STUDENTS have torn down prison-like fencing erected around their campus on the first day of the new nationwide lockdown.
As the Tories allowed the second wave of coronavirus to rip through the country, students living in halls were put into forced lockdown. The lecturers’ union UCU warned the government that universities will become cradles of infection like care homes were.
Up to 1,700 students at Manchester Metropolitan University and hundreds at other institutions, including those in Edinburgh and Glasgow, are confined to halls following the Covid-19 outbreaks.
In Manchester, students are being prevented from leaving their rooms by security. They have been forcibly locked in their student halls, with food brought to their doors.
Students living at the University of Manchester’s Fallowfield halls of residence awoke to find workers putting up huge metal barriers seven feet tall.
First-year student Megan said: ‘They’re huge metal barriers. They’re connected to one another and there’s literally no gaps. There is fencing around the whole outside, we feel like it’s completely unnecessary. It makes it feel like we’re in a prison.’
Students on campus rose up in a mass demonstration, marching defiantly through campus. Hundreds of students then pulled the fences down. One student held up a sign reading ‘HMP Fallowfield – £9k to enter’.
Under the new lockdown rules in England, university students have been told that they will not be allowed to return home and must remain on campus. Even if the national lockdown ends on December 2, students have been told to self-isolate on campus until December 22, just a few days before Christmas Day.
The National Union of Students (NUS) president, Larissa Kennedy, said: ‘We are questioning whether there’s legal precedents to do this and treat students differently than the rest of the population.’
The capitalist press tried to vilify students, blaming them for the spread of the virus, claiming that it was their fault for partying and drinking without proper social distancing.
Everyone can now see it is blatantly the fault of the government, not students. If the Tory government did not want the virus to spread around the country in a second wave, why reopen nurseries, schools, colleges, universities and places of work in the first place?
The crux of the matter is that Johnson’s Tories were determined to reopen the economy to attempt to save bankrupt British capitalism from complete collapse. For the Tories, profit comes before everything else, including saving lives. They made a calculation, lives lost versus profits, and chose the latter.
There is a wing of the Tories that takes the party’s ‘survival of the fittest’ outlook to its logical conclusion. They oppose all lockdowns, ‘save capitalism at all costs and damn the consequences’ is their motto. If tens if not hundreds of thousands of elderly, vulnerable and sick people die as a result, as far as they are concerned, this is just the ‘law of the jungle’.
And this is what has happened – opening up the economy has meant the loss of tens of thousands of lives to coronavirus. On Thursday, Johnson appeared alongside Simon Stevens, head of NHS England, to announce that 492 people had died in just 24 hours and 11,000 coronavirus patients are in hospital.
When Johnson was forced to concede a national lockdown, something he was desperate to avoid, his own MPs rebelled. 34 Tory MPs opposed and 19 Tory MPs abstained, including ex-PM Theresa May. Only with the assistance of the Labour Party, Johnson got the measures through.
They are now preparing the way for a national government, with Johnson’s Tories and the Labour Party voting as a bloc. This comes as the leadership of the trade unions, the Trades Union Congress (TUC), made a joint statement with the bosses’ organisation the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) calling for Furlough to be extended until spring, something which the Tory Chancellor then did.
These are extraordinary times! The union leadership, the Labour Party and the capitalist bosses are beginning to work with Johnson’s Tories to prepare the way for a national government! No wonder Labour leader Keir Starmer wants Corbyn out the way!
However, students rising up to tear the fences down is just the beginning of a mass uprising against the government and this crisis-ridden capitalism. Join the Workers Revolutionary Party today to organise the British socialist revolution!