UK Newswire Archive
25-11-2010 01:18A university based on the principal of free and open education, a return of politics to the public, and the politicisation of public space
Lecture today in London bank - check out Youtube link below:
25-11-2010 01:01Ok, the protests are over and the urge is to get online to check out the photos/videos, then upload your own and chat with your friends about the days events. However, please consider the following first...
Part of the School for Oriental and African Studies is currently being occupied in protest against privatisation and cuts, but the dispute is getting wider. SOAS students are there, and Goldsmiths and other students are there in solidarity, but they need your help. Here's a statement of solidarity from Goldsmiths students, email email@example.com to get more info.
National Walkout: Goldsmiths students' statement of solidarity
We, the students of Goldsmiths College, have decided supporting the SOAS occupation to show our solidarity against the proposed cuts to education. We are not just students and this is not just a contingent occupation. It is an expression of our stance against the current government's ideological agenda that will impoverish us all.
This is a peaceful movement and we continue to act peacefully. Yet those in Whitehall who were ketteled today, including thousand of high school children, and who were expressing their legitimate fear of the dissolution of their futures, have been treated like criminals. For more than 9 hours they were imprisoned by a police shield, unable to leave and without access to water, warm clothing, medical treatment and only 1 toilet cubicle for more than 3000 people. This is physical and discursive violence by the government through the instrument of the police against people's legitimate right to question the decisions of a coalition government on a weak mandate.
We have been told that due to our government's debt we, the people(s), must now forfeit rights that have historically been the foundation of society, one of which is free access to education for all. Why did the government jump to the rescue of the banks in the name of society only to then do away with the essential mechanisms that ensure the livelihoods and securities which we expect from a democratic government?
The effects of having a solution of privatisation of the university will be that the ability to access education will be determined solely by individuals' financial backgrounds. As a matter of course this will fast track those from privileged backgrounds to the most elite universities.
The governments restructuring of the education system has revealed their priority to perpetuate, enlarge and advance a logic of learning that is catered towards the economy and not society.
This is evident by the positioning of the hard sciences and certain social sciences (i.e. Economics and Law) over and above the arts/humanities and other social sciences. On what basis is the government undertaking this decision?
There has been a systemic attack on arts and humanities for not meeting research standards; for not undertaking research whose 'value' can be appraised according to a crude economic calculus. Indeed, how can arts and humanities meet these research standards when their departments across the country are overburdened with teaching hours, force fed with never-ending quantitative targets and ever coerced to tow the line for fear of their funding being cut? These aggressive measures are part of a vicious cycle that has been initiated by the government's claim to know what is worthwhile education and what is not.
While these sciences are valuable for society they are not the beating heart of innovative and creative social communities and they do not have any critical capacity to guide moral, ethical and political questions that we live within and must engage with at every level in our life.
It seems that the government is knowingly dressing down the humanities' status in favour of disciplines whose end result is net private profit, with the effect the population is coerced into financialised and managerial modes of work.
For instance, several universities are increasingly under the thumb of managerial imperatives, not democratically and academically credible leadership. This is seen in the withering power of the Universities' board of governors to keep in check C.E.O type leadership whose prime interests are solely economic.
Such regimes are becoming the norm in various sectors across society; we see this in secondary education with the changes in funding and the introduction of 'academies'; cuts in NHS funding that will lead people with no choice but to access private healthcare or even go without; the cutting of legal aid and the replacing of genuine workers' organisations with ones which are led by corporate-style figureheads whose interests are indistinguishable from the mainstream interests of political parties. Those that question the normalisation of these ideological interests are harassed and witch-hunted, such as the whistle-blowers in the NHS who have brought to light the deaths and endangerment of hundreds of patients under the auspices of mis-management.
Yet, we will not be intimidated by these developments because we have a vision for a society that is sustainable, egalitarian and perfectly viable outside the narrow terms of economics. We demand breadth and freedom of choice in education, not the baseless pitting of sciences against the humanities. We demand an education that is not underwritten by financial gain but by the sake of learning itself.
Our quest is to protect education from the neo-liberal market. We will press for the resistance, and continue our own vociferous and active resistance, of the obstruction of learning as an empowering experience. This process is being created via the rhetorical transformation of it into a commodity
We will continue to highlight the greedy agenda of those who want to roll-out their private wealth. With this affect, they command the productive wealth of our society. We the students, refuse to accept the labels 'selfish' and 'lazy'- our actions of solidarity across generations today disproves these.
The occupation in SOAS is one of many acts by all of those who are going to be negatively affected by the cuts we are to be shackled with. The actions the government wish to effect are a few weeks away, we will remain committed to expressing our views concerning the *right* to a non-elitist, non-corporate education system before and beyond (if necessary) the coming 'act'.
We reiterate our absolute solidarity with those who have been subject to confinement-without-release within the arms of the law, for the best part of a freezing day. The expression of opposition to government should not be pre-figured as a criminal act. The police took up what is known as a 'Kettle' formation within an hour of the arrival of the protestors- thousands (yes, thousands) of whom are high school children. While the physical presence and movement of the protestors is part of the expression of their opinion, the physical presence of the police and their deeply intimidating formation marks their antipathy to such expression. The rhetoric of 'preventative' action (prevention of rioting, or damage to property) fails absolutely when one considers the intimidatory gesture of confinement within a tightly packed 'chain' of police bodies, backed with a garrison of vehicles and a reserve force of riot police. All this to ensure the 'safety' of the protestors, and the public? Such display of force is totally disproportionate. Such force is in place to silence the message of the protestors. Such force in formation seeks to contaminate the democratic message delivered through the visual mass of the protestors with the violence implied in the disproportionate strength of the police.
All of those involved in the protests today did so in defense of a society we need to reclaim from the impending cuts, a society based on community, not corporation.
In solidarity, Goldsmiths students
24th November 2010
Green and Black Cross aim to support those arrested or assaulted during the protests of November 24th.
If you were arrested then please contact us ASAP. Why? We are monitoring the legal situation and trying to make sure that everyone gets the help they need.
If you witnessed an arrest, please contact us. Why? We will try to put you in touch with the solicitors of those arrested so that they can mount a defence.
If you witnessed specific police officers using unreasonable force or abusing their powers, please get in touch (especially if you have video or photographic evidence. Why? We hope to be able to help those wishing to pursue legal complaints.
If you tried to leave a kettle because you wanted/needed to go home/use the toilet/take medication etc. but were refused, please get in touch. Why? We aim to collect statements/video to help challenge the use of this police tactic.
phone call 07946 541511
Always remember, 'no comment!' until you have spoken to a decent solicitor!
24-11-2010 23:34The Royal Holloway Anti Cuts Alliance are still occupying the picture gallery corridor of Founder’s building
24-11-2010 23:22University of Bristol Union Occupied
Report And Photos From Student Anti Cuts Demo
Today somewhere between 2000-4000 students, teachers and lecturers protested in central Bristol, meaning that the protest was probably the best attended Bristolian demonstration since the anti-war protests of 2002. Having congregated outside Bristol University's Senate House to hear union reps give short speeches at 12:30, the protest moved down to Clifton triangle, past the Wills Memorial building and down Park St, which was filled by protesters, the majority of whom were aged between 14 and 20. At the bottom of Park St the march was blocked from entering the centre by a police cordon, and so most of the march went back up Park St where protesters were hemmed in on all sides by police cordons. In spite of this, large groups managed to break out, including those who went to the Bristol University Student Union building and have occupied the building
In sum the demo was well attended by young people, many of whom have never been on a protest before. There was a general sense of anger and hostility towards the ConDem coalition and in particular the cuts to the EMA and the proposals to triple university fees while completely withdrawing state funding from the arts, humanities and social sciences. Many students brought home made banners with a diverse range of slogans from 'Think Now Before Its Too Expensive,' and 'Thought is Not a Commodity' to 'Browne is Shit' and 'Tory Scum'.
Full Article and Photos | Occupation of University of Bristol Union | Activist Hospitalised by Cops at Bristol Student Demo | Police Not Displaying Numbers on Today's Demo | Today's Student Demo | Bristol University Students Union Under Occupation
Here are a few of the blogs from this weeks occupations which took place across the UK
The students have put up their demands and each occupation can be followed at length.
We will add as you send them in.
Royal Holloway: http://rhacc.wordpress.com/
List of Universities Occupied:
24-11-2010 23:02PARTICIPATE ON TWITTER AT #DAYX2
23 November 2010 Nottingham Crown Court
Barrister for the prosecution, Miss Felicity Gerry continued to outline their case.
Taking the jury further into the huge bundle of paper they'd been given to consider, she spent much time on the press release that had already been prepared ahead of the action intended.
She points out the press release notes describe the actions intended. They include element such as peaceful protest, trespass, the intent of climbing structures and securing access. Notes about the Ratcliffe power stations operations. Then there was another section drawing attention to the issues the then Energy Secretary Ed Milliband MP, who was considering an application for the construction of another coal-fired power station by E-on at that time.
Notes suggested that the protesters had researched issues for several months before their arrest to ensure the health and safety of themselves and others before engaging in the action. Further, to minimize power disruptions.
By reading out the press release, almost in its entirety to the court, I was struck in thinking that this was perhaps doing a lot of the defences work for them! I formed the impression of the great amount of care, consideration and research that had been put into the whole project. But i think the motive here is clearly to demonstrate the amount of premeditation and possible conspiracy that the prosecution aledge had taken place.
Miss Gerry continued onto the question & answers leaflet that had also be found at the school. She again seemed to me to be suggesting that the depth of research, thought-out consequences, again demonstrated the premeditation and a conspiracy.
Another leaflet was introduced titled: 'Important notice for people working at Ratcliffe Power Station' intended to provide an explanation to workers about the action. On then to a media contact list prepared with the contact and phone number of a number of TV and newspaper journalist and newsrooms.
Further into the bundle, she introduces an assortment of papers, some torn up and reassembled by the police, found within various rooms in the Iona School. A flip chart paper and a couple of other bits and bobs. All describing aspects of the proposed action, amounting in fact, to an operational plan.
Miss Gerry spent some time describing the operation of a flow chart. Its object was to lay out what to do on arrival at the plant if challenged by worker or security / or not challenged. The arrangement of people into 'task groups' and how to proceed when confronted with a variety of obstacles.
The presence of 'what to do if' and arrest advice papers suggested that they intended to engage in illegal activities. Another note discovered referred to a company called Veggies "Please supply high calorific high density durable foods" individually packed but sometimes would be available for sharing. Food bags were discovered with days of the week written on them.
Great emphasis was put of another leaflet titled: Ecological Show Stoppers. Street theatre, Sunday 12th April 2009 Iona School, Sneinton, Nottingham.
After lunch we continue with a oh so long listing of equipment. The back bench of the court has a large array of exhibits in plastic bags, all carefully presented by a court officer resplendent in blue sterile gloves. Unnecessary I thought, when holding ropes , bits of metals and wood which are all contained in plastic. But, me thinks, it all gives an air of crime, danger, presentation etc.
Although not absolutely everything seized, Miss Gerry tells the court that it is a sample to give a flavor of the materials involved. She has the court officer display to the jury:
Cycle steel rope locks
Climbing ropes, clips and harnesses [a variety of all-sorts]
Hard hats, masks and ear-defenders
A roll-able metal climbing ladder
'Lock-on' tubes [constructed from fire extinguisher casings, a steel tubes encased in concrete
Police photographs then presented in the bundle showing:
A hired gas detector
Steel device with handles to block a door
Assortment of power tools inc. cutting equipment, drills etc
Miss Gerry suggests that all this equipment would enable the defendants to carry out their stated aims to shut down the power station for a week.
Banners of varying sizes including the words:
For climate justice
2000 tons of carbon saved
Coal = Climate Disaster
No more coal
A sketch was also found showing how to hang a banner with ropes and weighting down with sandbags.
Crumbs! Today was very much about lists. Lists of papers, equipment & kit, personal items, sleeping bags, bedding etc etc etc etc ..... we are now onto vehicle. Hired from a variety of companies and locations.
An assortment of receipts for kit, tools, fuel, maps and routes.
It then took a while for her to describe the number of mobile telephones and an assortment of sim cards. Also some radio equipment. They were found in various places about the school and on people present there. All were unregistered and recently purchased. Effort was made in then explaining some of suggested links between them and numbers that had called each other.
We all adjourn until 10.30am tomorrow.
the case continues etc ........
Ratcliffe Trial Day 2 - Prosecution’s Opening
Ratcliffe conspiracy to trespass trial opens today
Ratcliffe Conspiracy Trial Begins [feature]
Photographer - Media: One Eye on the Road. Nottingham. UK
Member of the National Union of Journalists [NUJ]
"It is not enough to curse the darkness.
It is also necessary to light a lamp!!"
24-11-2010 22:22Battle for equality continues – next phase: legal action in the courts
A heterosexual Quaker couple, Ian Goggin and Kristin Skarsholt, were refused a civil partnership at Bristol Register Office this morning, Tuesday, 23 November. The registrar cited the legal ban on opposite-sex civil partnerships as the reason for the refusal.
‘Equal Love’ campaign opposes exclusion of straight couples
Commenting on the refusal, Kristin Skarsholt (22) said:
“We are disappointed that we were not able to have our relationship legally recognised. Ian and I genuinely wish to secure legal recognition as civil partners. We are determined to fight through the courts to end the legal segregation that continues to keep straight and gay couples in separate institutions.
“Just as our gay friends are excluded from civil marriage, we are being excluded from having a civil partnership. This is discriminatory segregation on the basis of sexual orientation. It is wrong,” she said.
Ian Goggin (21) added:
“Although the register staff were extremely helpful, they were unable to offer us a civil partnership. They felt obliged to act in accordance with the law as it currently stands. We thank them for their politeness. We regret this rejection but our resolve to carry on the campaign for equality remains strong.
“We are hopeful that our forthcoming legal case, led by Professor Robert Wintemute and Peter Tatchell, will eventually end discrimination against heterosexual couples in civil partnership law. Next time we come here to apply for a civil partnership we are confident there will be a happier outcome,” he said.
See more quotes from Ian and Kristin at the end of this news release.
Skarsholt and Goggin are both Bristol-based students at the University of West England. Kristin is studying Arabic and Ian is studying music technology. She was born in Norway and he in Ireland. They’ve been in a relationship together for two years. Both are Quakers and met at a Quaker retreat.
Kristin and Ian’s application today is part of the new Equal Love campaign, which seeks the repeal of the twin prohibitions on gay civil marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships.
Kristin and Ian are the fourth of eight couples who will file applications at register offices across the country, in an effort to overturn the “sexual segregation” in civil marriage and civil partnership law.
The Equal Love campaign is organised by the gay rights group OutRage! and coordinated by the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
Ian and Kristin are being advised by the Equal Love campaign’s legal expert, Robert Wintemute, Professor of Human Rights Law at Kings College London.
“By excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage, and different-sex couples from civil partnership, the UK Government is discriminating on the grounds of sexual orientation, contrary to the Human Rights Act,” said Professor Wintemute.
“The twin bans violate Article 14 (protection against discrimination), Article 12 (the right to marry) and Article 8 (the right to respect for family life).
“The rights attached to civil marriage and civil partnership are identical, especially with regard to adoption of children, donor insemination, and surrogacy. There is no longer any justification for excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage and different-sex couples from civil partnership. It’s like having separate drinking fountains or beaches for different racial groups, even though the water is the same. The only function of the twin bans is to mark lesbian and gay people as inferior to heterosexual people,” he said.
Equal Love’s campaign coordinator, Peter Tatchell, was in Bristol for the civil partnership application attempt and to support Skarsholt and Goggin. He added:
“We seek heterosexual equality. In a democratic society, everyone should be equal before the law. There should be no discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“Denying heterosexual couples the right to have a civil partnership is discriminatory and offensive. We want to see it ended, so that straight couples like Tom and Katherine can have the option of a civil partnership.
“The bans on same-sex civil marriages and on opposite-sex civil partnerships are a form of sexual apartheid. There is one law for straight couples and another law for gay partners. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
“We see the Equal Love campaign as a historic quest for justice; morally equivalent to the campaigns to overturn the bans on inter-racial marriage in apartheid South Africa and the Deep South of the USA.
“From 2 November onwards, eight couples will file applications at register offices in London, Northampton, Bristol and Havant. Four same-sex couples will apply for civil marriages and four heterosexual couples will apply for civil partnerships. One couple will make an application every week until 14 December. Once all the applications have been refused, the eight couples will consult our lawyer and agree a joint legal action.
“Our aim is to secure equality in civil marriage and civil partnership law. We want both systems open to all couples, gay and straight, so that everyone has a free and equal choice.
“Just as gay couples should be able to marry, civil partnerships should be available to straight couples.
“Same-sex marriage is the growing trend all over the world. It exists in Canada, Argentina and South Africa, as well as seven of our European neighbours: Portugal, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Iceland. We want marriage equality in Britain too.
“Political support for ending the ban on gay marriage is growing. London Mayor, Boris Johnson, and former Conservative Party Vice-Chair, Margot James MP, have both come out in favour of allowing lesbian and gay couples to marry in a registry office, on the same terms as heterosexual partners.
“This view is also endorsed by the leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, and by the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats.
“Both the Liberal Democrat and the Green party conferences have voted overwhelmingly in favour of ending the bans on gay civil marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships,” noted Mr Tatchell.
Public attitudes have shifted strongly in favour of allowing gay couples to marry. A Populus opinion poll in June 2009 found that 61% of the public believe that: “Gay couples should have an equal right to get married, not just to have civil partnerships.” Only 33% disagreed.
Additional quotes from Ian and Kristin
Ian Goggin (21) said:
“We want a civil partnership for two reasons. It better reflects our relationship, and we can’t condone the baseless discrimination between civil marriages and civil partnerships.
“We seek the security and stability of a legal commitment, without the necessity to be associated with the language and culture of marriage. I don’t identify with this culture, and cannot think of Kristin as my ‘wife’. She is my partner, we work together, sharing responsibilities.
“We believe in access to civil partnerships for all. The similar Pacte Civil de Solidarité in France is extremely popular, with 95% of those taking it up in 2009 being heterosexual couples.
“A key reason we won’t get married is that we don’t want to take part in an institution that excludes our homosexual friends. We feel a fair society shouldn’t countenance this kind of hurtful sexual orientation discrimination and hope this campaign can go some way towards challenging such discrimination,” he said.
Kristin Skarsholt (22) added:
“It is important for me to be recognised as a ‘partner’ to Ian, and for him being acknowledged as a ‘partner’ to me; rather than him being ‘the husband’ and me being ‘his wife’. A civil partnership is a better reflection of our equal relations and our love for each other.
“Having both civil marriages and civil partnerships open to everyone is an important part of the struggle for equality. It recognises the universality of love, commitment, stability and security.
“We should all have the right to choose the institution that best reflects our relationship.
“Segregating gay and straight couples means that people of different sexualities are not being treated equally before the law,” she concluded.
24-11-2010 21:54Cardiff University Students will continue Occupying Large Shandon Lecture Theatre in the Main Building of Cardiff University over night. The decision was taken by consensus by the ~50 students present at 9.45, shortly before the deadline to leave set by the University Management (10pm).
24-11-2010 21:34The Kids Are United – Against Cameron & Clegg!
Wednesday 24th November 2010,
The Conservative Party HQ was closed for business today.
The large gates to the compound where the offices are located at King Edward Court were locked shut. A note on the gate informed us that offices were shut today, but without any further explaination. Another note says that if you needed access to the offices of the Crown Prosecution Service CPS, then need to contact them. Windows remained broken and boarded up after a previous incident last week. There was also a police presence watching out for any eventualities.
So, what's going on? Well there was a nationally advertised student walk out today. They were clearly worried about further direct action by students and others on the issues of fees, cuts to public service, and all the rest ......
Me thinks that the Conservative Party are nervous about the publics reaction to these issues.
Last Thursday, damage was done to the Conservative Party Nottingham Office.
Obviously as a protest against the governments cuts to welfare, public service, care etc etc .... [oooops sorry, I meant the governments public spending review].
Some windows had been smashed along the wall in King Edward Street and there were some painted messages including "Fight the cuts" and "Tory Scum".
Windows have now been boarded up, awaiting the glaziers. This is the latest expression of peoples anger at these proposals. There have been other examples around the city including County Hall and a firm of baliffs offices.
In a statement, they said: "We did this because we believe in acting autonomously with the rage in our hearts. And we did this in solidarity with those arrested for being at Millbank, and all people who are getting fucked over by the cuts and capitalism on a daily basis."
So, there you have it. I think you can only imagine this becoming a continuing trend!
Conservative Party Office
1 King Edward Court,
Smashed Windows & Graffiti @ Conservative Offices
Statement on these events at: at:
Tory offices in Nottingham smashed
and earlier .....
Fuck austerity! Fight the cuts!
Details of forecoming events at:
Notts Save Our Services | Defending jobs, services, welfare ...
Photographer - Media: One Eye on the Road. Nottingham. UK
Member of the National Union of Journalists [NUJ]
"It is not enough to curse the darkness.
It is also necessary to light a lamp!!"
At 1pm over 300 students gathered in Bristo Square, Edinburgh, to begin a day of protest in resistance to cuts and fees; meanwhile, 50 workers and benefit claimants were holding a demonstration outside Edinburgh's A4E offices.