No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Monday, 11 October 2010

If we unite, we can make a difference! (opening statement)

You are a PhD student, or you have recently become a Dr., and you would like to carry on with your research activity in your field of expertise. Is it maybe just a dream?

Well, you are probably aware that gloomy times are ahead. The budget which is going to be unveiled by George Osborne on 20 October will foresee cuts in the public spending for education of at least 25%. This will massively affect you both as a student, and as a researcher. Your chance of getting a post-doc, or a job as a lecturer, will shrink dramatically. Sad, but true. But do not despair: you are NOT ALONE.

There are several thousands of us spread across the whole country. As PhD students working in different fields, it can be difficult to get to know each other. But we are all experiencing the same condition of uncertainty, if not dejection. Things might look depressing indeed, but there is a way to change them. This way is to say, to shout together, collectively, that WE DO NOT AGREE with these cuts.

The cuts are not “inevitable”, as the government and the media want you to believe. The overall cost of bank bailouts between 2008 and 2009 was of about 850bn pounds: public money which has been injected in private banks. (1)According to some sources, next year British banks might ask for another bailout worth up to 156bn. pounds.(2)The OVERALL yearly budget for higher education in the United Kingdom in 2010 was 7.4bn pounds. This is to say, LESS THAN ONE PERCENT of the money that the government has paid to PRIVATE banks to solve the crisis of 2008-2009. (3)

Any further doubt about how unfair these cuts are?

There is something we can do about this. We can, must and need to SAY NO to the cuts. And we have to do it together with all the other groups which will be hit most by the cuts – women, ethnic minorities, disabled people, workers in the public administration, undergraduate students. The more of us will express their dissent, the more effective our protest will be.

We reject the logic which sets education against health care; science against humanities; intellectuals against the working class. The real choice is between a fair and safe society, which values culture, solidarity and variety, and a greedy and unsafe world, in which no real space for free education and research is given.

We are for more public spending in research, tuition-free universities, freedom of thought and research, public welfare and more social fairness.


To this aim, we have set up this group. We will post regularly news on the local and national mobilization against the cuts. We will focus specifically on higher education, as part of a broader attack on public welfare.

Please, join us, and ask other PhDs and Drs. to join! We need ALL OF YOU! And do not forget:

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." John Dewey


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