On November the 17th, we – as Warwick For Free Education – will be organizing a day of action in solidarity with international students and migrants. This will be just one of a coordinated series of mobilizations on campuses across the country, as part of the International Student Day of Action called by the NUS. We will be engaging in a vibrant, public rally and awareness raising activities such as flyering and a photo petition. We think this demo is particularly urgent due to the renewed attacks on international students in the form of the NHS surcharge, the scrapping of the post study work visa and broader restrictions on the rights of migrants to live and work in the UK, rental checks which will adversely impact the already most marginalized and further inhibit the access of migrants to housing, and extortionate tuition fees, increasing year on year, which render our universities only available to the more affluent across the world.
We reject this logic, and the logic that brands international students exploitable economic resources. We reject the exclusionary policies of this Government and the complicity of our Universities in their xenophobic agenda, engaging in intrusive surveillance and attendance monitoring upon international students and acting as willing gatekeepers on behalf of the United Kingdom Border Agency. We reject a callous agenda that has resulted in the deportations of such students as Majid Ali and Yashika Bageerathi, the former of which was deported back to a country where family members were disappeared and murdered by the state in the context of politically-motivated persecution. We reject an agenda which has resulted in the deportations of thousands more beyond our Universities and colleges, which subjects migrants to barbaric and inhumane conditions in detention centres, which leaves refugees to risk death in a desperate attempt to breach the border rather than afford them welcome and a dignified, safe life. This protest is framed not only in the context of the renewed attacks on international students, but also the forthcoming Immigration Bill which is set to tighten border controls and further restrict access of migrants to the plentiful resources of the UK, and entrench the xenophobic and racist narratives that have dominated through the recent crisis and continue to criminalize and legitimize the violent policing of migrant lives.
We firmly believe that our Universities, our educational system, and our societies, should be welcoming, open and inclusive to all. We wish to express our solidarity with international students and migrants who are routinely attacked and marginalized by this Government, and to voice our absolute opposition to these attacks. We urge all students, home and international, to walk out of their classes next Tuesday and attend our rally. It is our hope that this act of unified resistance can act as a platform from which to develop a sustained campaign to dismantle all borders to education, and ultimately to aspire to complete freedom of movement for all. Our fight for free education is hollow if we do not strive towards this universality, and if we do not consistently attempt to intervene in the broader systemic forces which consolidate artificial national divisions to designate illegality and justify oppression on this basis. We must strike at the root of the structures of power and material conditions that deny educational opportunities to many across the world in the first place, so embedded in legacies of colonialism and imperialism, and recognize our fight for free education as necessarily situated within and oriented towards the struggle against broader social injustices.
No one is illegal!
Some more information on the politics surrounding the day is available below: