Skip to content

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.

Jan 29th, Manc, 1 POV

For the record, I’ve been to a few rallies and marches in my time, but more recently, I went to the NUS demo in November and was at Millbank. I spent day X1 with the rest of SSL trying to organise the people of Lincoln against the education cuts. I was at X2 in London, playing ‘cat and mouse’, and I was, of course, in London for day X3, as has been written about substantially in this blog. Besides a sound demo outside Karl McCartney’s office, the 29th was the first mobilisation against the cuts that University of Lincoln students have attended. Travel was kindly provided by the SU, and there was an improvement in numbers from the last demonstration, possibly due to the time being a bit later.

TUC, UCU and NUS had organised this demo. ‘Funding our Future – A Future that Works: National Rally for Young People’. Part of the reason for the demo was to try to recall the bill which got rid of the EMA. It is quite common for trade union marches to consist of meeting to sell various party papers, walk and chant with signs, then go and listen to their top dogs give speeches about why they are there and what they want to achieve.

M passed some printed copies of my Guide to Protesting, and was passing it around the coach. The NUS bust card also made its way around. I was pretty ill prepared having just moved house, but none the less was prepared for the worst. I borrowed a mask off another passenger. At a stop I noticed one of my more apolitical friends, who isn’t a student, and his mates. When we got off the bus, a large portion of us tried to make our way to a toilet. Our first attempt to mass walk into the museum’s automatic doors was thwarted when they simply ceased to open. We split up, and me and M used Manc Met SU, then crossed the road to the veggie vegan place, where I ate a salad and an ‘energy bomb’. Making our way back through a sea of paper sellers proved to be difficult. We could barely see our own feet to move forward, let alone find our group. I decided as a SolFed guy with the Education Worker was stood there without actively trying to get people to take them, and it’s free, that I’d take one of those. The strangest thing was walking past a small group of mini-anarchists, who all appeared to be about 14. I was heartened by the amount of black flags however, that this might be more interesting than other rallies I’d been on, and that the mood from the other demos might have made its way into the Trade Union Movement.

We found some of the rest of the Lincoln lot, and ‘touched base’. Just then, a large group paraded through the crowd, shouting about Aaron Porter. I didn’t realise quite how significant the actions of this group were in chasing the guy down the street. One of us was passed a leaflet that said ‘heckle Aaron Porter’, which I found quite funny and insurgent. Others in the group were discussing how Porter has been put in a difficult position and doesn’t deserve the shit, so I figured I’d found my moment to find my crowd. M wanted to tag along, which was fine, of course. It was good timing, as the crowd began following the parade into the main march. Top of my list was finding anarchists, and second on my list was finding a sound system. When I realised that the anarchists had the soundsystem I was doubly pleased.

One of the most inspiring moments was next to the amp. There were 3 small girls stood there between about 11-13. They were relatively ‘normal’ looking, with high street clothing. But they were wielding Socialist Worker flags, had ‘Leeds’ painted on their faces, and a mini battery-powered megaphone between them. The smallest one pulled back her blonde hair and tied a white bandana over her face. It made me smile. One of the young adults on a megaphone had painted his on. A good idea. I walked forward closer to the side of the bike pulling the system. There were for black-bloc-ing people carrying a McDonalds banner, with the other side painted. It was the Anarchist slogan “you hold the scissors, we hold the rock”, and this time it was rather literal. Cuts, music… There were always one of two people steadying the speaker, and one pulling the bike. In the direct area there were about 7 more obvious anarchists walking alongside, and around another 10 less obvious similar-minded people, as well as the mini-anarchist group, two action medics, and two very obvious anarcho-punks. I pulled up my mask and my hood, and walked amongst them.

I couldn’t help notice how big the divide in moods was. There were those chanting at the back and the front; some of which seem to enjoy marching and chanting in itself, who possibly hadn’t been to any of the recent student demos which had been creative, insurgent, largely unplanned, and involved some degree of civil disobedience and direct action, or had just resulted in clashes with the police anyway. Of those that had, it was clear that some had never been to an A-B march then rally. Or that they had, and didn’t like them, and were assuming that this one would be different. Everything has changed. Jobs are being lost, the public sector is being cut or privatised, welfare is being sashed, especially for the disabled, and national libraries and museums and art projects are closing. That’s the case before you approach education. The students near-rioted over a rise in fees. Last year it turned from a protest into a real movement, and we wanted the workers to join our fight.

As I walked with them, I was asked to take a turn at carrying the banner for a bit, which felt pretty good. We swapped in and out, and at one point orchestrated it so that we had a fully female line up doing the lifting work. It was comfortable, if strange, to work in harmony with people despite having no intention of asking them their names. A school student from our occupation, A, came past to take some photos. I felt a little embarrassed in my ninja outfit, and stuck out my tongue behind the mask. There were a lot of purple eyes around me. Some people really take this stuff seriously, down to the contact lenses. We eventually came to a big park, which was playing some 2-tone, turned off our music, and walked a far distance from the stage. We planted the placard into the ground and parked up the bike. It was a good time to chat. I was stood near a guy with a V mask on. He had already had enough of the speeches. By the sound of it, he wasn’t an anarchist, but he was getting irritated at hearing the words “young people”.

We were all getting agitated and some were getting increasingly bored by the focus on young people. See it was a rally for young people, but young people are interested in more than just the things that affect them, and even were that not true, we have gotten used to representing ourselves, not being represented by elected leaders, or by teaching unions. That isn’t to say that they aren’t interesting individuals, but trying to appeal to the things we are interested in was failing miserably. It isn’t that the subjects weren’t true or interesting. They were. But they were also repetitive and offered no answers. For many of us, it wouldn’t have mattered what they were saying because so many of us are past the talking stage and wanting to get a bigger group to mobilise with. As a member of the NUS stepped up, taking Aaron Porter’s place to speak, the student activists in the crowd became more restless. (I don’t include the majority of ULOccupiers, who respectfully stayed quiet till the end) They shouted to get him out, and after hearing how good a job NUS were supposedly doing, was egged off. The next MP spoke against eggs, and talked about how none of this would have happened if Labour was in. He was egged too. Back away from the stage, our music turned on, which I didn’t think was a brilliant idea. It had to go off again after someone got really angry at them. Kudos to the SWP lad who spent a good 10 minutes in a crowd of black hoodies adamantly trying to sell a paper to some of the more intimidating looking fellows. There were horses guarding the port-a-loos, and there were FIT taking photos of us from a distance. I tried to tell someone with his mask down, but he was obviously high on life, and looked under my mask and hugged me, so I gave up.

There were a lot of talks about what to do. It was clear that staying here and patting ourselves on the back wasn’t an option. What could we do to make a point? Apparently, the SWP and some student occupiers had planned to leave after heckling Porter, but as he didn’t show up, the crowd was confused. I got a text from A, asking what the anarchists were doing, as she was bored. People were shouting “we know!” and “strike!” and “Why are we in a field?” The idea of an occupation came up, for which we may need to change clothes to get away with. The clowns had returned, and were actually far more entertaining than anything currently going on. They weren’t doing much; just frog marching and having a good time, but I’ve never seen them before. We decided that if we wanted to see what we could do, then we needed to see how many people would come, so we moved the system a bit, picked up the placard, and put on the music. After about 2 minutes, about a third of the crow followed. I grabbed one side of the speaker to steady, and someone in sunnies grabbed the other. The only people in front of us were the dude with the bike, and one person who ran ahead to tell the police by the gates what we were doing. They facilitated us onto the road.

The (amazing actually) music was blaring from under my hands. We led the way, followed by the big black banner. Photographers kept jumping in our paths to get a good view. It felt like some kind of crazy music video, and honestly, I loved it. It’s always pretty empowering to walk out in front of cars without fear. The police bikes zoomed past us and we knew the free reign of “Our Streets” wouldn’t last very long. As lines of police passed to ‘contain’ us, we would turn the other way. Eventually we ended up down an alleyway. We were cut off by the police. They broke up the banner and there was ‘scuffles’, as the police call it. We were struggling to get the sound system out, what with the horses, but it was now partly my responsibility so we stuck with it. I was worried that they’d try to take it, but after forcing section 60 on us (no face masks, but there was no FIT around anyway) they let us carry on. We took the music further down the road, and soon got a crowd again. A different one this time. People I didn’t see before. As we walked to a safe quiet spot, the guy who talked to the police before stopped to briefly say what he felt this was about. He said the idea was to take the protest onto the street where the people could see it. Just then I noticed the guy I know, N, and 2 or 3 of his mates. I was kinda surprised.

There were quite a lot of times where we had to run to avoid being kept in police lines, and I really have a problem with running. I would walk fast so that at those times people run, the gap of demonstrators would be filled before I was at the back. I took a few short cuts rather than following the crowd in parts. It was near 3, and the bus was coming at 4. I tried to tap N, but people ran forward. M told me that we should go, so we walked around the crowd as I had done and out the other side. When we came out, we found out how lucky we were to have done that, because everyone else, about 150, had been kettled in. I phoned J to tell him I thought N was kettled with his mates but that me and M would make the coach, and then tried texting M to call me if he needed somewhere to stay as I know few people. Just as I finished, N appeared, but not his friend. After a lot of ‘should we stay or should we go”-ing, and phone calls, we decided to leave. The mounted police were being very firm in trying to push us. It was becoming increasingly tempting to use the paint bombs in our hands. We left past a hanging effigy of Nick Griffin, after talking with some of the other people.

By now we had to walk at almost jogging pace. Mine and N’s legs were killing. We had to make several phone calls to keep the coach waiting for us, as we were far further away than we thought. Still, N explained his story; that they had got bored half way through the speeches and went to the pub. It was their first ever protest, and he had thought “well if THAT’S a protest, no wonder they don’t work”, but as they sat there the news came on with breaking news of protestors breaking out the park, and they saw people running past the window, and belted out to join them. They went from having never been, to not wanting to go on another, to being really excited about the next one in March. For M it was one of the most liberating experiences of his life. Eventually we puffed and panted on to the coach, and I related everything back to A, who wished she had been there.

I don’t want to post about arguments, but I do wish to note my opinion. Solidarity for me is about supporting each other’s actions and about fighting the same cause. It isn’t about being in the same place and doing the same thing as each other. It’s about being there for each other. As friends and as comrades. Not as colleagues. We have a movement going, and we were going to try to get back into it after Christmas, not take a step back to the same old demonstrations of pre-Millbank. We would have liked for the unions to join in and become part of it, but we weren’t about to join under an already established heirachy (which goes against a large section of the student activist community) which isn’t yet moving. I appreciate that it was trying to set up, and it was seen as rude for a large portion of the crowd to vamoose, but if the rally and march had fulfilled what the students wanted to do, then there’s no way that walking away with a sound system would have taken so many away so easily. I can’t help but think that the only people that enjoy A-B-Rally marches are unionists and socialists from various parties. The demo was mostly socially middle class, as opposed to those in London, but it still didn’t hold their attention. I realise that this is controversial in our group, but honestly, if the traditional workers left wing isn’t willing to radicalise or at least loosen up a bit then the student movement will just carry on without it, like it has the NUS, but remember, without the NUS the students were still there, and whilst our movement may get by without the trade unions, it will not get by without the workers.

Some posts on the subject that caught my attention:

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2011/01/473085.html http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2011/01/473091.html http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2011/01/473076.html

and ESPECIALLY

http://truth-reason-liberty.blogspot.com/2011/01/on-anti-cuts-march-in-manchester.html?m=1

Mr Cameron and the EDL: Confusing Patriotism with Nationalism

It wasn’t long since Charlie Flowers started arguments on Indymedia about what patriotism really means. Most left-wingers are somewhat wary of the word, myself included. It encourages people to be proud of events that they have no control over or say in, such as where on the planet they are born, or the achievements of historical figures who existed in the same space. It creates a competition between different places, despite there often being no logical reason for the lines being drawn in the first place. Sometimes the pride and belief in ones own country is held even when other countries are oppressed by it, making a “my country is better than yours” dynamic. This can be used for light banter, imperialism, or de-humanising people from different places or of different creed and values. I argued that there is a firm difference between taking pride in a country and being proud of a country. It seems that it is more difficult than I thought to explain the difference between nationalism and patriotism.

Another difference is that patriotism is a love for ones country, whereas nationalism takes into account political concerns. Of course a main reason people do not like the word nationalist is because of the potential to focus on its nation to the point of domination over others, or of the nationalists ideal culture upon its inhabitants. People think of the fascists. This view is too simplistic for me, however, as anarchist AND an anti-globalist, my issue with nationalism lies in its defense of the state. Of course, being into anti-fascism, there are many other worrying features of both of these things.

Last night, as I was reading though Facebook however, David Cameron did a fantastic job of pointing out the differences between two forces to me. Now Nationalism is more associated with older traditions and cultures than Patriotism, so the divide isn’t down the line of these two words, but I will continue to use patriotism as love and pride in a country, and nationalism as being proud of your country’s gains and position. just to make it easier. He was suggesting that May Day bank holiday be removed, and that it should be replaced by “UK Day” in October. This might sound patriotic to those who have never celebrated May Day, but to those of us who have, it is the exact opposite. Beltane has been celebrated for more than centuries since the pagan times, and it signifies the new month/season, so it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to move the date. Besides that, you can’t really dance around a May Pole in October. If people have held their cheese rolling and morris dancing and traditionally British and English cultural festivities on this day, it seems ridiculous to move it. Some people have actually been brought up to mind their pagan and celtic heritage, or have been brought up pagan themselves. Would we move Christmas? Jesus was not supposed to be born upon December 25th. It seems downright unpatriotic.

Another unpatriotic move a country can make is of course to disrespect the workers who build the country and make it what it is. Even the best architects can only do so much without a labour movement. This might be debatable to some people, but I think if you are truly proud of our country, then you celebrate the work that your community put in to making it a great place to live. If Cameron wants “UK Day”, then why not look at ST George’s Day? The Right have been complaining for a long time that we don’t put enough emphasis on celebrating our country and the patron Saint of England. Now personally I would prefer it if we spent St George’s dressed up as knights and dragons running around town personally, but I don’t see that happening. UK Day will probably be looking at mostly white straight rich men who were largely imperialists and war mongers and leaders. At best I figured it would be a PC day celebrating our multicultural society and taking a look at the different people and histories of Britain, and that it might happily piss off the BNP, who have been urging communities to celebrate the day.

It seems though that I was wrong about the last part. Mr Cameron has decided that multiculturalism has failed. His proof being, I assume, that we got bombed once 10 years ago. ‘Islamists’ were the only threats directly named in his talk. Whilst of course, there are points to be made about how they may see women’s rights or LGBT rights, those issues also exist in other religions, and indeed in some Atheists in this country. Islam is just the easiest target. His answer to this seems to be to shun those groups that need to improve, so that they may recluse further into themselves, and support only those who are out and proud about how much they love this country and share all of its values. What strikes me about this is that I’m not patriotic at all. I’m not loved by the government of course, but they aren’t treating me as a possible terrorist based on my upbringing. Why should British nationals, especially second or third generation, have to prove how patriotic they are? It must be an interesting sign to liberals, watching David Cameron (conservative) talk about why liberalism is so important.

This comes, as widely mentioned, on the same day that a rally of roughly 2000 EDL members rambles through Luton. The English Defense League, who feel the most dire thing this country is in danger of is being overtaken by a warped version of Sharia Law, have been around since a few nut jobs that really do want this got rowdy at the funeral of soldiers, outraged that British troops have been killing Muslim armies and civilians abroad, and obviously pissed off, offended and upset many in the process. Cameron’s speech today played into their hands, and it was said by ‘Tommy Robinson’ that Cameron “knows his base”. (of course much to his dismay, Gove’s school plans are likely to result in a good many faith-based schools including Islam)

It seems that the already obnoxious patriotic Tory of yesteryear is gone. Churchill was a good indicator that nationalism had overtaken patriotism in the views he expressed. However, even the Mussolini admirer would probably be turning in his grave as he watched the closure of museums and libraries, and as the great british forests get sold off (yes to charities, but the trees are being chopped down) and the rural festivities centuries old are told to move to another time under neoliberal policies. Maybe he wouldn’t, in hindsight. But many would. I don’t know how to end this post, except to say that if you really do take pride in your country, then do it every day. Yes, value the culture, both in history and present day, keep it clean, enjoy the forests and the parks and the lakes, go to the festivals – all of them, talk to the people, even enjoy the city culture that exists now, be proud of the fact that the country keeps libraries and museums open so that all may learn of their past and the present, and the great artworks of their country, and of all countries, but more than that, don’t lose it. Otherwise, what will you have to celebrate this ‘UK Day’?

LOLCⒶT
PS, sorry for the unimaginative choice of links!

Solidarity…

…To all of those acting against the closure of public libraries today.

 

Our Conservative MP, Karl McCartney, once held an occupation with his fellow students for longer library hours. The irony burns as he passes the responsibility to the council to decide what to cut. We haven’t had library cuts announced here, but we wish to fully support our neighbouring communities in protecting their right to learn. The government has been planning on cutting libraries, museums and archives for ages. This was mentioned at the time the axing of the film council was in the news, but only now is coming into fruition.

Meeting with VC

Yesterday afternoon, 2 of us met with Professor Mary Stuart, along with SU President Chris Charnley and management to discuss the university meeting about the fees and education cuts.

 

We began by looking at possible dates, and decided to aim for before March, and early evening. It will be in the LPAC. When we know when that is free then we will start advertising. There will be an end time set.

We have considered a question time style format, with questions being submitted at the beginning, after 5 minute talks, and with points being raised on the questions by the audience. There will most likely be 4 panelists. Mary Stuart, a lecturer, an SU officer, and a member of the occupation.

It will be open to all members of the university to discuss the current issues, including students, lecturers, management and other staff.

Guide to Protesting from ULO

Introduction You may remember on my blog about the demonstration on 9th of December, I included a lot of links to resources about different legal and activist groups. I also said that I spent the first 10 minutes of my coach ride correcting my NUS Bustcard. Here, I would like to ensure you know your rights, and offer you some brief legal and medical advice, and yes, simple action advice.

To explain why, I’m going to start by dissecting the arrest card handed to students who attended the demo on 10th of November, which led to 50 arrests. (146 arrested almost entirely for ‘breach of peace’ in the almost entirely peaceful kettle-evasion march BTW)

Arrest Card

In the event of an arrest…

  • Do not resist
  • Tell a steward or fellow student your name, students’ union and the arresting officer’s number

At the police station

  • You have the right to demand that the police telephone the Duty Solicitor Scheme for you
  • Follow the advice of the Duty Solicitor and make note of their name and telephone number
  • Ask the Duty Solicitor to telephone NUS on 07973782349 with details of your name, Student’s Union and the Police Station at which you are being held.

Your rights if  arrested…

  • To have someone told of your detention
  • To receive free independent legal advice
  • To consult relevant published Codes of Practice governing police conduct
  • To have your physical safety ensured and physical needs met
  • You do not have to say anything to the police BUT if you are later questioned, something that you later rely on in court, then this may be taken into account when deciding if you are found guilty.

Then numbers of the event leaders

So, I’ll go through point by point and explain a little about my responces. The fuller picture will be elaborated in further detail below.  

Do not resist

The majority of the time this is good advice, however, depending on the nature of the protest you may consider other options. For peaceful protests like sit-ins, passive resistance may make the demonstration more effective. If you are with a group at a more rowdy demo, you may find de-arresting is a possibility. Occasionally the possibility of freeing yourself by struggling may occur, which I would not usually recommend, as it may be considered ‘assulting a police officer’, which is a more serious crime than ‘resisting arrest’, and depending on your stance, may damage your cause. The full charge is obstruct/resist a police officer in the execution of their duty. That means that in order for resisting arrest to be illegal, the arrest has to be entirely lawful in the first place. And not all of them are. After all, you would have a hard time arguing in court that someone was obstructing you from doing your duty as a cop if what you were doing was not, in fact, within the remit of your duties as a police officer. Also, it is perfectly reasonable for people to be instinctively noncooperative when they have 6 heavy police officers on their back. Alot of the time, arrestees have little option but to struggle and resist the unreasonable force that gets applied to them – as a matter of personal safety. However, you will never get to explore these finer points of law in a court – and subsequently use them as a defence – if you sign cautions or plead guilty right away, so this is something for people to consider.

Tell a steward or fellow student your name, students’ union and the arresting officer’s number

It is highly important that somebody at the demonstration is aware of your arrest, however, upon arrest, it is unlikely that you will be given the chance to talk to anyone. You should ideally buddy up with someone who knows ALL your details who sticks with you, but you should know the name of everyone in your immediate group and be watching their back anyway. If you trust the stewards then telling them the name (probably on behalf of the arrested friend) may be good advice, but I would suggest talking to someone wearing a Legal Observer vest, or someone from GBC instead. The police officers number, and any information you can give about the arrest (violent, inappropriate, or even photos of the event) are vital, and can be given to either of those, or a trusted lawyer to help their case. GBC also discreetly ask other demonstrators for information regards arrests, which may be useful pressing charges against the police. Talking to them may offer personal advice on the more difficult aspect of this point. Your SU. I will advise below to keep your information to yourself, however the SU need to be able to be assured of your safety, especially if it means the coach home leaving. I think I would suggest that the SU are made aware of the arrest via other students who are keeping in touch. The police may find out that one of the arrestees has your name and is from Lincoln, but that doesn’t mean they know which one. If you are reading this now, you should have it drilled into your head and your mates heads that you DONT GO ON A DEMO WITHOUT SOME KIND OF PLAN WHAT TO DO IF ONE OF YOU GETS NICKED. Especially not one where you could be stranded miles away from home. I’m serious!

You have the right to demand that the police telephone the DSS for you

Yes. You do. Or indeed, any other solicitor. Many of these are ex-cops however, and you may feel that it would be better to have a solicitor who specialises in arrests at demonstrations. I will list these at the bottom. I would advise against DS where possible. You should research these and write their number on your arm. Bust cards handed out in the demonstration will offer you the one that the local activists suggest.  

Follow the advice of the Duty Solicitor and make a note of their name and telephone number

If you do choose a duty solicitor, then definitely make those notes. I would suggest no comment, as due to above, and no economic motive, many will wish to get the case over asap or even help the police with their charge figures, rather than focusing on getting you off the hook. I’ll expand later but if you do choose to name yourself, it doesn’t mean you should name other people.  

Ask the Duty Solicitor to telephone NUS on 07973782349 with details of your name, Student’s Union and the Police Station at which you are being held.

There may be a reason why the NUS needs to know the details of student arrests, however personally I would choose to bypass this stage. I would make sure that my free phone call was to someone that I trusted, and ask them to ensure the SU of my safety, and possibly the station if I could think of a good reason why it would help. You probably will have your phone taken away. List the number of your friend or an SU officer on your arm too, or even better, remember them. There are more than 2 listeners on police station phones. As FITwatch put it to me “Surely there are much better people to phone? LDMG? Green & Black Cross? Friends…? Basically, the NUS leadership are keen to work with the Police. As are duty solicitors. Make up your own mind about whether you think it is sensible to trust these people should you be unfortunate enough to get arrested on a demonstration.”  

The whole ‘your rights’ section

Very true. I know because The Bill told me, and I might have been lucky enough to hear about it upon my arrest. There is a lot more to it as well. Know your rights, but also how to make sure you get them. So, by now you can maybe see why I feel the need to share some extra information and advice. Bare in mind, I am only sharing options, and would not on all accounts necessarily encourage you or anyone else to follow it. I hope that if you read this with an open mind that you might learn a lot about the legal system and successful demonstration without your head exploding. The problem with giving so much advice about being arrested, police brutality and misconduct, is that it can bring disproportionate alarm and paranoia about resistance. Arrest is less common than brutality and easier to avoid, and hopefully misconduct can be minimised to an extent in the UK by a knowledge of your rights, the process and a strong mind, and an appropriate response can be met.

What to bring

 Firstly, I’ll state the obvious and say ‘look at the weather’. That will tell you whether you need sun cream (water or alcohol based ones are better) and shades or an extra pair of tights and gloves. Gloves are good. Bring a close affinity group or join one if possible, and ensure that you have any personal medication. The other thing about an affinity group is that you can split the things you need between you, so that you aren’t carrying too much. Spare contacts or glasses are a good idea, both in case of tear gas or damage. Clothes:

  • Layers. Way better for temperature change. Packing waterproof is good.
  • Thin layers are good for flexibility
  • If it isnt Summer and you might get kettled you will want something warm packed
  • It is best if you have enough clothes to change your outfit, whether thats to avoid recognition or because one outfit got soaked.
  • Sturdy shoes. Boots if possible. It isnt fun being stood on, but make sure you can run in them. (if you can run)
  • Black clothes are often used for anonymity and for solidarity with those involved in actions. The pro is that the police don’t know who is who. The con is that they might not care, so make it subtle and have a spare change.
  • Hats/hoods – keep you warm, protect the head, increase anonymity
  • Masking up is the first piece of advice given to all activists. It isn’t just to protect you from arrest, but also for those who worry about having their face in a database. FIT take photos of crowds at protests as well as football matches. They collect information on as many protestors as possible to ensure they have all POSSIBLE domestic extremists. I am not going to say mask up to the students of Lincoln. What I am going to say, is take a regular scarf, and put it in your bag, just in case you decide you feel more comfortable with it. Or get cold.

Hair/Makeup/etc

  • Don’t wear jewellery that could catch on something or you don’t want to lose. just don’t.
  • May want to choose a different hair or makeup style from usual depending. Tie hair back.
  • Facepaints are often used, especially by CIRCA, because unlike scarves and masks, there is no law about removing it

Body armour

  • Well you are from Lincoln, so I’m not expecting much of this.
  • Something protective on your head is a good idea. Remember Alfie Meadows.
  • A lot of students discreetly wear kitchen roll dispensers and stuff like that on their arms and legs under their clothes to avoid too much damage from batons.
  • If padding is used, the priority areas should be the soft tissue of tummy, lower back and groin. These areas contain vital organs, do not have bones protecting them, and the police are trained to aim for these areas.
  • There are other things in the resources if you’re really interested.

Medical Supplies

  • Food and lots of water. Standard. Extra sugar/carbs
  • Inhaler, pills etc
  • Sanitary items. You don’t know how long you might be kettled for, and tampons left in too long can cause anaphylactic shock
  • Vinegar/lemon juice soaked bandanas in sealed containers are good for CS gas. haven’t seen any of that yet.
  • Plasters, aspirin and basic first aid kit type stuff is useful.
  • Again, water
  • Sugar, for insulin balance
  • Paper bag for panic attacks

Other

  • Placards and stuff, obviously
  • Consider toilet paper and she-pee because we are often kept without toilets
  • Action supplies possibly, or a good book. Whichever keeps you better entertained
  • Camera, small notepad
  • Phone. Preferably unused.

Don’t Bring

  • ID that you can’t hide away easily. Keep your phone, ID, and anything with names or info of people in the group securely in pockets under your top layer of clothing.
  • Alcohol or drugs (drugs can get you searched and, on alcohol, it’s easy to make a drunk and disorderly arrest)
  • Sharp objects

Your Rights

 Other than under road traffic and anti-social behaviour legislation, you do not commit an offence in English law by refusing to give your name and address to the police. However there are certain situations where the police may arrest you if they cannot establish your name and address, and if you are arrested and charged with an offence you will be unlikely to be granted bail unless they can establish these details.

Regardless of what the police may say, you are not legally obliged to carry ID but sometimes the police will ask you for this all the same. In certain circumstances they can arrest you either for refusing to supply them with details or where they suspect the details you have given are false.

Under Section 25 PACE the police can arrest you if they cannot establish your details or they reasonably believe the details you have given are false.

If the police have demanded your details under this section and they have ‘reasonable suspicion’ that the details you have provided are not correct, then they have the power to arrest you in order to establish your name and address.

 Before any of the above search powers listed below are exercised, the constable must inform you of the following:

  • The constable’s name and the police station to which he is attached.
  • The object of the proposed search
  • The constable’s grounds for proposing to make it.
  • The fact that you are entitled to a copy of the search.

If the police do not provide you with the above information, then the search is illegal. This means that you would be able to sue them for assault and / or battery. Evidence obtained illegally, however, is admissible in criminal proceedings at the discretion of the court.

Police have the powers to stop and search you or your vehicle under either Section 1 of PACE, Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 or Sections 43 and 44 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 2000.

Always ask the police what the reasonable suspicion is – it has to be something more than the fact, for example, that you are a known protestor.

In public places they can only search outer clothing, more thorough searches must be made out of sight, in a police van or station. Reasonable minimum force may be used to search you. You are entitled to get a report of the search from the police station within a year.

Conditions for intimate and strip searches Intimate and strip searches can only be carried out on persons in police custody. An “intimate search” must be authorised by a superintendent who must reasonably believe either:

  • That a detained person may have concealed on him anything which he could use to cause physical injury to himself or to others, and which he might so use while he is in police detention or in the custody of the court, or
  • That a detained person has a Class A drug concealed on him and was in possession of it before his arrest. An officer may not authorize an intimate search of a person for anything unless he reasonably believes that this is the only way it can be found.

Generally an intimate search can only be carried out by a medical practitioner unless the superintendent does not consider it practicable and the search is to take place under the first point. A search under the second can only be carried out at a hospital, surgery or other medical premises. A strip search may only take place if the custody officer considers it necessary to remove an article that the detained person would not be allowed to keep.

Where either an intimate or a strip search is carried out by a police officer, the officer must be of the same sex as the person searched. No other non-medical person of the opposite sex must be present and no person should be there whose presence is not necessary.

If you are arrested you should be told by the arresting officer that you are under arrest and the reason why – make a note of this. You should then be taken to the nearest police station, unless the police want to issue you with “street bail”. You have the right to remain silent, and you should exercise this at all times, other than to give your name and address. You don’t have to say anything, but if the police cannot establish your name and address you won’t get bail if you are charged with an offence.

When you arrive you will be booked in by the custody sergeant, who then becomes responsible for your detention at the police station. His job is to ensure that your rights are complied with and to keep a “custody record” of your detention. He should inform you of the following:

  • You are entitled to speak to a solicitor free of charge. If you know the name of your chosen firm of solicitors, the police will be able to find the phone number and contact them. If you do not have a solicitor, you can use the duty solicitor – but see below.
  • You are entitled to have someone informed of your arrest. At the custody officer’s discretion you can usually speak to that person on the phone.
  • You are entitled to consult the PACE codes of practice. This manual details the manner in which the police are bound by law to treat detained persons.

The police can never delay your right to have someone informed of your arrest or to speak to a solicitor unless you have been arrested for a “serious arrestable offence”. We advise that you speak to a solicitor straight away. This will enable you to have people informed that you are under arrest and let the police know that you know your rights and are not a soft touch. If you choose not to exercise any of your rights when you are booked in, you may still exercise them at any point in the future.

You should work on the assumption that any phone conversation you make will be listened in to by the police.

Despite what the police may say, do not sign to say that you do not wish to speak to a solicitor or have someone informed of your arrest. If you are in any doubt as to the reason why you are being detained then ask the custody sergeant, who is under a duty to tell you. You will be searched and you will have your personal belongings including any watch or belt taken from you and placed in a bag. Under recent legislation, the custody sergeant is no longer obliged to log all your personal property and may do so at his discretion. If your property is logged, you will be asked to sign a form to confirm that this is your property, so – if you choose to sign – make sure the inventory is correct, and sign directly underneath the last item, so the police can’t add anything afterwards. You will then be taken to a cell, where you will usually have to wait a few hours before being interviewed or released. As part of your custody record, the custody sergeant will ask you for your date of birth, occupation, height and other details. You are under no obligation to answer any of these questions and you should not feel pressurized in to doing so.

The most important point to remember during your time in police custody is to stay calm and relaxed and not to talk to the police. The experience of being arrested for the first time can be quite unnerving. The whole process is designed to scare and intimidate you. Many people find the hardest part is being alone and powerless in a cell, with the added disorientation that you do not know the time, as your watch will have been taken from you. You may feel that you should just tell them anything in order for them to let you go. If the police sense that you are unfamiliar with the process, they will use all manner of tricks to make you think that it is in your best interests to give an interview, so don’t fall in to this trap.

Stay calm, stay quiet and you will usually be out within a few hours.

If you have any injuries – for example bruising from handcuffs – make sure these are logged by the custody sergeant/ You can also insist on seeing the police doctor, who should make a note of your injuries. This may not only help you with any criminal charges brought against you, but may also get you more money if you sue the police later.

Do not agree to be interviewed without a solicitor present. Any interview will be tape-recorded and you are entitled to have a solicitor present free of charge, regardless of your income. These safeguards exist to prevent the police from fabricating evidence or being too aggressive.

Before questioning you the police must caution you along the following lines: “You have the right to remain silent, but it may harm your defence if you fail to mention now anything which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be used against you.”

Anything you say outside the taped interview may also be used in evidence against you – for example an informal chat in the police car after you have been arrested. The police often try to engage you in friendly conversation as they are taking your fingerprints or DNA – make no mistake, this is an attempt to gather evidence and you should not be taken in by it. If you are in any doubt about this, have a look at news archives on the internet and you will find any number of cases in which evidence was produced of what a suspect said outside the interview room. You should also be aware that the police sometimes bug police cells and any evidence obtained in this way is admissible in court.

 The police can take the photograph of anyone under arrest, and use force if necessary. This power was introduced in the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 in the wake of the September 11th attacks on America.

The police can now take the fingerprints and DNA of anyone who has been arrested for a “recordable offence”. The National Police Records Regulations 2000 defines an offence as “recordable” if it is punishable by imprisonment or if it is a “specified offence”. This covers just about every public order offence other than “breach of the peace”. Unless your arrest was unlawful, the police may keep your fingerprints and DNA on file indefinitely regardless of whether or not you are subsequently charged with or convicted of an offence.

The police can hold you for up to 36 hours, if you have been arrested for an “arrestable offence”. However, if you have been arrested for an offence that is not strictly speaking “arrestable”, then the maximum time they can hold you is still 24 hours as before. The Home Office guidelines indicated that the power to detain for up to 36 hours should be exercised sparingly.

PLEASE SEE FREE BEAGLES for the law and arrestable offences.

Legal Advice

 You have the right to remain silent and you should exercise this right during interview and at all other times. If the police sense that you are scared or in any way unsure, they may use any number of tricks to try to get you talking. Eg:

  • The sooner you make a statement the sooner you can go home.
  • If you don’t make a statement then you won’t get bail.
  • If you’re innocent then you have nothing to hide.
  • We just want to hear your side of the story.

These are all just tricks to get you talking. The only reason you are being interviewed is because the police are seeking more evidence to charge you with an offence. The interview is for their benefit, not yours. One trick they sometimes use is to say that the main activists – “the ringleaders” – won’t risk getting arrested themselves and are using you and letting you take the rap. Don’t be taken in by it. This is a classic ploy adopted by the police to turn people against each other in order to gain evidence.

They have arrested you, because the arresting officer thinks you are guilty of an offence. The custody sergeant has authorized your detention in order to gain more evidence to secure a conviction by questioning you. Despite what the police or anyone else might tell you, the right to silence has not been abolished. A magistrate or jury may take in to account the fact that you remained silent during interview and draw an “adverse inference” from this (ie this could count towards evidence that you are guilty). Because of this solicitors sometimes advise suspects to make a short statement to the police.

Our advice however is to remain silent for the following reasons. Firstly, the police are only interviewing you because they are looking for evidence in order to charge you. They cannot charge you simply on the basis that you refused to make a statement. Secondly by talking to the police, you may not only implicate yourself in crime, but also others as well. Your interview could lead to other people being arrested and charged. They may then make statements implicating you.Your solicitor may not care what happens to other activists, but you should. Thirdly, most people – even experienced activists – find that once they have started talking it is very difficult to stop. If you try to lie you may soon end up tying yourself in knots and making matters worse.

Witness an arrest or want support? GBCLegal Team: 07946541511

Read this: http://ldmg.org.uk/legal.html Don’t get drunk and disorderly – too easy!

Medical Advice

 Make sure your group has useful stuff listed above between you.

If you buddy up then you should know any medical details about the other person that you might need.

If you help anyone else out, make sure you get their consent.

Be aware of the effect of calling an ambulance to a particular location. Be aware that the police often trawl local hospitals after large demos to arrest anyone injured, so be prepared to travel if you think the injury isn’t too serious.  

Safety – yours, then the patients. Making yourself into an extra casualty doesn’t help anyone.

DR – Danger, Response ABC – Airways, Breathing, Circulation BBB – Blood, Burns, Bones In that order of priority.

CS Gas

  • Ask the patient to remove any contact lenses. CS Gas gets behind lenses and can damage the cornea and/or lens.
  • Remove the patient from the source.
  • Remove contaminated material (clothes etc.) This should be done before going into a house/room.
  • Wear disposable latex or other surgical gloves [non sterile] to avoid contamination of your own skin.
  • Flush CS out of eyes. Remember you are flushing and not diluting
  • Tell patient to keep eyes open and get them to stand in a windy place so CS evaporates.
  • There are some chemicals you can use to help, but you should have training. We will not say more here.

Do Not

  • Dilute with water, you just spread the contamination.
  • Use hot water, you open the skin pores. (Tepid water is fine though).
  • Rub your eyes after treatment.
  • Use the same gloves on anyone not contaminated, or on any wound as you will spread contamination. (Gloves should also be changed after contact with any bodily substance).

Bleeding External Aims:

  • To stop the bleeding,
  • To prevent shock,
  • To minimise the risk of infection.

What to do:

  • Expose the wound.
  • Provided there is no suspected break in the bone or foreign object in the wound: Apply direct pressure over wound, with a sterile dressing or pad if possible, but if not use your (gloved) hand, or the patient’s hand.
  • Never try to remove a foreign body (eg. glass) from a wound. Apply indirect pressure (on either side of the wound) to stop bleeding.
  • Elevate part of body that is injured.
  • Lay patient down to minimise risk of shock or injury due to collapse.
  • Leaving the original dressing in place bandage it securely over wound. If blood seeps through place another dressing on top.
  • After applying the bandage, ensure there is still circulation in the extremities.
  • Seek medical attention.
  • Monitor casualty for signs of shock.

Look for a Kettle Kitchen or Legal Observers. If medical attention is needed then they may have action medics, or be more likely to know how to get police medics to treat you or let you out. Stick with the injured person at all costs. Alfie Meadows was let out on his own. If his mother hadn’t found him wandering the streets later on, he probably would be dead.

Staying Safe in a Kettle

So here’s assuming you have just found yourself kettled. You’ve never been in one before. You aren’t quite sure whether it is scary or fun yet. Lets look at the layout Most likely, rather than being fully in a wall of police, there are buildings loosely guarded on one side, and the police are mostly cutting off the exit points. At the start of the kettle it is often possible to leave in small groups or on your own, if you don’t ‘look’ like a protestor. In the case of the first student kettle, children who may not have been protestors were taken out of McDonalds and put in the kettle.

Once police have established their initial lines and the public has mostly filtered out, the situation becomes more difficult. You will probably be told, if you ask officers, that there IS an exit somewhere. There probably is not. The officers at the sides probably don’t even know, and you should not approach the obvious exits to leave. When crowds start forming to get out of an area, a sort of mosh-pit is formed. The crowd may surge to get out, and those at the front, however innocent, are likely to be batoned for this. If there is not a surge, then there is still the possibility that either the police will move forward with their shields to squash you, or that you will be told (wrongly) that you legally can only leave if you give your name and address and let the police take photographs of you. When police get sick of having a big rowdy mess in front of them, and pushing in to them fails to work, they may attempt to violently divide the crowd, or to charge with horses.

You may be treated like a trouble maker if you are of the last remaining people in, and you may miss your coach, but it is the safest route.

If you NEED to get out, because of injury, once again, do NOT approach the exits. Police medics are there to help the police, not protestors, and may hit people out of the way in order to get to police. Another example recently involved spraying a toxic fire extinguisher at the crowd. If you cannot find an action medic anywhere then your best bet is the officers at the sides. They don’t know much about anything going on, but they aren’t so much obliged to act like robots and may be able to act as a mediator between an injured protestor, the police and the exit. Only in extreme circumstances will they personally offer you aid.

You will have no food offered, and you will be lucky if you find water. There will unlikely be toilets available. Sometimes they let women and small children to port-a-loos before throwing them back into the kettle, and sometimes this is not offered at all. In the kettle I was in recently, a group of anarchists constructed a toilet out of Boris’ metal fences, but sometimes this is still daunting for women, esp if they are menstruating. Personally I invested in an item that makes it easier for women to piss standing up and discreetly. It sounds kinda gross but it is worth it, because it seems a few people lost it on the bridge.

People can be very kind if you need something. Hopefully there will be a ‘Kettle Kitchen’ around. At the moment GBC have been setting them up with some tea, but not very much. If you are desperate they will help you out, but really truly, bring your own.

It may get cold. If that happens, fires will spring up sooner or later. When you have no way to warm up its the best there is to offer. If someone in the group has a blanket or something like that its good, or otherwise, something that can be added to a fire instead. Don’t expect everyone else to just burn their shit for you. This is where the coats come in handy.

Now you’ve been looking around a while, you ill probably have stopped chanting and looked around at which weirdos you’re sharing a pen with. Most people will be really nice, and there will be lecturers and parents sat around usually, if you feel more comfortable there. It is a good place to make friends. You shouldn’t really give too many details out but I have made quite a few friends standing around in a kettle. You’ll get very bored and spend a lot of time wandering about fairly aimlessly, but there will always be people looking to make it better. My last time involved fire jugglers, and stripping stormtroopers. We did the hokey kokey and the conga, and there is ALWAYS music. There will be sound systems or a samba band, or you can just ad lib instead, and the clowns have reformed, though I’m not sure if thats entertainment per se. Either way, general atmosphere in centre kettle has been described as ‘a shit Glastonbury’.

There have been a few accounts of gangs going around inside kettles who are beating people up. This is uncommon but an even better reason to stick with other people. There have been discussions in activist groups about possible ways to deal with it, hopefully an answer will be met soon.

There may be people doing things like smashing up buildings, but whatever you think of that mode of action, I would stress that the majority of these people are not mindless violent idiots, and if you let them do their thing, then they’ll let you do yours. If you support them, they’ll support you. If you stand in their way (or try to get a close-up photograph of what theyre doing or their face) then you might come across problems. If you have a very strong reason to stand against a particular action then try just talking. If that doesn’t work, I wouldn’t advise arguing about it. The police wont stop fights within a kettle. It isn’t their problem, and it looks bad in the press.

So fireworks, flares and smokebombs. the latter two aren’t dangerous.  The former two are to scare horses. Sounds bad I know, but a large amount of activists are very into animal rights, and they want to try and startle the horses away before other demonstrators start throwing things that might hurt them. Why the need? If you’re ever charged at by creatures that big you’ll understand why. If you aren’t you might not. Thats perfectly understandable, nobody enjoys it. They shouldn’t be there.

Save phone battery. You might need it.

Action Advice

Okay, so I know I’m bypassing a lot of people here, but I want to add some points

  • Don’t throw from the back
  • Stick with a mate
  • Keep your identity safe
  • Keep moving
  • Always defend
  • Don’t fight
  • Face outward
  • Link together arms and form barriers with body
  • Arrow formations cut through better than surges

Useful Numbers

Legal

Bindmans LLP – (020) 7833 4433 – London

Hodge Jones & Allen – (020) 7874 8300 – London

Howells LLP – (0114) 249 6666 – Sheffield

Harrison Bundey – (0113) 200 7400 – Leeds

Green and Black Cross – Legal / Arrestee Support Hotline 07946 541511

Other

Activist Trauma Call Centre – (0045) 52768566

Resources

Legal/Arestee support

http://greenandblackcross.org/

http://www.activistslegalproject.org.uk/

http://www.chambersandpartners.com/uk/Editorial/39217

http://www.freebeagles.org/

http://www.schnews.org.uk/diyguide/defendantsguidetoarrest.htm

http://www.schnews.org.uk/diyguide/gettingthebestdefenceyoucanfromasolicitor.htm

http://www.fitwatch.org.uk/

http://ldmg.org.uk/

http://photographernotaterrorist.org/bust-card/

http://www.urban75.org/mayday02/bustcard.html

  Medical Advice

http://ukmedic.ox4.org/

Other Support

http://www.eco-action.org/teapot 

http://www.activist-trauma.net/

http://docfiles.blogspot.com/2008/02/what-to-bring-to-protest.html

 Action Training

http://ninjarise.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/publicorder.pdf

http://www.devo.com/sarin/shieldbook.pdf

http://networkforclimateaction.org.uk/toolkit/action_resources/direct_action_a_handbook.pdf

http://www.schnews.org.uk/diyguide/blockadingforbegineers.pdf 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDm-tHJRxhE

 Education and Austerity Resources

http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/

http://policestate.co.uk/

http://falseeconomy.org.uk/

http://anticuts.com/

http://occupations.org.uk/

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

http://www.universityofutopia.org/

If there is anything I should add, or any questions you wanna ask, comment! xxx

The function of University

Modern Universities resemble a dystopian future, designed of glass and steel. Imbuing a sense of modernity, but the modernity that is reflected in its design, has old values, these values are commonly found with the University of Berlin, and its founder Wilhelm von Humboldt whom founded it in 1810, Humboldt observed “one person would privately reflect and collect, another join with men of his own age, a third find a circle of disciples. Such is the picture to which the state must remain faithful if it wishes to give an institutional form to such indefinite and rather accidental human operations[1]

The ideological parameters that are wrapped around the new glass and steel buildings are the foundations for the university; in the same light that Slavoj Zizek uses toilets to look at other countries ideology.  [2] The buildings themselves become the example, from automatic doors, to the type of glass fitted in the frames. Internationally there is no uniformity regarding the design of these buildings, unlike other institutions such as the church, which impose their ideological function through design.

The economic base that forms our society is based upon means of production, which are the facilities and resources for producing goods. Therein the relations of this production are based on the exchange that is bought and sold. The UK has shifted from a manufacturing economy to that of capital. The production of capital occurs in four forms according to Pierre Bourdieu: Economic capital (cash, assets, bonds), Social Capital (networks of people, shared group activities), Cultural Capital (Knowledge, Skills, Education, Attitudes, Manners), and lastly Symbolic Capital (Acknowledgement or recognition, Knighthoods).[3]

Modern universities are part of the superstructure, under the base-superstructure model.  Universities have been centres of knowledge ever since the first ones, were setup in Paris and Bologna. Knowledge that accumulated at University by means of a qualification is then translated into cultural capital. This recognition process by employers via qualifications allows for the conversion of knowledge into labour and therein allows employers to freely employ based on their needs of capital.

So the needs of the buyers of capital (employers) have a selection of cultural capital (students) to serve their needs for the production.

The nature of the degree is to impose a set of skills, which are economically attractive to employers, as they work on the proxy that qualifications are a means of competence in the workplace. Alison Fuller and Lorna Unwin in their study of the UK steel industry surveyed over 5,000 employees from 33 firms and five sectors within the industry itself. The clear majority had either no qualifications; and yet the sector had improved both its productivity and profitability. They state: ‘…it is inappropriate to conclude that there is a lack of competence amongst the steel industry’s (or other sectors’) labour force(s) because the majority of the workforce hold low levels of formal qualifications.[4]

As Chomsky notes: “The eect is that the university serves as an instrument for ensuring the perpetuation of social privilege. In general, there is little if any educational function to the requirement that the university be concerned with certification as well as with education and research. On the contrary, this requirement interferes with its proper function. It is a demand imposed by a society that ensures, in many ways, the preservation of certain forms of privilege and elitism. “

In a wider consensus the word ‘Education’ has been transformed, it is now commonly synonymous with ‘Training’, which is why there is much debate on grade inflation, the idea that standards are slipping, they hold the view that education is nothing more than training, however there are two dominant views of education; the first is that education should fulfill the needs of the marketplace this commonly referred to as instrumental education. It is the ‘pragmatic’ view of education; it is only concerned with indoctrinating a particular worldview. It does this by emphasizing the ‘facts’ the ‘figures’ you do not need to harbor skills, just posses the ‘correct’ information and your qualification will be deemed valuable by employers.

From schools to Higher education, learning outcomes, exams, grades, are engineered to reinforce this system of social order.  If the student does not perform well academically, the consequence of this is reinforced by the notion of poorly paid work, poor conditions, and the condition of poverty. The student that performs well academically achieves high grades, problem-solves, and displays critical thinking in their essays.  This student by way of the wider context, of conformity and submitting to the power-relations as well as succumbing to social engineering, ultimately this is deemed success.  Their parents are proud that they have ‘achieved’ and it signifies to their potential employer, that they are a valuable addition to their business. However, this student does not think autonomously.  They engage and interact in wider society with free abandonment, yet as Marcuse notices the defined freedom only serves in an economic sense (providing growth by production of goods), by purchasing goods (such as education) the consumer believes himself or herself that are ‘happy’ now that their lives promote ‘happiness and fulfilment’ through the acquisition of goods.

The second is establishing awareness about themselves and to critically evaluate society, their choices in life and make decisions autonomously. The courage to act upon one’s belief with the conviction to challenge commonly held assumptions, or axioms.  To establish analytical, and comparative thinking. It is not enough that the student can regurgitate ‘facts’ figures’ and the words of authors long since dead if they cannot apply them to the situation and circumstances that they face in their own lives, to govern their own thoughts and rationality.


A man with a ‘trained mind’ is one who can tackle particular problems that are put to him in a rigorous and competent manner. An ‘educated mind’ suggests much more awareness of the dierent facets and dimensions of such problems. (Peters, 1970: 32)[5]

It is now facing a shift from the institution that sought learning to enrich in a wider context in alignment with the Humboldtian ideal (that is by and large the narrative of higher education) to a technocratic one, now the buildings are ahistorical, and are not seeped in tradition, elitism. Under late British capitalism, universities have shifted in their identity (particularly ‘new’ universities).

As is the case with ‘modernising’, the university becomes a technocratic dream, efficient automatic doors, and ease of access, plenty of light. In its design is espouses a benign authoritarianism. This is clear by the use of glass installed in doors in seminar rooms, they are rectangle in shape, and do not give scope to those inside to view outside. Furthermore, if we take the use of a red light when a lecture room is being occupied, it is the staunch sign of authority, imposing itself. It has been timetabled, so there must be no intrusion, this regimentation is enforced not by force, but by overarching social decorum.

CCTV whilst installed on campus to ‘prevent crime’ which by all means, is unfeasible least not by the notion that monitoring people and their behavior, whilst imposing an order, does not directly ‘prevent the action’ it merely allows for the individual to asses by which means their action may be liable for punishment, thereby resulting in them acting in accordance with the earlier mode of control.

Whereby someone trespasses this set of social conventions, they are met not with anger, but shame. They are seen as intruding, (as if the defined parameters are nothing but psychological) the space that they now occupy is now seen to be trespassed. They are then asked politely to leave, failing this they are removed by force. Discipline is arranged through hegemony, dissidence is controlled through normalization of behavior through the participation of ‘social decorum’.

Independent learning is attained by use of the library, which has gates installed to protect its most valuable asset, its books. The ID cards are necessary to ensure the ‘security’ of the library, and upon entry must be scanned by their barcode to allow entry to the library. This is particularly significant, as students are deemed criminal, or act in a criminal manner, while this has no empirical basis it is the means by which control of knowledge is imposed, the public library on the other hand has no gates, and people are allowed to walk in and out freely.

Normalisation also conceals another facet; it is the orchestration of power. From the marks that determined status, and privilege in the classical age, were exchanged and/or replaced by classification and hierarchization (Vice chancellor, lecturer etc)

The mechanism of power in university is in part through examination, it is the ceremony of power combining the mechanisms of discipline, the establishment of truth, the observation of individuals that are to be differentiated and judged. (Foucalt, 1977)

The use of the lecture and or seminar room presents the larger question of space, how it is defined and its usage. A further example of stratification of space, instead of the homogenous ideal of the cultivation of learning, under the new technocracy, students have access to some rooms as they study the ‘correct’ courses. Students that are participating in other fields of study are denied access to these rooms, as they are not undertaking the same course.

Furthermore, the public university should be a subversive one, if they teach an intellectualism, an academia through learning outcomes, which is regarded as safe and legitimate.

It manifests itself as protecting the prevailing order and the power relations that are embedded with it. A student that is allowed only to be ‘critical’ in relation to an essay question is not learning to think critically but rather to assess critically.

It does not challenge the prevailing order, and as such does not venture anew so cannot create any fresh concepts or approaches, but rather retreads a line of thought that has already been defined.

Just because there is a prevailing order of power, that is legitimized through variable ways, subversively and non-subversively does not mean that the system by which the structure of university undertakes, is indeed the correct one.

It is of a critical importance towards wider society, given that it formulates social attitudes, and is the primary conduit for accessing ideas, knowledge and thinking.

It is the end of university, which is derived from latin as ‘universitas’ as the whole. Education as a whole is no more. It has been modularized and separated; there are not subjects of study but modules of study. It is here that the shift between the historical institution, its legacy and function has been shifted; in line with the shift in economy, from the post-war manufacturing base economy, to the production of knowledge, the information based economy.

Alongside tuition fees, contact hours, and the regimentation and stratification of space, the university has been coerced into the factory, to institutionalize and moderate, to conform and control, ripe for the labour market.


We must now rebuild the social institution, designed around the aims of intrinsic education. To cultivate thought, and value autonomy, to remove systems of discipline and control, to restore the ‘whole’ that is sorely lacking from university.

Huseyin Kishi (Images and words (c)) 


[1] The Function of the University in a Time of Crisis, Noam Chomsky

[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwTJXHNP0bg

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_capital

[4] Different visions of a learning society, 2000

[5] Why Marxist economics should be taught!