You’ve seen the posters on Houghton Street. You’ve heard murmurs of a future protest. You’re just a bit confused as to what it’s all about.
Well, you’ve come to the right place!
Super basic definition:
#DEMO2012 is a protest march being held on Wednesday, 21 November, at 11AM traveling from Temple Place to Kennington Park to rally for a variety of University student rights (yes, that’s a twitter hashtag for trending).
Here’s more info:
The National Union of Students (NUS) organised #DEMO2012: Educate, Employ, Empower for university students across the UK to voice concerns for three issues of (you guessed it) funded and supported education, student employment rights, and general feelings of empowerment in conversations with policy makers.
NUS and student unions across the UK feel as though the government’s recent legislative actions have made studying in the nation far too difficult.
"The government has placed [education] under attack by scrapping the EMA, slashing undergraduate teaching funding, increasing tuition fees, introducing draconian restrictions on international students, cutting funding for post-graduate students, hiking fees for adult learners looking to gain basic skills, causing funding chaos in the nations…" states the NUS Website.
Our post graduate blogger, Beth, breaks down the issues for the post-graduate minded audience, sharing her ideas about why post-graduates should support the march on Wednesday. Additionally, the LSESU has created a video explaining why the SU is involved with #DEMO2012 that you can check out here.
For those looking for background information and additional sources, keep on reading: I’ll do my best to clear up your confusion and empower you to take a stand, whatever that may be.
1. Education: The government abolished the EMA (Education Maintence Allowance) in 2010 after having established it in 2004. The EMA paid students, who qualified based on their family’s income, a weekly allowance so that those who were able and willing to study would have the necessary financial means. The conservative party claimed that the EMA scheme was too expensive and actually failed in its goal.
In anticipation of, and after the solidifying of this decision, students across the UK rebelled with protests, demonstrations and marches galore. Students feel that their government has “cheated” them and cited myriad stories of students who are forced to give up their education without the EMA funding.
2. Employ: The NUS states that youth unemployment is over 1 million in the UK and is consistently rising. Students are protesting for “fair work and fair pay” in sustainable jobs.
3. Empower: NUS President Liam Burns describes this last issue as an all encompassing emotional push for a better future. He told The Guardian that #DEMO2012 aims to send a clear message to politicians that resonates until election time: “The demonstration is like a starter gun to the general election, so parliament knows it has to do something to make things different for our generation. But it’s also to say that we’ve not forgotten how they betrayed us in the last general election,” said Burns. Burns actually attended the LSE UGM on 8 November and spoke about why students should be involved (that’s his photo).
The NUS’ Demo 2010 created an enormous following and passionate stir throughout London culminating with students storming a building and throwing a fire extinguisher off a roof and resulted in police involvement. As such, no official Demo was held in 2011 and NUS has dedicate a great deal of time and energy to make this year’s event more peaceful and productive.
So, there you go, a brief of #DEMO2012.
Only thing left are the details! Keep on researching and if you want to join the movement, check out the LSESU facebook page with specific information regarding meeting place/time on Wednesday.