Why aren’t students taking a lead on saving the NHS?

A article on the NHS & Students published on liberal conspiracy earlier today

While the rise in tuition fees was met by demonstrations of tens of thousands, a mass movement against the largest attack on the NHS is yet to come. The lack of action by students does not represent apathy, but rather hugely repressed anger.

It has been a low rumble of thunder. But the lightning has not yet been struck; students nationwide haven’t yet been given an organisation to rally behind on the streets.

There hasn’t been a glaring spark in the public eye.

We have mostly been held back by our unions that have been broken and neutered under previous governments. After the miners’ strike Thatcher’s government passed laws attempting to limit student unions, making them legally bound to only campaign on narrow student related issues.

Under New Labour, these laws became even more pernicious and pervasive as the 2006 Charities Act changed student unions from exempt charities to charitable companies limited by guarantee. This change meant student unions went from charitable bodies that were regulated by their members to charitable bodies regulated by a government commission.

Even debate on the issue has been shut down.

But organisations like the National Union of Students are not tied down by the same legal barriers as individual students union – it could easily give the student body the outlet it needs to express its rage.

It is the only resourced student organization capable of a real political battle. It can call students out on mass to the streets. If it started supporting and co-coordinating sustained direct action, occupations of the firms pouring blood money into the system buying up the NHS and buying off our politicians, then perhaps we could witness a political miracle.

Direct action, occupations & tackling ministers are the actions we need now. The more attention we can get for NHS, the more people will wake up to the great robbery taking place, the closer the explosion of public anger will become.

It’s better that we fight now than as a movement to defend the NHS, than to fight later as a movement of the bereaved in 10 years time. Imaginative galvanizing action is the only viable option.

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