Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.
The increasingly neoliberal university system in Britain has played a key role in shaping and undermining the debate about students, academics and universities. The contributors to this book aim to expand our imagination about education beyond the narrow confines touted by the government.
With essays devoted to the crucial role of education in democracy and the wider public good (not limited to education in science and technology but including the arts and humanities), this book debunks the myth that university education should be seen merely as a commodity from which private individuals gain by earning higher wages later in life.
Contributions from Michael Bailey and John Rees stress the role of academics and students respectively as truth‑tellers and progressive political communities in wider society. The latter feature of student life has only been present since higher education was opened up beyond elites after the second world war. With a large number of British universities – naturally not those that educate mostly the children of the wealthy – at risk of closure as a result of government funding cuts, this collection does well to fuse historical and philosophical perspectives with a sense of urgency and a grounding in real, current issues.
The LSE-Libya scandal, referred to by several contributors, is held up as emblematic of a number of symptoms of an unhealthy higher education system. One that is scrambling for funds and frequently feels it cannot afford to be picky about donors; and one in which some academics have begun to abandon any sense of an ethical facet to their vocation. Broadsides against the closure of interdisciplinary courses, academics who exist in ‘ivory towers’ and the devastating reversal of previous social mobility gains that will inevitably follow the tripling of university fees and the scrapping of the EMA, foreground the social context of the cuts.
This willingness to discuss the relationship between funding cuts and other aspects of life and learning is the joy of the book. Without bluntly or repetitively seeking to hammer home a single slogan, the essays offer a holistic analysis, and collectively they demonstrate eloquently why higher education matters.
The collapse of Carillion could be a watershed moment. Let's seize it to end economically disastrous outsourcing schemes. By Cat Hobbs.
Campaign groups highlight UK complicity in Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses.
Three founders of Momentum talk to Ashish Ghadiali about the two years that have transformed their lives and the fortunes of the British left.
Andrew Smith from Campaign Against the Arms Trade gives the run-down on one of the UK's most profitable - and most deadly - industries.
The real story behind the fire in Grande Synthe’s Linière refugee camp, Dunkirk. From 'Bordered Lives – How Europe fails refugees and migrants' by Hsiao-Hung Pai
Javier Pérez De La Cruz writes about the working class Berlin neighbourhood wrung dry by gentrifiers.
Across the world, thousands of protesters are taking on the planet’s biggest fossil fuel companies. We should support them – and if we can, we should join them. By Kara Moses
Students are suffering the effects of financial instability, stress, and slashed mental health services. Mark Crawford reports.
They're not defending free speech - they're just seeking to shore up their own power, writes Ilyas Nagdee
How can the heavily-armed Israeli state claim to be victimised by one teenage activist? By Richard Seymour.
Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.
Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani
Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week
A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes
Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.
Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu
Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns
Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism