Report from the 1st National Assembly for Education

7 Feb

Here is the first part of the report from the 1st National Assembly for Education. The rest of the report willbe uploaded soon.

Student Session – Proposals voted on

Occupations

  • Occupations are one of a range of actions that activists can use.
  • Occupations should hit leaders of institutions and budgets.  They should include direct action.
  • We need to broaden out and get more student support for occupations.
  • It is important to get trade union support for occupations.
  • We should try to use the press to our advantage.
  • We should also protest at high profile university events.

Demonstrations/Actions

  • A key priority is the TUC demonstration on the 26th March, for which we should organise an education section for students and education workers, and mobilising to ‘shut down London’.
  • We should support calling the week of the TUC demonstration as a European week of action.
  • We support a march on Eton on 17th February to coincide with the Old Etonian’s Association Open Day.
  • We need to take part in another action before the 26th March.  The 24th February should be called as a day of action around the country and in London we should protest at UUK event for vice-chancellors.  Before this we should organise at campuses around the country to try to get VCs to boycott the event.
  • We support civil disobedience as a part of protest.
  • We call for a Global Day of Action in February or March.
  • We need to work with LGBT groups and challenge any homophobia on demonstrations.
  • We should get disabled people to take a lead in organising protests and try to make demonstrations more accessible for disabled people.
  • We should organise a protest at the Liberal Democrat spring conference in Sheffield.
  • We condemn the cap on education visas and the exploitation of international students.

Working with Trade Unions

  • We need to work, with Student Unions and General Meetings where possible, to get support for Education Union’s strike ballot, in particular the upcoming UCU ballot, and call for a student strike on the day of any union’s strike.
  • We need to build cooperation between students and staff, holding joint meetings to build a united struggle, to which we invite other local workers.
  • Possible ways of building support for a strike ballot involve making leaflets for every lecturer, providing information for students, starting to collect immediately for a strike fund, starting a petition from students to declare support for striking Education Workers.
  • We should support university anti-cuts groups, which should send representatives to union meetings, as well as forums where students and workers can discuss.

Other

  • We support the setting up of people’s assemblies.

 

National Education Assembly: Closing Plenary Minutes

1)      Report Backs from Break Out Sessions:

HE&FE Break Out Group

HE and FE break out groups combined due to small numbers of FE students attending.

  • One of the chairs from this group reported back on the main ideas/proposals/discussions.
  • Members of the group agreed to the summarised points.

 

Education Workers Break Out Group

 

  • One of the chairs from this group reported back on the main ideas/proposals/discussions.
  • Members of the group agreed to the summarised points.

 

2)     Assembly Organisation:

One of the co-chairs highlighted that the assembly was brought together through individual university occupations

  • And that student representatives had been mandated to be part of, attend and contribute to the National Assembly
  • The co-chair opened discussion about how the assembly should be organised, and what the outcomes of decisions made at the assembly should amount to.
  • A proposal was made, summing up the points by speaking members about what the organisation of the assembly should be:
    • The assembly is not a decision-making body, as we, collectively not mandated to pass proposals – that is something that we can only do through our own unions/organisations
    • The assembly is a forum for ideas for action, which we can feed into our own organisations that we represent
    • It can be a guide for next steps in the movement
    • Share best practice
    • Coordinate future actions collectively
    • Encourage the establishment of city-wide assemblies drawing in anti-cuts campaigns and trade unions to facilitate discussion in action.
    • That we hope to organise a 2nd National Assembly after March 26th, based on delegates from these local assemblies
    • A vote was taken on these proposals, which passed by a significant majority.

3) Further Proposals:

  • The assembly was then opened up to discuss any further proposals attendees had, that there may have not have been time for in individual break out sessions
  • There were several proposals which were discussed and voted on:

 

1.       Proposal to write an open letter to the Jewish community addressing concerns that might have been raised about the accusations about the anti-semetic comments made towards Aaron Porter.

    • 2 spoke for
    • 2 spoke against
    • Some attendees made comments regarding amendments
    • It was eventually voted for, and agreed by a sizable majority that the assembly should create a general statement, making an explicit, principled stance that the movement is opposed to racism/fascism
    • Interested individuals were asked to contact Jamie Woodcock to be involved in the creation of that statement and it would be displayed on the National Education Assembly blogsite.

2.      Proposal to support Anti-Academy Action, because Academies were threatening the public, open, equality of opportunity focused secondary school education, due to the nature of Academies, and their reported heavy handedness on pupils who attended the anti-cuts demonstrations. It was proposed that the Anti-Academy alliance be supported, particularly through anti-cuts groups.

  • One spoke for
  • No-one spoke against
  • The proposal passed in an unanimous vote

3.      Proposal to Defend Right to Protest Campaign (to have a link to the website on the blog, to give practical support to those arrested, , Defend Bryan Simpson (Protester given sentence regarding Millbank), Support Suspended Teacher (who encouraged students to support the Demonstrations).

  • 2 spoke for
  • 2 spoke against
  • Some attendees suggested amendments to widen support to UK Uncut for their activity, Liverpool Hope University’s anti-cuts group, and the Birmingham students that were victimised after protest actions.
    • The proposal with amendments was voted on, and passed.

4.      Vote to support a General Strike in the Spring of 2011

  • 2 spoke for
  • 2 spoke against
  • The motion passed with a considerable majority

5.      Proposal to add clear information about the legalities of occupations to the National Education Assembly Blogsite.

  • The motion passed unanimously

 

Managing the Blogsite:

 

It was agreed by all that the Blog Working Group will continue to function as it has been, with a group of members (communicating through an email list) working practically together to maintain the blog. Anyone was welcome to join the Working Group or contribute to the Blog.

Source: http://educationassembly.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/report-from-the-1st-national-assembly-for-education/

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