Why students must protest against this budget


Workers Solidarity Movement and Free Education for Everyone member Donal Ó Fallúin on the need for students to protest this upcoming, savage budget.


FEE NUIG blockade Anglo Irish Bank.

On November 3, the state responded to the direct action taken by students at the Department of Finance building on Merrion Row with an obscene level of violence. The baton charges of that day were sending a message into every home in the country, and a simple message at that. Stay at home, stay off the streets and stay quiet.

A week later, hundreds of students made it perfectly clear outside Pearse Street Garda station that we have no intention of going anywhere. In fact, since November 3, more and more horrific details of the  economic plans of the government have come to the attention of the public. Along with €2,000 fees, the government intend to reduce the minimum wage. This is what students live on, at least those lucky enough to find employment in this climate. It is nowhere near high enough, trust anyone who has attempted to live on it. Our families are to be hit hard too. The most laughable of charges, water charges, are to return to Ireland once more. A property tax is set to be introduced. For those of us who have seen loved ones join the endless lines of the unemployed, our families will suffer to further welfare cuts. No home will escape. The government are attempting to pass the bill of the rich on to workers and the unemployed. In a country where 1% of the population own around 34% of the wealth, it is nothing short of shameful that tuition fees or water charges are somehow seen as the best way to solve the economic crisis.

Within the FEE (Free Education for Everyone) campaign, we have always tried to make our politics and actions speak to many more than student activists traditionally have.  In the past, we have carried out actions in solidarity with workers in revolt. We have campaigned against attacks on workers and the unemployed. We have tried to bring a clear and loud left wing voice back to student politics.

Now, we recognise the very serious danger right before us. The danger of cuts of a savage and unprecedented nature. The student union leaders have gone home, with the photoshoots of November 3 long past. Now, rank and file students must stay on the street. Come out on budget day, and send a clear message to this government.

When they say cutback, the student voice must respond loud and clear. Students must take to the streets on budget day. There is no other option in the struggle for free education.

WORDS: Donal Ó Fallúin