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University Meeting with the VC, Wednesday 23rd February!

We have had confirmation of a date from Mary Stuart of the time and date for the meeting.

Members University staff, lecturers, management, and students are invited to this meeting.

It will be held in the LPAC on Wednesday 23rd February, from 5:00-7:00pm
Refreshments will be available at 7.

Please respond to any event invitations ASAP, so that the university doesn’t encounter problems with catering. When this is available it will be publicised through all channels by us and Lincoln SU.

We will be asking you to submit questions before the date, so if you fail to do so, please arrive early with a question ready and we will see what we can do. More on this at a later date. Once again, you WILL briefly be able to raise points on the answers from the panel.

The panel will consist of Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor, Chris Charnley, Students Union President, Professor Richard Keeble, Acting Head of Lincoln School of Journalism, and a member of Lincoln Occupation. Roger Buttery, (a university board member and a SU trustee) has agreed to be the chair for the meeting.

We Support Our Lecturers

Okay, so it HAS been a while, and we have possibly ignored a few too many things, but something we absolutely HAVE to talk about is the coming UCU strikes!

 

The UCU (University and College Lecturers Union) are taking UK-wide industrial action on Thursday March 24th.

Why? They’re going to be made to pay more for less pensions, and work longer for the privilege!

It’s wrong. Lecturers are facing cuts just like students. If students want to defeat fees and stop cuts, we must stand side by side with our lecturer, as they stood beiside us.

That means not crossing the picket line and walking out of lectures to support them.

There is an event HERE

Also going on is THIS at the Alternative Arts College

And for a more in-depth description, read this from Sheffield

Still unsure? Debate tomorrow!

Many things going on up and down the country, with some universities going into occupation, (UCL admin wing occupied. Goldsmiths admin building occupied. Edinburgh occupied. Royal Holloway watch out.) and UCU inviting Lady Gaga!

Please post any photos or messages of support to OUR FACEBOOK PAGE, or email them to uloccupation@gmx.com for less identity!

❤ LOLCⒶT

PS. See you on the streets of London 😉

Resist! March! Strike! Occupy!

 

Record of Vice Chancellor’s Question Time, 23rd Feb 2011

This is a record of the meeting with the Vice-Chancellor and certain other parties arranged as a condition of the Occupation in December. It is obviously not a transcript, just a record of salient points. I suggest reading The Linc’s coverage of the event for a more complete picture, which can be found HERE. They got my name wrong. As ever, if anyone has any alterations, feel free to comment.

-M.

Chair: Roger Buttery

Panel:

Chris Charnley, President, Students’ Union

Jack Dobson, Occupation Delegate

Richard Keeble, Professor of Journalism

Mary Stuart, Vice-Chancellor, University of Lincoln

 

Opening Speeches:

CC: Outline of SU position, described anti-cuts/fees fees as “most succesful to date”, stronger as collective. Fees/cuts “vicious”. Emphasises ‘community’ aspect.

RK: Neo-liberal radical conservatism “ruthless”, destruction of welfare state by private sector, bankers, military. Professors expected to be “apolitical” – questions in light of politicised state. Comparisons to racism/sexism. “Discussion not enough.” Roles in communities, e.g. charities, media, NGOs.

Radical students leaders in Arab states revolutions

JD’s speech: To be published separately.

MS: Budget 6th Oct Budget, cut of £82m; £320m cut imposed 2009/10.

Browne report recommends “rebalancing” proportion of state & graduate costs. Original plans: No cap, fines as disincentive. HE lost battle at Comprehensive Spending Review, Public Sector cuts Oct 2010 “iniquitous”. Decision of Fees to compensate cuts already made – £9k cap Lib Dem compromise. Intorduction of National Scholarship, cost £150m. UoL to lose 26m teaching budget by 2015. “Impossible situation going forward”.

Q: In light of the increase in graduate contribution … how can Lincoln still attract students from a disadvantaged background?

MS: Students w. family income <£25k p/a entitled to Scholarship. Widening participation “not an add-on”, as 30% of students from poor background.

JD: Could Scolarships replace EMA?

RK: Implicit disadvantage – lawyers challenging fees policy on Human Rights grounds – “discriminatory at core”, European unis (little or no fee) likely to drain UK talent, Eur. Students put off studying in UK.

Q: What will the management do to justify an increase in fees to future students? Particularly when there is a likelihood that quality will decline due to the cuts.

MS: Uni “worth it”. Several examples of positive impact.

RK: New area, highly demanding, difficult to maintain standards. Mention of Paris – high standards, no fees (but ruthless ac. Culture)

CC: SU has “opportunity to raise standards”

JD: “Education not a commodity”

Q: Further Education cuts: how does the university feels this will affect their further education (college) provisions?

MS: 15% cut to 15-19 FE provision, 100% cut to adult HE? No access fund, FE ‘cuts off at knees’.

Balance of provision tipped from just even to HE subsidising FE,

JD: Campaign to defend.

Q:Riseholme danger?

MS: Yes, must preserve.

Comment: Affects subjects taken at FE. Knock-on at HE.

Com: Oxbridge reinforces class division. Educationfor edu’s sake beneath ‘monolithic’ providers.

MS: Some Vcs speaking out to raise game for HE as public good. Group camaign, blog post next week.

Q: Is the degree of the future simply an instrument towards a job?

RK: It aready is. HE self-legitimises as relevant to employment, bad position when job markets fall. Not tdeology in 1960s. Stress on HE to focus on industries, eg journalism. Argument to regain “academic autonomy”.

CC: Uni teaches ‘life skills’, how to ‘fight for self’.

JD: HE has lost sight of real reason for being: free exchange of ideas, enablement to better self, ‘grow’.

MS: HE fight intensified. Student as Producer project working to ‘hone’, work with idealism. Private academies ‘knock out’ idealism.

Com: How to counter anti-HE propaganda?

Q: How will increased undergraduate fees affect Postgrad/Research funding?

MS: Uni thinking about how to support, ‘not there yet’.

Q: Referring to NUS leak regarding co-operation with fees/cuts. What is UoL’s view?

CC: Not received, “would go straight in deleted box”

RK: Leaks indicative of ‘secrecy culture’.

How to provide distinct experience?

Interpersonal relationships w. staff, avoid ‘ivory tower’ attitude, Student as Producer.

Factory attitude bad – essential to provide ‘that much more’ but requires funding.

MS closing speech: Interest “fantastic”, uncomfortable about VCs/Unis being labelled, many VCs ‘mourning’ e.g. Salford, De Montford, Bradford, “some do not represent all”. Lists numerous HE benefits. Message lost – ref. Hodge 2003, “Why should plumbers…?” VCs to promote HE as antidote to media image. “Let’s be clever.” Chief HE funding company says government moves “too much, too fast, too deep”, cannot afford, have to change.

RK: Media can control message but not response – HE inspires to criticise everything, encourages to question. Media opening up with growth of alternative media.

Invitation from the International Student Movement – UK

Intro

Hello, This is the UK (and possibly western Europe) platform of the network called the International Student Movement.

I am contacting you to talk about what the ISM is, how it operates, and to gage a better interest from UK students and supporters. Many people here have seen some of the other countries demonstrating on the news, but how many of you know what the struggles are about and feel engaged? Many nations around the world have been fighting (in various ways) for Education, as well as the other austerity measures caused by the economic crisis. The revolts in Tunisia and Greece recently have shown just how much can be achieved when one country draws inspiration for others around it. Similarly, nationally, the different occupations and actions springing up over the UK since November this year have beentestament to this.

We want to unite people in their desires for free and fair education for all!

International Student Movement Condensed Invitation to the Spring of Resistance

To students, education workers, and friends of a free education,

The social movements in the 60s claimed universal access to education; ethnic, linguistic, and sexual minorities claimed legitimacy in academia. Since then, we have witnessed the ongoing erosion of these victories: increasingly punitive discipline over teaching practices, the strangulation of working-class education through underfunding, the re-assertion of nationalistic curricula, and many other outrages. The upsurge of militancy in reaction to recent austerity measures, both global in scope, reveals that people will tolerate the theft of a public good no longer. It presents us with a new challenge: can the revolt in defense of education become as global as the system which imposes on us, both in the form of the crisis, and in the ongoing attacks of the last forty years? And it presents us with an opportunity: given the failure of those who claim to lead us, what visions of free and liberating education can we now create?

The International Student Movement (ISM) aims to facilitate this kind of organisation. To this end, its coordinators have created several resources, including a mailing list, a newsletter, a website, and more. Check out the full list here: http://ism-global.net/ism_en
It is not the purpose of the ISM to restrict local autonomy; to issue directives to local organisations; or to sacrifice our greatest asset: the creative power of the grassroots. Rather, it is to encourage conversations between local organisations and the building of new, global models of resistance. We merely offer these tools as a gesture of solidarity.

To that end, we further invite you to participate in the Spring of Resistance (March-May; week of action 21-26; Day of Action 2 May). This will be a month of global action against the austerity programmes and for a universal, meaningful education. We hope that you embrace the opportunity to define what these ideas mean for you, in your situation, and to decide what action it is appropriate for you to take. Once again, it is not the purpose of the ISM to impose the Spring of Resistance upon student organisations. Rather, we hope that it will be perceived as an opportunity to invent new forms of resistance, at a new scale, to stretch our hands across borders and greet each other as brothers and sisters. The struggle did not begin with the ISM or this call to action, and it will not end with the Spring of Resistance. We are under no such illusions. But we can be sure, whatever happens, that it will leave us stronger, better organised, and, dare I say it, better educated.

Love and solidarity to you all,

Joint statement by the ISM. Please talk to your group about endorsing it: http://ism-global.net/international_joint_statement
Details for the Spring of Resistance:http://ism-global.net/SoR_2011

For more details, see below. The newsletter and contact details are at the bottom!

**********************************************************************************

What is the ISM?

The “International Student Movement” is an independent platform for groups and activists around the world to exchange information, network and coordinate protests in our struggle against the increasing privatisation of education and for free emancipatory education for all!

For over 2 years groups and individuals have been shaping and using the International Student Movement (ISM) platform to exchange information, network and coordinate protests against the increasing privatisation of education and for free emancipatory education on the global level.Towards the end of the year 2010 some activists began to initiate regional ISM platforms. So additionally to ISM Global, we now also have (at this stage only in form of facebook groups): ISM (Asia), ISM (the Balkans) and ISM (North America).

Why UK/Western Europe Addition?

In order to better co-ordinate news resources, actions, ideas, and generally engage more people, it was decided that regional platforms could improve communication, and keep it as relevant as possible to those on the receiving end.

The political mood in the UK has vastly changed over the past few months, since the economic crisis, and especially since the newly elected ministers came to power. Cuts in welfare and public services, and the push towards privitisation of public resources, education and healthcare have greatly worried many in society, particularly the working and middle classes. In a short space of time, the resistance in this country has become known to be low in comparison to other countries, save the ‘usual suspects’, but since the students concerned about the tuition fee caps and the cuts to education started rising, sparking at Millbank, this has been undone in record time.

The Student Movement, as it seems to be from the inside occupations at least, (not just a protest!) has become for many, part of University life. It stands us educated about the other options our government has to making these cuts, radicalised by police violence and now savvy to medical and legal practices, knowing how to learn and teach ourselves, in our own way, without formal leadership, on a mutual level, brave and organised about how to plan actions, and looking for better ways to build and put across the message, and make future demonstrations better.

The UK in itself has new information coming from all corners constantly at the moment, and the option to share this with each other easily in one place is a huge plus. For the ISM it means having better sources and a wider range of UK news to put out to different countries across the world. Similarly, when other countries send messages of solidarity to the UK, we can receive them and be sure that everyone in the UK student movement has access to them.

The movement here has recently slowed down, in part lacking direction; both of how to organise next, and what to aim FOR, rather than against. The ISM platform offers another way of discussing and planning the former with other members, though it does not seek to make decisions for the wider movement, but in terms of what we want from education it offers a clear set of ideas relating to how education should be. This may not be representitive for all students fighting the cuts, but I believe that many would benefit from looking at our aims, and those who agree with them will be in a better position to organise the ways in which we can be an active part in creating a better education.

What do we Want from You?

I am putting this message out to occupations, education groups and anti-cuts groups across the UK in order to make connections. Please note, however, that ISM is not looking only for support and participation from whole groups, but also individuals. There are many different roles that may be played by those choosing to identify with ISM-UK.

Avenues will be “…decided by direct participation and non-hierarchical organization through collective discussion… Anyone who identifies with the struggle against the privatization of public education, and for free and emancipatory education can join and participate on as well as shape the platform!”

These are just some ideas:

UK Casual

  • Joining the group and reading the updates
  • Signing the joint statement
  • Posting their own regional news, pictures and blogs to the page/group
  • Discussing the general direction on the forums
  • Spread the word – Repost!

UK Involved

  • Signing up to the mailing list to receive more information
  • Discussing real aims and methods in chat meetings
  • Sharing ideas for our own actions locally
  • Developing ways of acting nationally, either identifying with ISM or not
  • Offering skills and time for communication, design and technolgy
  • Host physical meetings
  • Hash tag #ISM-UK to update us on UK events

International Casual

 

  • Follow the ISM page, twitter and the website to find out about international struggles
  • Share links of interest to your friends/group
  • Download the newsletters
  • Post messages and pictures of Solidarity to education warriors around the world
  • Talk to people of different nationalities on the ISM forum about your experiences

International Involved

  • Sign up to the ISM mailing list
  • Discuss the worldwide aims of the movement, and the platform on global chat
  • Spread international student voices around the UK as much as possible, including at demos
  • Be inspired and learn from demonstration methods from other countries
  • Be part of the Spring of Resistance
  • Organise actions for the Spring of Resistance
  • Offer skills, including linguistic and those mentioned in UK
    Maybe even meet up with other students world wide, like in Paris at the moment

Why Sign the Pledge?

The International Joint statement found here:

http://emancipating-education-for-all.org/international_joint_statement

is a basic outline of what we are for and against, and is supported by many groups from different places. We would like to spread our ideas further, showing a united front, and help groups who do believe in this to get what they want to achieve.

Since the ISM platform was initiated in November 2008 the “International Day of Action against the Commercialization of Education” (Nov.5th 2008), “Reclaim your Education – Global Week of Action” (April 20-29th 2009), “Education is NOT for $A£€ – Global Week of Action” (Nov.5th + 9-18th 2009), “Global Wave of Action for Education” (Oct./Nov. 2010) and “Spring of Resistance” (March – May 2011) were coordinated. We strive for structures based on direct participation and non-hierarchical organization through collective discussion and action. Anyone who identifies with the struggle against the privatization of public education, and for free and emancipatory education can join and participate on as well as shape the platform!

A few positives of being involved with the ISM

  • Supporting the views expressed
  • Sharing ideas with a wider body of people, locally and globally
  • Being inspired and feeling solidarity with the world
  • Clear aims and direction
  • Spreading the story of our struggles in our country, and to other countries, not relying on mass media.

How we Operate

Currently the ISM platform works in a number of ways. We communicate news through all available channels: the website, social media, youtube, newsletters and occasionally email. Planning is generally done on global chat, emails, and on various mailing lists. There have been meetings in person, and now there are more regional groups. ISM has called for global days and weeks of actions.

The set up for ISM-UK has not been decided on, and will not be until the extent of participation from the UK is clear. It could be just for the UK, or cover Western Europe. It depends how well the facility is used. Personally I see this as a platform for networking the UK groups in a somewhat secure way. I see local groups and individuals contributing their news either to the UK platform, or directly to the International, and for the ‘top stories’ decided by those who wish to participate, to be put forward to the ISM. (people can of course participate more or less involvededly if they wish at any given time. Unless they volunteer to do a specific job they can come and go as they please to chats and not be taken less seriously than those who attend every session) If we want our own UK chatroom or newsletters, or any other resource it is possible. It depends on what the UK movement wants to take from ISM.

Spring of Resistance

One of the global actions currently being planned by the ISM is the “Spring of Resistance”. Rather than a day or week, it is planned to go from March through to May, essentially meaning the whole of Spring. The UK movement has had a slow but steady recovery of actions since the Winter holiday hibernation, but appears to be waking up to Spring time, with a call to re-occupy on Feb 24th, and of course the National TUC demo on March 26th. Anyone wanting to call out for independent actions (big or large) for SoR would be welcomed, as would anyone choosing to attend other demonstrations with ISM leaflets, slogans or banners, or giving a talk about the ISM in their occupations or on their blogs. Any way we participate is a positive, and adds to the global uprising, which should be felt in the coming months.

Emancipation for All

Free and emancipatory education does not only benefit students in schools and universities, but also society at large. We, groups and activists around the world on the ISM platform, say “Our Fight is Your Fight just like Your Fight is Our Fight” and call upon labour and the community at large to join in the fight students, teachers and parents are engaged in.

Massive protests were organized in various parts of the world including Austria, Bangladesh, Chile, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, not to mention South Africa, the UK, Ukraine and the U.S.A. in the past few months alone (see e.g. “Global Wave of Action for Education”). The demonstrations were not only against austerity measures that effect accessibility to education, but also to fight the increasing privatization of education, growing pressure to succeed, and a rising wave of questioning of the fundamental structures and functions of education systems.

To further the pressure locally and globally, groups, associations and individuals on the International Student Movement platform, who endorse the “International Joint Statement” came together to initiate the “Spring of Resistance” (SoR) from March to May 2011. That period will include a “Global Week of Action” (March 21-26th) as well as a “Global Day of Action” (May 2nd).

The framework of the SoR basically consists of the following three elements:

“International Joint Statement” (consider endorsing it!)
a united symbol (different versions are still being made)
common slogans
Individual groups and associations will organize their own actions during this period while the ISM provides the platform and the infrastructure to coordinate the mobilization across and between the regions. The timeframe of the “Spring of Resistance” marks an opportunity to strengthen the network between groups and activists and unite worldwide for free emancipatory education. Various social movements can be joined by the timing as well as by the framework of the “Spring of Resistance”.

In addition to sit-ins and demonstrations, events such as workshops and street theatre are planned by some to mark the resistance against the currently dominating education systems around the world. We want education for emancipation – not for profits!

When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.

The following protests and events as part of the “Spring of Resistance” have been confirmed so far:

Kick-off on March 1st, which marks the beginning of the Month of Action to Defend Public Education across the U.S.A..
During the same month groups in Canada, the UK and Germany already announced protests for free education as part of the SoR.

**********************************************************************************

Latest News

Here is the latest copy of Reclaim Education

http://www.archive.org/download/ReclaimEducation-Issue4/recedu-1101.pdf
It is a small compilation of recent news about education demonstration collected by the ISM. Feel free to copy and send on, or print and distribute!

Contact

ISM email

united.for.education@gmail.com
ISM-UK email

ISM-UK@riseup.net
ISM mailing list

international_students_movement@lists.riseup.net
ISM website

http://emancipating-education-for-all.org/
ISM facebook page

http://www.facebook.com/ism.global
ISM-UK facebook page

http://www.facebook.com/pages/International-Student-Movement-UK/102323336513755?created

ISM twitter

http://twitter.com/ISM030
ISM chat room

http://ism.speeqe.com/

The LOLCⒶT Manifesto

Introduction

Hello! This is really a bit of a personal project in some ways, but I actually want to write this to give anyone who reads stuff I write some background on my views. (I’m a real fan of anyone who reads through my 6000-or-so word blogs.) Why? Well because this is a blog for the University of Lincoln students to keep updated on education action primarily, and I can’t help but notice how out of line my views and advice probably are to a lot of students here. This should explain roughly my views of what Anarchism is about, why the cuts are important to me, where I land on the pacifism/violence lines and why, and how that interacts with my other beliefs.

I am a political Vegan and Anarchi-Feminist. I am a Socialist Lefty who believes in the importance of Class Struggle and Environmentalism, but doesn’t pay nearly enough attention to them. I remain idealist and focus largely on the personal impact I have on the world in terms of single issue intersectionality. I believe we must be the change we wish to see and so began my Veganism, queer-encapsulating feminism, anti-fascist/racist action, and interest in other social issues facing marginalised groups, where I may be an ally or part of.

Anarchism

As all great self-explaining posts, I’ll begin with a dictionary definition.

The term Anarchism comes from the Greek word anarchos, meaning “without rulers”.

Anarchism is a political philosophy which considers the state unnecessary and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society. It seeks to abolish authority in the conduct of human relations. There is no single defining position that all anarchists hold.

So what is my Anarchism? It was a slow process for me to get where I am politically. It sprung from my feminism initially. I have a real issue with a lot of stuff increasingly on TV or what people say, not in a PC way so much as in feeling physically sick or seeing red and not being able to leave my room for hours after. My escape was The F Word blog. I learnt a lot about various other oppressions and oppressors, hierarchies, trolls and derailing commenters through it. I’d worked up enough intersectionality politics so that when I saw Socialist Students in the Freshers Fair I took an interest, possibly from a reformist angle, but also very much life-stylist. I did not find what I was looking for there, which was a “safe space”, with people that I could trust not to say things I found offensive for fun, but all the same, I made some great friends, and went on my first protests. They were A-B marches with rallies at the end for the most part. The first few times, when the things they were saying were still novel to me, I quite enjoyed them, but I knew it wasn’t for me. I became a vegetarian instantly upon moving to University the year before, with help of a friend.

I had finally found myself actually into music that year. I never had been really. I’d been loosely into metal and rock, but never really got music like other people. Now I did, and I was filling my head with Sonic Boom Six, The King Blues, Babar Luck, Kultur Shock, The Goats, Junkyard Empire, and Asian Dub Foundation, over a year filling out to everything in between. So why on Earth is that relevant? Well, because I built up a ‘political’ playlist, as sad as that is, and the One Love simple and inclusive variety of Anarchism was colouring my mind in the most surreal Black. My best friend at home was an Anarchist, and others in SSL identified partly as that, all with various ideas, but like the Socialists and Unionists, focused largely on Class Struggle and Workers’ Rights. I’ve never worked, and so maybe that’s why it has never quite appealed to me the same way. But then I heard Schemers, Scroungers, and the Rats, and I realised something. I had always been an Anarchist.

Since I was a small child I have never done the same as anyone else. In primary school I wouldn’t even participate in classes at the same time as my peers, and I certainly had a different taste in fashion. I always have resented being told off for things, despite not ever having one of those ‘rebellious phases’. I never wanted to have more; more money, or other superficial things. I wouldn’t say no. I could do with it. But I didn’t want anything enough to work for it, and certainly would never beg someone to give something to me. However, I must point out that I always had what I needed and more. I am a fairly spoilt only child on some levels.

I’ve never believed that the government we vote in makes a lot of difference, I matured around the time that 2 million marched against the war, and we still went to war. Maybe other people need someone to tell them what to do, because youthful arrogance always thinks some people are below them (just look at the Jeremy Kyle show!) but not me! I know what I want in my life, and there probably isn’t a state intervention that could improve my chances of getting it, apart from perhaps welfare if the state fails me. I got quite into conspiracy theories in college, and you know what? I believe a lot of them. I don’t think about them much any more, but I realised that for a uncorrupted state to exist, free of influence of corporations or other interests, then the World’s superpowers would have to be dissolved and start again. I don’t think anyone could convince me any amount of reforms could result in stability across the world. This put a negative spin on things, but once I started looking into anarchism, it seemed far less bleak.

So I met actual Anarchists, but I felt a little apart from them. It was the class struggle thing. And the religious thing. Now, I’m not religious, and I am against religious institutions, but I believe that people’s personal spirituality is much their own thing, so long as it isn’t influencing them to treat other people in ways that negatively affect them. Of course there is an issue with a theist actually being an ‘anarchist’ themselves, if they consider their God their master, but some of the most brilliant groundwork was laid down by Tolstoy, some of the above-mentioned music artists are spiritual, and in other countries there’s a whole other culture, where to dismiss the majority of the population would be, to me, incredibly sad. The two main streams of anarchism are class struggle based (communism, syndicalism) and environmental (green, primitivist, veganarchist) based. Neither of these fits me, but neither do they fit William Blake nor Oscar Wilde perfectly. We shouldn’t all be squeezed into boxes – anarchists least of all!

Of course the difference between me and them, is that they were mostly content as artists rather than activists; philosophical Anarchists, not political. I want to live my dreams, and the best way for me to do that, without being reminded every day that the waking world isn’t like my dreams, is to change that world. To change it to the extent of a dream world is no easy task, but I don’t expect to ever fully get there. The challenge and excitement is upon getting there in the most empowering and interactive way possible, whilst holding to your integrity. It is through the journey that we find our rage and our peace.

If you were hoping for an overtly political discussion on the pro’s of Anarchism, you won’t find it from me. I don’t like intellectualism. That is another strong factor for why I am an Anarchist in fact; because what is valued in society as intellectual is a middle class creation with its own boundaries and traditions and limitations, which I feel excludes people or makes them feel less like they have anything to offer if they don’t meet the standard. Naturally I disagree that long words and finding loopholes to ‘win’ a debate, or being the most objective, rational and detached from life makes one more intelligent. However, even if I didn’t, I believe strongly in autonomy. That is to say that I believe everyone should have a good amount of control over their lives, and so when politics begins to exclude people based on their “intellectual” capacity, I don’t like it. Politics affects everybody, and generally those moreso those who don’t fit that mold. To deny the ones affected most the tools to free themselves, but to elect to do what you think is best anyway is beyond me. If you want to engage people then don’t talk over their heads or only accept arguments backed up by some dude that’s had a few books published. Politics is personal, Anarchism is life. It doesn’t need a reference, it needs personal experiences. That’s how we really learn what is important. Don’t think I’m speaking against expanding the mind and learning from past mistakes either. People do it differently is all. Personally I have 16 books out the library right now!

Since then I’ve spent a lot of time with Sheffield Anarchists, with whom I do feel very comfortable and safe, despite differences, and I’ve been with various Anarchists on most of the national demonstrations, including during their actions, and it is quite eye-opening, and of course, Network X. This has had a profound effect in me feeling able to identify contently within the group, and given me a bit more hope in the world I would like to create, even if it isn’t quite the same as theirs. However new you are, your opinion is just as important, and I can’t talk for other marginalised groups, but I felt that women’s issues are well discussed within the groups, and there is usually encouragement for queer-identifying people, and childcare available for events, as well as vegan food options. I attended a free-school set up by my friends, and have been in a room of 300 people using consensus decision making, and whilst at some times challenging, it really proved to me the possibilities, and I’ve found it all inspiring!

Cuts

Cheap as it is, I would like to direct you to Anarchists Against the Cuts, based around my local area at home, to explain the reason why it is important to fight the cuts to welfare when we don’t believe in welfare. I’d like to add to this too, that we don’t live in an Anarchist world, so of course, like anyone else, I want to see a better world created as much as I can. If I am completely honest, I like the chance that bad times give us to come together in solidarity to attempt to change things nationally and internationally. It’s all brilliantly exciting. It alerts people to new possibilities and underlying problems; for instance, many occupation groups have found that they don’t want leaders any more, that they can take more control in a medical or legal rights kinda way, or at the very least discovered what tax evasion is! The down side is of course people getting hurt and arrested or the very real possibility of everything going back to normal as if we never realised our own power.

Violence

Ah how neatly this brings me in to this part! When you first engage with direct action and civil disobedience you really do get a sense of empowerment, not just as an individual, but as a mass. Of course if these low-level attacks on buildings aren’t enough political pressure to stop these cuts then what is to be done, assuming we cannot employ strike action so well as those in employment? I think the student movement hits a rough consensus on not hurting people. Respect for life is paramount to Anarchist beliefs, though believe me, the pacifists and the black bloc can be on the other side of the universe of thought at times. Anarchism works well in the activist community by employing ‘diversity of tactics’, but on a mass scale movement where it isn’t about activists, but about getting everybody involved… that’s a whole other matter.

I’m going to make it clear right now, though it might not always seem it, I do not glorify violence against living things. That is why I am a vegan after all. I take issue with anyone who takes pleasure in killing someone or something, or the idea of it, which is more common. How can you create a peaceful new world with that sort of pathology? But on the other hand, how can we create any kind of new world if we aren’t willing to fight for it? Can we afford to always be on defense? To only ever be the victims that only fight the police or attack buildings because the police attacked us first? It looks better on us in the media to be sure, but if the current protests are supposed to be trying to force the govt to do something then we are going to have to try a little bit harder to get real targets, and a little less of the martyrdom, which tends to lead to arrest. I don’t have the answers but I know that street presence isn’t enough for 1 day protests by students. on November 30th it was enough to run around the streets, dodging kettles, but the story has lost its novelty, and a similar thing happening on Jan 29th drew almost no media attention, and did no damage to the powers that be.

As for what I personally do? I’m a newbie. I guess I’d be up for a lot of the spikier stuff, but as for causing harm to people? Only in self defense. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t throw a paint bomb to block the vision of a riot cop, but the only time i’ve gotten physically involved on a demo was shoving an EDL member away from hurting my friend. My neighbour at home is a chief inspector. He has two young daughters I’ve watched grow from babies. I don’t mind people attacking the arm of the state, and honestly there are a lot of debates about violence in anarchism online and the role of the police, but I think apart from defense I could only think of attacking anyone when a movement is so big that the police and armies have had due time to switch sides and have made their choice to support the state over the people.

Feminism

People often see feminism as militant, and often it can be (not in the way you’re thinking. It’s just empowering and no nonsense, and can be willing to kick your ass). However, in most lines of feminism, the aim is not to imitate the apparently “masculine” destructive urges or to constantly be a fighting strong woman, but actually to reduce the violence in the world for everybody; to stop wars, and promoting violent themes in young boys toys and clothing, and to end domestic violence and rape. To create a safe space where women and men and everyone in between can be themselves without fear of violence, not just in privileged communities, but throughout all cultures and countries. It is known as feminisation. This seems at first at odds with Anarchism , and then in line with more pacifist Anarchism it seems to fit in rather well. If feminists are to look for a better system instead of trying to fit women into the current system, then a pacifist Anarchist community seems the perfect place. To paraphrase Emma Goldman, if women are truly to be free then they must liberate themselves from their liberation. She argued against women’s suffrage because as an anarchist she did not believe that voting was the answer, so why should women want to do it just because it is the done thing?

Anarchists and feminists therefore must both ponder the same question of HOW to create a less oppressive world without being oppressive. Due to the slow nature of social change, it is important for all larger struggles to be true to their beliefs on feminism, and all other liberation and rights issues, or else it may only be men on the front line or with megaphones if there are no childcare facilities provided for instance. We will not suddenly lose all our prejudices after the hypothetical revolution, which is for me why the lifestyle element is so important. As for feminism, with all its mingling with other oppressions, for women are black and disabled and gay, and sometimes biological men waiting to be women, or biological women who don’t identify in that box at all; they are working class too, and if ALL women are to be free, which would of course be beneficial to where men, and certainly boys would be freer too, then the only way forward is a wider social movement. Individual liberation is important, but if it is JUST about individual liberation, then what one woman does, particularly if she’s in a better position than most, really doesn’t mean much for other women and their rights. Feminism needs anarchism, or at least socialism as much as Anarchism needs feminism and all the other marginalised people’s input in order to really free everyone.

Freedom

For me, being free is like being in a permanent safe space. People are nice to each other and polite, and respectful, and don’t say hurtful and offensive things – not because they aren’t allowed to, but because people don’t want to hear it, and are creative and funny without really needing to indulge in that. To be free of most expectations, and all based on gender and race assumptions would be the most liberating experience for me. People would only have to work enough to keep their communities running between them, and have most of their time for their passions and interests. They could do what they do best, or they could take turns. We would look after each other and nobody would go hungry. We would be self-sufficient largely for food and medicine and power. Nobody of any species would suffer pain and violence at the hands of a human unless it was necessary for the survival of the attacker. If this were broken then people would try their best to understand hir and ensure that it did not happen again, rather than judging them. Learning would never end, because knowledge and skill sharing would be all around, rather than having a set curriculum. the sources would be there for those who want to push themselves further. People would try to better themselves without needing to be better than other people. People would love in whatever way they felt was right, and this goes for sex too so long as consensual and respectful, though this may or may not have anything to do with the love lives. This isn’t a manifesto, it’s just dreams ❤

Anarchist FAQ
Anarchist Federation
Solidarity Federation
Network X
Anarchism Wiki
Infoshop – Anarcha Feminism Article
Zapatista
Queer Mutiny

Emma Goldman
Leo Tolstoy
Piotr Kropotkin
Mikhail Bakunin
Voltairine de Cleyre
Ashanti Alston
Lucy Parsons
Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin
Práxedis Guerrero
Lucía Sánchez Saornil
Noam Chomsky
Émile Armand
Mary Woolenstonecraft
Errico Malatesta
Starhawk

Minutes of Occupation Meeting 9th Feb 2011

Once again, if anyone wants anything adding or amending, please comment.

UL Occupation Meeting 9th Feb 2011

Public Meeting with Vice-Chancellor
Weds 23rd Feb, LPAC, 5-7pm.
‘Question Time’ format, Speakers: VC Mary Stuart, Richard Keeble, Chris Charnley, ULOcc delegate.
5 min opening speeches – what to include?
Delegate:
Suggest non-SSL occupier – disagree: excludes too many, leads to exclusion ad absurdum.
Volunteers: JD, RW (reserve). Collaborate on speech. Misunderstanding: Only one speaker.

Occupation Delegate’s Opening speech:
Thank VC, speakers, attendees.
Establish targets? Run down of uni position on cuts. What VC is doing, can & cannot do, make these clear. Question of uni publicity: Where can public/students view results if any? Students need access to info on uni anti-cuts strategy.
What does Occ want to convey?
Message from Occ. Mention Occ in intro, discussion w. VC 17th Dec 2010, why happy to end Occ at that point.
Other UK Occupations, highlight fact of mass movement, not just ‘nutty students’.
Original Occupation aims: 1 & 2 achieved, 3rd most important, 4th ask VC
Form offical anti-cuts committee*; convey relevance to other (non-teaching) staff.
Focus speech, “smaller than Uni”, acknowledge ULOcc does not have remit to represent all students, whereas VC/SU/Occ combined does.
*Semantics of ‘Committee’ – too exclusive? Suggest ‘Forum’ as wider group, with ‘Committee’ elected from within.

Build-up to meeting:
Publicity: target all uni memebers: Students, lecturers, aux. Staff. Establish target audience. Suggest focus on SU reps as liason to wider student population.
How much printed material required? “Lots”. >1000 flyers, additional posters.
Make contact with SU, establish if SU willing to provide resources for printing, ULOcc has £55 budget remaining.
2-3 required for liason w. SU, direct comm. w. Charnley. L on emails. MS volunteers to ‘harass’ SU.
Ensure delegate is presentable: volunteers wanted to pin the tail on the monkey 22nd Feb.
Free pizza.

Future direction will be determined after VC meeting.
Update ULOcc Aims in blog, highlight aims achieved.
Modify Occ logo. Facebook profile pics.

Next meeting:
Questions/answers for/to/from JD (cross w. SSL agenda)
Questions for VC/SU/RK
Update: Solidarity with Hull, possible visit Fri 18th Feb

ADDITION – Look into Feb 24th as Occupation News also

Manchester TUC/NUS Rally & Consequences 29th January 2011 – A second view

Creating a Situation – A View from the Front

Note that the views in this post are not necessarily the views of the Lincoln Occupation, they are entirely those of one member. The Occupation is much more diplomatic 😉

On 29th January 2011, a number of young people (estimates vary between 150-500), including several of the more passionately anti-authoritarian Lincoln students, created a situation in the centre of Manchester. Whilst Manchester is definitely not a city unused to situations, this one took the authorities, and the public by surprise. Most of the spectators gathered to watch (who may well have outnumbered the situation-creators) stood rapt, photographing with their phones, witnessing open-mouthed the people exercising their right to protest.. The unplanned march provoked numerous police interventions but the fluid nature of the movement left them wrong-footed, picking off stragglers until they finally trapped a reduced group at a crossroads. It forced the police to counter the protest with force far in excess of the threat actually posed. One of our number was amongst them, & it was with great regret that we left him behind. I feel I owe the other M a drink for his trouble, he may claim it at his convenience.

Despite the publicised 16 arrests, there was very little violence involved. Protesters banged on the windows & rattled the hastily closing shutters of UKUncut-targeted shops, leading to clashes with security, and a few were the unlucky victims of police TSU ambushes. The movement was not concerned with destruction or harm (despite reports of one or two irresponsible carriers), but with exploiting gaps, improvised resistance and, quite simply, giving the cops the runaround.

I very much hope that this sort of action becomes more common in our forthcoming protests. For me, the chase through the streets disperse-regroup dynamic was a thrill, a taxing but fulfilling adrenaline rush, knowing that despite doing nothing more illicit than running and shouting, the risk of arrest as one involved was ever present.

There was little news coverage of the event, a product partly of the movement’s spontaneity but mainly of the dominance of the Egyptian protest, a struggle we would do well to keep in mind. It gives a most acute perspective on our own position.

I believe the Trade Union movement, much as I respect the dedication of those active within it, must step up its game to have the effect it must in order to oppose the cuts in any meaningful way. Preaching to the converted in a park removed from the thousands of working people who were out in Manchester is not a strong strategy. I like to think we opened a few eyes. I wonder how many were anything other than utterly oblivious until we let them know something was happening. Many factors have limited the powers of the Unions, & now the grassroots need them more than ever. They must be willing to take chances, to say To Hell! with the Daily Mail and the Thatcherite stranglehold.

Symbolic of the position in which the Unions find themselves were the toilets at the rally. 20 portaloos.

Guarded by horses.

I do hope that the horses were laughing as they watched the humans queueing to piss as the crapped freely on the ground. I would encourage anyone with a photo of a horse crapping in front of the bogs to publish it, for it is a fine critique of the futility of English reserve, and should serve as a reminder to the Unions that they can, and must, do more than wait in line while the rest of Britain shits itself.

L refers to me describing the event as ‘the most liberating experience of my life.’ I have generally thought of myself as a fairly ‘liberated’ individual until now, but there is something utterly removed from past experience about being so close to the grip of authority which hammers home the knowledge that real freedom is not fear of an ‘other’ from which we must be protected; or to have ‘enough’ of a commodity which is only favoured by those who can never gain ‘enough’ of, or from, it; but that the one thing we have any real control over is ourselves. Our bodies and our minds cannot be free in this world of mediated truth and the acceptance of passivity as a more valid political stance than speaking out. Freedom is not just an external factor, sometimes we must create it for ourselves.

That said, I have one distinct regret. The police formed a line on Oxford Road, which the a splinter of the group bypassed via a side alley. As we emerged onto the main road, TSU vans flanked us. Myself, and a stranger stood very close, were barged by a cop, clearly upset at the possibility of us ‘getting away’. The other man was knocked to the ground, whilst the rozzer grabbed my shoulder. I twisted, freed myself, and ran. I do not know what became of the man I had unwillingly knocked over. Knowing from the reports that police were forceful and outnumbering, I fear I may have left him to a cruel fate. I confess, I did not look back until I was well clear. Should he & I ever meet again, he may be assured he shall not be paying for his own drinks that night.

-M.

Minutes of Occupation Meeting 2nd Feb 2011

Let me know if anyone wants anything altering, any questions, etc.

University of Lincoln Occupation: Meeting 2nd Feb 2011

Meeting with Vice Chancellor
Decision on university’s public anti-cuts/fees meeting?
Email communication, suggestions for time/location requested: Conditions? After or during Uni hours? 5pm suggested.
Possible meeting dates for U.L.Occ . to meet VC: 18th, 23rd, 28th Feb, 1st March (closer to TUC demo 26th March)
Preferences: (1) 1st March; (2) 22nd Feb; (3) 24th Feb. Tues preferred, otherwise Thurs.
Suggest 3-4 Student delegates from list of volunteers:
D; H; JD; JS; L; N; R; Z
Where to meet?

Occupation Blog
L encourages continued use.
Retains high readership: 2000+ views Dec, 600+ Jan.
Revised blog categories e.g. by author, subject, genre.

Occupation Network News:
Glasgow reoccupied: Protest against building closure. Suggest solidarity email.
London universities – ongoing meetings & training, “Sukey” anti-kettling project.
Tweets for UCL occupation received, mistaken for ‘ULOcc’.
Recommend author’s initial on tweets, not anonymous ‘ULOcc’ if a personal view, to avoid @ULOcc arguing with self.
Retweets on ULOcc of demos, other Occs’ news.

Renaming & fusion:
‘Occupation’ puts off less politicisised persons? Compromise by over-arching or partner anti-cuts/fees group. Keep U.L.Occ. as subordinate or sister group.
Chair proposes0 SSL/Occupation funding to buy gavel. Minute-taker seconds.
Less confident anti-cuts sympathisers scared to associate with occ?
Retain apolitical stance? What if (e.g.) Direct Action?
Decide if uni campaign is against all cuts or exclusively education cuts/tuition fees? Suggest focus campaign on edu issues, inc. directly related cuts e.g. Arts.
Lincoln Stop the Cuts University division? Associate w. Uni of Utopia &/Edu Factory.
Too many branch groups risks lack of focus?
Involve other Edu-interested parties by concentrating on Edu issues.
Retain “anti-all cuts” message.
Vote to change name (note: many Occs retain ‘U[x]Occ’ naming). If possibility of reoccupation, retain ULOcc name.
SU/Charnley support in question: SU Mobilisation required. Additional board/blog to ally SU?
Retire older groups with crossover.
MOTION: Create second group: Passed.
Objection: Why appeal to ‘confused’?
Some students ‘scared’ to occupy e.g. political-apathetic, hostile, oppositional peer pressure.
Distance from SSL to avoid ‘just another leftist group’ tar-brush, perception of elitism. We must ‘extend hand’/encourage dialogue (ref. apparent segregation on Manc coach 29/1/11).
Others misjudge SSL/ULOcc – do we misjudge also?
Associate w. ‘internationalist’ campaigns e.g. Amnesty Int’l.
Recruitment (specifically) non-SSL staff for new group.
LSTC/LSSTC umbrella – link with TU’s.
Direct pressure on Charnley required?
Recruit to utilise all available skills. Encourage open-mindedness.
Marketing approach? ‘grab’ potential supporters.

Naming sister/umbrella group?
Avoid negative &/ exclusory implications eg ‘cuts’ ‘student’ ‘university’

NEXT WEEK
Time 6/6.30 (TBC)
Worked/didn’t?
What next?

EDIT: Occupation Speaker for meeting with the Vice-Chancellor. VC suggests female member to maintain gender neutrality. Other speakers Chris Charnley, Richard Keeble. LPAC, Weds 23rd Feb, 5-7pm.