Interview with an anarchist Royal Holloway student occupier

December 23, 2010 at 7:02 pm (Building Occupations, Occupations, Student Occupations) (, , , , , , , )

Recently, the UK has seen the rise of a mass student movement in opposition to huge increases in course fees across British universities, combined with cuts to research and other aspects of the tertiary education system. Below is an interview with Dan, a former member of the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement who is now living in the UK, and was involved in a 2 day long occupation at his own university in London.

Can you give us a little background on the attacks on students that have led to this upsurge in struggle?

Having spent billions of pounds bailing-out banks, Europe’s state finances are being abandoned by the markets they propped up. The politicians and economists (and unsurprisingly bankers and their chums) are united in the consensus that the only way forward is to take a hatchet to state budgets, the only arguments being over how fast and exactly where the hatchet shall fall. The new government in Britain has thrown itself at the task with seeming abandon. 25% of the public finances are to be cut over the next four years. Every public service is to be affected and amongst the most savage cuts are those to University funding. 80% of the university teaching budget from government is to be hacked away; funding for research is to be trimmed down so that only research projects deemed “commercially useful” will receive money i.e. only things that can be sold.

To plug the funding gap, the government proposes to triple tuition fees for students from ~£3500 to £9000 (from NZ$7230 to NZ$18,590) per year. Once loans for living allowances are added to this, students in Britain will be leaving university in 5 years time with upwards of £40,000 (NZ$82,620) worth of debt to their name. For many graduates, this will rule out mortgages and home owning for much of their adult life.

Young people can see the writing on the wall. For those without the safety net of a privileged background, the increase in tuition fees will end their dreams of a university education. In a hostile job-market where 1 in 5 graduates with degrees are already struggling to find a job, the undertaking of such massive debt is a huge risk. The first generation in this country with substantial student debt is currently graduating from university. We understand the pressures of such debt better than anyone else and certainly better than a government that consists of 18 millionaires in its cabinet. We understand it and we balk at increasing this pressure by 200%.

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On the eve of March 4th…

March 4, 2010 at 6:23 am (Student Occupations) (, , , , , , )

From: The Horizontalist Papers – by A.W.

The ardent realist within me – that stubbornly arrogant voice which refuses to die or shut the fuck up – acknowledges that the majority of the naïve students that will cry out across the country tomorrow on March 4th will be clamoring for space within the realm of the material; referential points to which they can attach their multifaceted flags of demands and eagerness for concessions. The majority of the students will fulfill their reactionary roles – demand that access to “education” is a fundamental human “right” – demand that the state reconcile their grievances and accordingly adjust and restructure the fiscal constraints upon the decaying institution.

“Lower tuition and fees!” The unimaginative ones will say.

“A free university!” The mildly creative ones will exclaim.

It is to these that I offer my sincerest and most respectful: FUCK OFF.

IT IS FINALLY TIME TO DESTROY THE STUDENT AS A SOCIO-CULTURAL ROLE.

For the few intrepid souls, the ones who have long since stopped caring about accessibility and instead dreamt of dissolution this, OUR tomorrow, will be dedicated to you.

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CSU Fullerton OCCUPIED!

March 3, 2010 at 7:49 pm (Student Occupations) (, , , , , , , )

From the Make Believe Committee:

FULLERTON, California – As of 3AM, CSU Fullerton’s 8-story Humanities building has been barricaded from the inside by some fairly heavy materials. Their communique below.

Updates:

6:22am: Cops have raided the occupation. Four have been detained while the rest of the occupiers remain held up and negotiating with the police.

6:51am: Police have released the four detained, the rest of the 15-18 people inside are now being talked to, but will also probably be released on the spot. A full update will be posted later.

7:35am: Correction to previous update: The barricades were secure, but service ladders inside the building extend to tunnels below the building and had not been secured. The police entered through there, detaining four of the occupiers almost immediately. The rest of the occupiers scattered elsewhere in the building. All were eventually cited and released. The barricades that had been placed were indeed dumpsters chained to the doors from the inside, some stacked on each other.

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Strikes & Walkouts in Northern California March 4th 2010

March 3, 2010 at 5:43 pm (Student Occupations) (, , , , , )

Cañada College March 4th Strike flier

From LibCom.org:

With the global crisis deepening, California is being hit hard. Two consecutive booms then busts, in high tech and then housing, have left the state devastated. The official jobless rate for California is 12.4%, but the reality is probably twice that. Millions of foreclosed homes sit empty alongside tent cities springing up across the state. Austerity was forced on the working class with almost no opposition — until students rose up last fall. There have been occupations and strikes. On Thursday there will be statewide strikes, walkouts, and direct action. Hopefully it will spread beyond the campuses and become a general strike.

San Francisco, California—On the heels of strikes over cutbacks rocking Greece, the San Francisco Bay Area is bracing for an unprecedented widespread students, faculty and staff protests, walk outs and strikes in the public schools, community colleges, CSUs and UCs this Thursday March 4th as part of a statewide strike and day of action. While many of the faculty and staff at these campuses are represented by unions also planning after work protests at the SF Civic Center and Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza at 5 pm a broad coalition has been organizing for five months independently of these unions for direct action, walk outs and strikes. These efforts aim at not just protesting the destructive budget cuts crippling public, adult and higher education but engaging in civil disobedience to save public education, public services and public property such as the Civic Center which is slated to be auctioned soon.

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Updates from The Evergreen State College, Occupied Coast Salish Territories

March 3, 2010 at 5:10 pm (Student Occupations) (, , , , , , , , , )

This communiqué was written for students at Evergreen and people in the Olympia community and posted here for those outside these circumstances to understand where the struggle against budget cuts and capitalism stands in this community.

“What goes on between bodies in an occupation is more interesting than the occupation itself”

Tonight (the 2nd and 3rd of March) there was a study-in at the computer lab of the library building. As the clock struck midnight eighty students cheered as the administrators said the space was closed and walked off into the dark. This action was made possible by a concerted effort of student outreach to the workers of the space which helped achieve a common understanding about why this action was needed. Throughout the night people partook in finishing their homework, participating in workshops, and enjoying the feeling of a liberated (for the night) space.

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Berkeley Pre-Game Communiqué

March 2, 2010 at 7:24 pm (Student Occupations) (, , , , , , , )

(That’s Not The Sky, That’s The Ceiling) From Occupy California:

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Westminster University Occupied in the Fight Against Cuts

March 2, 2010 at 5:46 pm (Student Occupations) (, , , , , , )

From LibCom.org:

Over 200 staff and students at the University of Westminster have protested, stormed the board of governors meeting and are currently in occupation, vice-chancellors office, in regard to recently proposed tutoring and administrative job cuts.

Management are planning to slash 285 jobs by April and this follows the closures of the ceramics department and the nursery. Recently, over 150 staff and students placed a unanimous vote of no confidence in the vice-chancellor and his management at a rally addressing Westminster’s severe proposed job cuts, on February, 17.

The vice-chancellor has openly declared that job cuts are the initiative of the governors, not his. Well, demonstrators asked him for themselves, after storming past security and into the governor’s meeting. They were greeted by a board of governors who were ‘quaking in their boots;’ shortly after students persuaded Geoffrey Petts, the VC, to stick around and answer some questions which he hesitated to on the first instance but then proceed to do with a full bureaucratic and dismissive tone.

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March 4 the Regents!: How and Why a Movement gets Co-opted

March 2, 2010 at 4:48 am (Student Occupations) (, , , , , , )

From Occupy California:

March 1st

The regents think it’s a great idea. Blumenthal is beside himself. It’s so great that the students are mobilizing to go to Sacramento. Student leaders are excited: the regents are with us! Sacramento must listen!

On the regents’ side, it’s perfect. The shift to Sacramento solves two problems that the student movement poses. First, it gets the students off of their backs, displacing the anger further up – an age-old tactic of bureaucrats. The removal of antagonism between students and regents allows them to declare themselves on our side, which they of course could not do with the occupations or campus blockades, or when they needed busloads of riot cops with tear gas guns just to hold a “public” meeting. Second, it incorporates the movement, keeping it confined to sanctioned action. As soon as a coalition of student leaders, faculty, unions, and (oh how wonderful) administrators unites in Sacramento, the path is clear: lobbying, symbolic demonstrations, cliché-as-fuck chants and picket signs: in short, a managed movement.

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To The Communards of March 4th

March 1, 2010 at 3:12 pm (Student Occupations) (, , , , , , , , , )

A sealed note to the communards of March 2010

From The Brilliant

Thanks to you the world has opened up, again—tired folks were reminded that energy is generative, not finite, and the size of your ambitions has been shown to exceed the University. There is a beginning of a twisting road, without a foreseeable end, with beautiful vistas and shadowy cul-de-sacs.

In the past the brilliant attacked capitalism at its strongest, pointing out that even the upper and middle classes – the people who were supposed to benefit from the system – even those people led lives of misery and impoverishment. The school occupations are the latest chapter of that story. And the communiques, full of toothy poetry, point out that debt is the only consistent product of a university education, that the university – the gleaming icon of personal betterment and fulfillment – is no longer good for either the “creation of a cultured and educated citizenry,” nor for the economic benefits that used to go with a degree. That the university becomes just one more way of categorizing people, defining one more type of inmate, a different control group for the experiments that are constant, ubiquitous.

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Leaving Passivity Behind: Notes On the 2/25 Take Over

March 1, 2010 at 2:36 pm (Student Occupations) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Editor’s note: This text, attributed to Occupy CA but not appearing on their site, sounds more like something from the infamous Insurrectionary Text Generator, but we are posting it here anyways for fun and curiosity. Enjoy!

The “Offical Communique from Occupy CA”

In the construction of desiring-bodies, we negate those who would have us give up the inoperative joy of indifference for the catastrophe of mobilization.

The compulsive impotentiality proposed to us is like a bad joke, and instead of laughter we respond with crisis. Our need to riot is less the elaboration of a concept than the realization of a state of exception. It is necessary to commence absolutely; not to dream of new ways to organize, but to make manifest the subterranean communes in the heart of each smashed window. This is a call to rupture, not an insistence on activism.

Every burning dumpster is a refusal to be productive, a blow against the being of anarcho-liberalism, a recognition of the immanent temporality inherent in the articulation of zones of offensive capacity. We must reject all normalization—in secret. Confronted with those who fail to recognize themselves in our conspiracies of destruction, we offer neither sympathy nor dialogue but only our derision. In the construction of desiring-bodies, we negate those who would have us give up the inoperative joy of indifference for the catastrophe of mobilization.

To those who deride the radical ecstasy in a car set aflame or a c-clamped pushbar, we propose nothing less than to destroy their homogenous representation, without looking back. What’s needed is not totality, and even far less fossilization of our desires, but a putting-into-practice of singular zones of indistinction which need no justification, a rejection in all forms of the logic of humanism.

Your Comrades Occupying Everything

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