A new online strike bulletin is out with news, commentary and analysis on Higher Education and the ongoing strike in defense of the USS pensions scheme. The bulletin is a collaborative effort in which various rs21 members have cooperated with activists and organisers on the broader left.
The success and momentum of the strike have demonstrated the power of university staff and the potential for robust solidarity between workers and students. However, it has also opened up deeper discussions about the changing nature of Higher Education over the last few decades. A part of the enthusiasm with which students, in particular, have supported the strike can be traced back to a cumulative sense of grievance over successive years of neoliberal reform across the sector, including the introduction (and then tripling) of fees, the scaling-back of grants and loan allowances, and the increased exploitation of junior teaching staff.
Today’s demonstration in London – in which several thousand people marched – underscored that striking staff are now at the leading edge of a growing movement against the constant commercialisation and atomisation of Higher Education.
In this context, we need to start talking about the broader background of the modern campus in which the present strike movement has come about. The new bulletin is a contribution towards that debate, with articles covering topics such as student mental health, the technique of student occupations, and the connections between Corbynism and the strike movement.