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Warwick University Students Occupy Council Chambers — June 14, 2013

Warwick University Students Occupy Council Chambers

We express our solidarity with students at Warwick University who have just released a statement confirming that they have occupied the Council Chamber in protest of the marketization of the public university. An excerpt from the statement is below; the statement can be read in full here. They can be contacted at PPUWarwick on Facebook or warwickagainstprivatization@gmail.com.

While fees climb to £9,000 a year, bursaries are either cancelled or transferred to ‘fee waivers’; meanwhile, in universities like Warwick, maintenance costs are driven up by the construction of ever-more expensive accommodation. The vast post-university debt (£43,500) now facing less privileged students whose families cannot afford to pay up-front makes university education seem both risky and undesirable for many. This process is changing the perception of higher education from a public good to a private investment, from a communal right to an individual privilege, accessible only by the few, as demonstrated by falling applications from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The widening gap in pay between senior managers and frontline staff, and the debt forced on students, means that the university now reproduces social inequalities rather than contesting them. This undermines the university’s democratic function as a space in which free thought, debate and critical inquiry is fostered in order to give people the tools to challenge social hierarchies and play an active role in the public sphere.

Our opposition to the rising salary of the Vice-Chancellor speaks to a deeper opposition to the continuing marketization and privatization of higher education. The problems at Warwick University are problems for the entire university system under market logic. The management of this university is failing to make the case for the protection and promotion of the public university, so we must do it. The government’s radical restructuring of higher education has crept up on us, and we must act now if we are to resist – before it’s too late.

***TEACH-IN UPDATE: Tuesday June 18th at 16:45 there will be a teach-in held outside Senate House at Warwick University to discuss the future of higher education. Speakers include 2 co-founders of the Campaign for the Public University. More details here.***

Impact of the UK Cuts: Hitting the Poorest Places Hardest — April 16, 2013

Impact of the UK Cuts: Hitting the Poorest Places Hardest

As the benefit caps begin to be implemented in London, we want to share with you this important new report by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University. It documents how the financial impact of the UK government’s cuts will vary widely across the country, hitting Britain’s poorest places the hardest, and allowing more affluent areas “to escape relatively lightly”.

Hitting the Poorest Places Hardest:

The Local and National Impact of Welfare Reform

by Christina Beatty and Steve Fothergill,

Sheffield Hallam University, April 2013

The findings of the report illustrate class warfare in action – how neoliberal policies for economic “recovery” put the burden of “austerity” on the backs of the poorest and most vulnerable. So although Margaret Thatcher will be buried tomorrow at a cost of £10M to the UK taxpayer, her oppressive classist ideology can be seen to live on in the policies of the current government.

No to Welfare Reform! Stop the Cuts!

Get involved: UK Uncut

Cross Post: My Tram Experience – Nichole Black — December 3, 2011

Cross Post: My Tram Experience – Nichole Black

“You Are Doing Racism Wrong”

#MyTramExperience

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“You are doing racism wrong” – I think this has been the overwhelming British response to #MyTramExperience which was uploaded to Youtube this week. We denounced this woman emphatically; Croydon MP Gavin Barwell told The Voice “Frankly it is people like this woman that the country would be better off without” and journalist Piers Morgan tweeted that the woman should be deported, (what is with this archaic British territorialism?) The reality is the protesting was far more concerned about maintaining the British culture of – well, lets call it diplomacy shall we – than an allegiance to anti-racism.

Emma West was arrested. Order was restored. And we have congratulated ourselves on how civilised we are about these things. Might I remind you it is only just over forty years since Conservative MP Enoch Powell, (a member of the gang governing us now), gave his ‘River of Blood’ speech, in which he addressed the nation with the exact same message as the Croydon perpetrator above. The same year as the 1968 Immigration Act which essentially made this racism a part of government policy. Racism plays a more prominent role in our society than many of us are willing to accept.

The relentless commitment to the personification of racism – that is, conceptualising racism as a single person/action – makes it almost impossible to recognise the complex ways it informs our social reality. We – or you really – are apathetic about race/ism in this country. ‘My Tram Experience’ was trending worldwide. However when there were successive revelations of fraudulence and belligerence in the Mark Duggan case – the man whose murder was the catalyst of rioting across the country this summer – metropolitan police corruption was not trending.

I have not witnessed the same level of national outrage at the unjustifiable deaths of Black men in police custody; or that over the last six years in Haringey, for the 10300 job seekers there have been 352 vacancies1. People lets get serious. I am not impressed that we arrested a woman with visibly poor mental health for her racist ranting. This is all a part of state performance. Emma West was not doing racism right. Our government agencies have shown us there are more efficient and quite frankly less noisy ways of denigrating Black and Ethnic Minority citizens in Britain. Underemployment, housing overcrowding and incarceration have all been working fine so far. Perhaps we would turn our attention to these areas if we were not so caught up in racism through drama.

1. May 16 2011 – A Trade Union Congress analysis

Nichole Black

ORIGINAL POST: http://nicholeblack.com/blog/2011/11/30/you-are-doing-racism-wrong/

TWITTER: @iAmnicholeblack

Cross Post – Nottingham Students Against Fees and Cuts Reports Back from @OccupyNotts — November 21, 2011

Cross Post – Nottingham Students Against Fees and Cuts Reports Back from @OccupyNotts

Nottingham Students Against Fees and Cuts expresses its support for the members of the 99% who are now more than a month in occupation of Nottingham’s Market Square. The dedicated and dynamic group of individuals are voicing their dissent to political corruption, state and police violence and corporate greed by creating and maintaining a communal space in which everyone is welcome as long as they respect camp guidelines. They employ the Occupy Movement’s General Assembly model for consensus-based decision-making twice daily, and with a tidy tent camp and communal area with kitchen, tea/coffee corner, tech/chill room, patio table, fire extinguisher point and central oil drum for a nightly fire, are effectively demonstrating an alternative, eco-conscious community-oriented use of public space. The information table at the camp entrance is open from 8AM-8PM daily, with participants engaging in dialogue with members of the public about their reasons for occupation and exchanging information from NSAFC, Notts Uncut, Notts SOS and other local organizations in solidarity with the liberation movement around the world.

Like many other camps around the UK, the camp has been experiencing problems with fascist organizations like the EDL threatening camps at night. Occupy Notts requests support in the form of more bodies at the camps overnight to prevent this kind of trouble. Along with them, we ask members of the local and student community to volunteer to visit the camp and especially to stay overnight or during an early morning shift; it would be greatly appreciated.

Tonight, in the 36th day of Occupation, campers and city residents held a candlelight vigil in solidarity with Egyptian civilians in Tahrir Square who were attacked by and are currently engaged in a tense standoff with Egyptian armed forces. In doing so, they stood with people from all major cities in Egypt and other cities around the world against the violent repression being enacted on peaceful protestors from Oakland, Berkeley and Davis, California, to Atlanta, to New York, to Cairo.

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During the vigil, campers shared their reflections: an American student noted that it is the US funding the Egyptian army and mentioned the familiar neo-colonial theme of the military vs. the people, while other campers spoke of the Spanish acampada movement and the more than 3,500 people who have been killed under the repressive regime in Syria. The group rallied around the reminder that it was the courageous and powerful actions of the people of Tunisia, Syria, Egypt, Libya and the events of the Arab Spring which inspired the Occupy Movement sweeping the globe, while their own stories continue to unfold, outcomes yet to be known.

Students & Anti-Cuts Groups Link Riots to Cuts — August 12, 2011

Students & Anti-Cuts Groups Link Riots to Cuts

UK students and anti-cuts groups have released a statement linking the riots to the cuts, police brutality and systematic inequality. They call for an investigation into Mark Duggan’s death, the disbanding of the IPCC to be replaced with independent body, and no punishment of rioters with increased sentences, violence or elimination of benefits.

They call for the reversal of the punitive programme of cuts that is targeting most heavily areas of deprivation and marginalised groups, including young people, to be replaced by a policy of positive investment and wealth re-distribution.

They call upon those involved in community and campaigning groups, including trades unions, for their support and a refusal to condemn and disown those involved in riots; stating that instead everything possible must be done to engage with them, recognising their actions as part of the broad range of responses to the neoliberal cuts programme.

Read more, sign and share at Nottingham Students Against Fees and Cuts.

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