Police patrolling the station went in to inform the private rail company which runs services there to inform them of my activity. I was told that unless I left the station area, I would be arrested, even though I was handing out the leaflets on land which was publicly owned and not owned by the railway company.
In August, the Green MP, Caroline Lucas and her son, were among those arrested at an anti-fracking protest in West Sussex. “This is an outrageously aggressive response to a day of principled civil disobedience,” protester Ewa Jasiewicz told the BBC.
The background to the current student protests is the privatization of state education in Britain.
The neoliberal coalition government is on a mission: to destroy state provision but Britain’s students are fighting back against the commodification of education.
Students at the University of London, showing admirable solidarity, have been campaigning for the rights of the university’s lowly paid outsourced staff. These staff would have been employed directly by the university in the past, but since their jobs were outsourced, they have seen their employment conditions worsen.
At the University of Sussex, students have been campaigning against privatization for over a year. In April, a peaceful occupation was ended when police turned up on campus with riot vans and dogs. Michael Segalov, part of the ‘Sussex Against Privatization Campaign’, revealed this week that he was one of five students who were being suspended by the university authorities.
It’s no surprise why Britain’s students are more restive today that at any time since the late 1960s.
Britain’s neoliberal elite has been treating them as it treats most people - with total contempt. Before the last election, Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, pledged not to increase tuition fees, but once in government he backed the lifting of the cap on tuition fees to £9,000, condemning students to even greater levels of debt.
If the government gets their way, then the entire British state - with the exception of the Armed forces and the judiciary - will be privatized. And they’re determined to use draconian measures to get their unpopular policies through.
And they’ll be relying on elite commentators in the media to ‘do their job’ and either ignore the clampdowns or attack the students as an ‘unruly mob’, before writing their pieces extolling student protesters in other countries.