orbankruptcy in Septemberthat year, it provoked aterriying collapse o theglobal inancial system.Because this system consistso a tightly-woven web o interconnections betweeninancial institutions, thesudden disappearance o a major bank threatenedbanks everywhere.
Fnancal cash
Te dense web threatened tounravel. As losses mounted,governments began to resortto the same solution – bailouts.Over the preceding decade,nancial corporations cameup with more complexways to manage loans. Tetheory was that risks couldbe careully packaged andcontrolled.A huge credit boomensued. Debts across themajor economies shot up.Bankers paid themselves atbonuses on the back o theirapparent success.Sub-prime mortgageswere one symptom o thebubble – mortgages oeredto people with low incomesor none at all. .hey began to turnbad in 2005, as mortgage-holders started deaultingon their debts. Te ripplesspread through the system,as it became clear that thenew nancial instrumentsintended to manage therisks were ailing.he bailouts were anattempt to correct this.Governments borrowedmoney and simply shoved itinto the banks. Te IMF es-timates that this cost almost$7 trillion globally. Te UKbailouts alone have beenworth £1.3 trillion – almostthe same as the entire na-tional economy. And thesecolossal sums depended ongovernment borrowing.But the bailouts did notsolve the crisis. Tey mere-ly moved it somewhere else.
Deb and ausey
his is the second stageo the economic slump.National debts have risenas a result o the nancialcrisis. But these publicdebts are themselves heldby private institutions.Rising public debts in-crease the risk o countriesdeaulting. Tis is what thenancial markets ear may happen in Greece, Ireland,or Portugal. Since privatebanks hold the public debt,they are exposed to thisrisk. he crisis o publicdebt is turning back into acrisis o the private nan-cial system.his is the mechanismdriving spending cutsright across the developedworld. Governmentsear they may soon haveanother inancial crisison their hands, and so aredesperately attempting tostrengthen their bankingsystems by reducing publicdebts.
But austerity programmes –spending cuts and tax risesor ordinary people – areatally undermining thereal economy. he reasonis simple. I governmentsreduce spending, there isless money fowing throughthe economy. Firms sell less, jobs and wages are cut, lessmoney lows, and thereare even more bad debtsand cutbacks. A viciousdownwards spiral ensues.his is the processdriving the return torecession in Britain. By supporting austerity, theCon-Dem Government isprivileging the City aheado the real economy. Tey would rather supportbankers than the NHS.he solution is clear.Increase public spendingto support the economy.ax the rich to pay orit. And transorm ourdysunctional inancialsystem by clamping downon speculation and usingnationalised banks to investin public spending.he depth o the crisis varies, but the samebasic issues can be oundeverywhere. Tat is why theEurope Against Austerity international conerence inLondon on 1 October is soimportant. Every activistshould register now.
Their sysTem
tHEir CriSiS
SOAS economs JamesMeadway eplans he economc css and agues ha we have ofgh he madness o he cus.
SOAS sudensFaduma Hassanand Feyz ismaldscuss he mpaco he wa onBsh Muslms.
Te so-called ‘War on error’ is nowa decade old. Far rom making ita saer and more tolerant place,the war has made the world moredangerous and less democratic. Inorder to justiy the billions spent onarms and killing, the war on terrorhas provided politicians – romdictators to neo-cons – the pretextor attacking ordinary people.Muslim communities across thecountry have suered the brunt o these attacks: Britain has witnessedan upsurge o Islamophobia in thepast decade. By instituting stop andsearch measures that target Muslimyouth, and by implication attackingMuslim culture, the Governmenthas created an atmosphere orIslamophobia and ar right groupsto get a hearing.
Fuel o ascss
Fascists and racists like the BritishNational Party (BNP) and theEnglish Deence League (EDL)have been revitalised by the waron terror and the portrayal o Muslims as the main enemy. It is tothe credit o groups ghting againstIslamophobia, including Muslimcommunities and campaigns suchas the Stop the War Coalition andUnite Against Fascism, that thelikes o the EDL are still marginal.Media collusion is also part o theproblem. In a recent ComRes survey,29% o people surveyed blamed themedia or the rise o Islamophobiain the UK.Te Norway attacks are a goodexample. Amongst the conusion,the one certainty seemed to be thatthe killings were, and had to be, thework o an Islamic undamentalistgroup, probably Al-Quaeda. Tenit emerged that it was in act thework o Anders Behring Breivik,a Norwegian right-wing extremistwith anti-Muslim views.
Con-Dem acsm
Now the Con-Dem Governmenthas renewed a key part o Labour’s‘counter-terrorism’ strategy underthe same name – Prevent. One aimo this is to work with institutions,including universities, which,as Home Secretary heresa May recently wrote, are ‘vulnerable toradicalisation’.University managementsand Muslim societies are beingencouraged to identiy individualswho are potential ‘extremists’ andwho do not subscribe to ‘British values’. Te Con-Dem Governmenthas extended the deinition o ‘extremism’ to include anyone whoholds ideas
consider extremistand liable to lead to illegal activity.But there is almost nounderstanding, amongst thosewho advocate Prevent, o the linksbetween oreign policy choices,in particular the wars Britain hasought in Iraq, Aghanistan, andnow Libya, and the growth o extremism. At the same time, ourcivil liberties – and especially thoseo Muslims – are being attacked.
Cvl lbees heaened
In 2008, Rizwaan Sabir and HichamYezza at Nottingham University werearrested and released without chargeor downloading a copy o the so-called ‘Al Qaeda raining Manual’,a document that is reely availableon the internet, including rom USGovernment websites. From theGovernment’s perspective, identiy yoursel as a Muslim and you’re like-ly to be labelled a ‘potential terrorist’.Universities should be reethinkingspaces, where ideas can be debatedwithout ear or intimidation. I theGovernment was serious abouttackling extremism in universitiesand wider society, it would not occupy Muslim countries, and it would notwaste billions in the process.Tis year, our ght against eeincreases has to be a central parto challenging the Government’swhole austerity plan, and it mustbe waged alongside a vigorouscampaign against Islamophobia.We must expose the lies behindthe war on terror and the backlashagainst British Muslims.en years o war have takenthe veneer o the War onerror. It is little more thana brand to obscure greedor both power and money.You only have to scratch thesurace to see how weak thearguments are.Amidst the propagandais the democracy argument,the idea that democracy can and should be imposedthrough the barrel o agun on people too ecklessto achieve it themselves.Muslims who are supposedly incapable o reeingthemselves have boggeddown the world’s greatestsuperpower with littlemore than Kalashnikovsin Aghanistan, andoverthrown Western-backeddictators in unisia andEgypt.
Women’s oppesson
I we look at the invasion andoccupation o Aghanistan,the test run or Iraq, we can seemore o this hypocrisy. Oneclaim by the UK/US coalitionwas that Aghanistan mustbe invaded to improve thelives o women – as i warhas ever improved the lot o women.en years on, theadministration put in powerby the West has passed a lawallowing husbands to reuseood to their wives i they do not satisy them sexually.While a senior US military igure, when questionedover President Obama’sNobel-winning escalationo the war, explained thatthe President could not beconcerned with the ‘trivialate o women’.Te lies do not stop. TeUS claimes it has withdrawnrom Iraq, leaving it ademocracy. But it ails tomention the 50,000 UStroops and 94 military basesthat remain, and that there isull oreign control o oil.In Libya we see a similarpattern. A month beore thebombing began, the UK wasselling weapons to Gadda, aone-time avourite son o theWest, to use against his ownpeople. Disrupting Libya’srevolution and backing acollection o ormer Gaddamen as the new power inLibya is done on the pretenceo ‘protecting Libyans’.
the wase o wa
At the same time, SaudiArabia, run by ‘riends’whose excesses would makethe aliban shudder, invadedBahrain unchallenged, to dowhat Gadda was doing inLibya: crush pro-democracy demonstrators.All this is paid or by us,and it is here that we cancalculate the impact o wars abroad. Each Cruisemissile ired into Libyacosts £1 million. Each dead‘insurgent’ in Aghanistancosts $1 million.US military aid paid tothe government o Pakistan,incidentally, is then lteredthrough the Pakistaniintelligence to the Pakistanialiban, thus unding theweaponry and operationswhich kill Western troops.How much are we willingto sacriice or oil, proit,and US power?
Aghansan: enyeas o kllng
Joe Glenon, ome solde, conscenousobjeco, and now suden a Leeds Me, eplanswhy we should all jon he taalga Squae massan-wa poes on 8 Ocobe.
Mass Assembly, taalga SquaeSauday, 8 Ocobe 201112 noon onwadsten Yeas On: toops ou o Aghansan, CuWaae no WelaeCalled by Sop he Wa, CND, and BshMuslm inavewww.anwaassembly.ogwww.sopwa.og.uk 020 7801 2768

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