Students have expressed a variety of views on the surprise majority win for the Conservative Party on 8th May, with Oxford activist groups mobilising in preparation to protest the result.
‘Oxford rs21’, part of the national Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century movement, set up an event under the title “Planning the Oxford Fightback” in order to unite “everyone of Oxford of any left stripe to join us in beginning our resistance to this government!”.
One of the organisers of the fightback event, held on Wednesday 13th May, commented: “Tracking social media from Friday through Saturday it was clear that many people within Oxford are incredibly angry at the prospect of five years of benefit cuts, the dismantling of the EU Human Rights Act and an electoral system that has failed the UK.
“This meeting has been set up to provide a space for people to organise next steps, whatever that may look like.”
One third year Oxford student, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke out in support of the movement, saying: “A Conservative government and the austerity it will bring, is not what is needed for Britain and therefore it is important for me to personally to stand up against the Party and make a change where I can.”
University political societies have been also been assessing the defeats and planning their local and national strategies. The Oxford University Labour Club released an official statement pledging to come back fighting: “OULC is immensely proud of the hard work and determination shown by all of its members and supporters over the course of the general election campaign. Your enduring and unwavering commitment to the Labour cause has been truly inspiring and OULC thanks you deeply. This unwavering commitment has seen Andrew Smith re-elected for Oxford East …In this sense, we are delighted that, as the vast majority of Oxford University Colleges lie within Oxford East, Oxford is truly a Labour University.
“However, on a national level, OULC’s thoughts remain solely with the 1 million people who rely on foodbanks to survive, the 700,000 people on unstable zero-hours contracts, the 3.5 million children currently living in poverty, the public sector workers that we treasure so much but face job insecurity and vilification, the disabled people subjected to cruel and dehumanising work-capability assessments, the asylum seekers and economic migrants facing relentless demonisation and marginalisation, and many, many more.
“Another five years of Tory rule will devastate this country. That is why OULC will continue to fight for Labour values, and the working people of Britain. We will not stand by and simply watch our Union destroyed, our membership of the European Union lost, and our NHS decimated. Now is the time to unite and work for our future.”
The upcoming weeks will prove pivotal, as student groups throughout the University act in opposition to the next five years of Conservative government.
JCRs across Oxford organised election night parties.