Posted on January 22, 2011
Please add comments or suggestions about where next for the campaign and ideas for discussion at the National Assembly.
January 22, 2011
I think we should all pressure our student unions to fund as many coaches as possible to London on March 26th. Also I think we should all plan different direct actions for that day, at least 2 or 3 per occupation.
Obviously we should be doing stuff before March though. What does anyone think about whether its useful to get elected to students unions or waste of effort?
We should fight the selling off of the forests too as thats a hugely popular cause (84% disagree with it) that should be highlighted to show the tories are scum
I hope you don’t mind me posting as a parent of one at univ and two at high school I just wanted to say keep up the fight and I’m with you all the way.
We’ve had several very successful demos in leeds but I’m a bit worried that some of the young people are putting too much reliance on facebook and the web to get the message across about activities – we’ve found that the best way to get people involved in actions is to use the web but also to encourage everyone to spread the word when they are talking to others face to face – this gets a great atmosphere going and resulted in 800 schoolkids coming out of my kids high school for the day of action in november – they said that the whole school was buzzing! Keep up the good work,
My idea was to call for a day of nationwide day of highway blocking (probably motorways as an initial target).
If everybody passionate about the cause, and these people exist in every town and city of the UK, grouped up and peacefully blocked off their nearest point of the motorway at the same time, the results would be epic. I imagine that it would only take about 20 people to block off a motorway for a few hours, probably less if they chained themselves together. Also, the police would be helpless to stop the plan working, as they’d have no hope of guarding the motorway system in its entirety. Peacefully stopped traffic nationwide would be impossible for the government to ignore, especially if repeated on a regular basis – in which case momentum would surely be gained (traintracks and even airport runways could be blocked). As well as this, such a form of direct action would be challenging for even the most manipulative media sources to oppose.
Corin, I’ve heard a few people say that and i’m undecided on it.
It sounds dangerous, blocking trains and fast-moving cars. Has any other movement tried that tactic? if not theres probably a reason for that
Also I think the public support us smashing up millbank and the treasury but blocking transport could piss of the public, we need to target the government less than ordinary people
Having said that it would be a brilliant way for students to support any general strike but I think we’d have to save it for a moment when the country are really angry and not do it arbritrarily Perhaps March 26th?
Obstructing the public highway is illegal as well and police would arrest everyone as soon as they arrived on the scene
In Italy in November I heard that students blockaded train stations and stopped trains running. Though I myself am dubious about the tactic – but happy to be convinced! – as it might just alienate people trying to get about and to work etc as has been noted. There were road blockades during the period of the invasion of Iraq that didn’t seem to provoke any backlash from the public also.
I was talking to Ed Maltby about the idea and he mentioned ‘Reclaim The Streets’, he also mentioned knowing people who organised raves on streets in the ’90s.
In terms of police opposition, there are ways to peacefully resist arrest for an amount of time, and as I said before, the use of chains could be very effective. But I take your point about it being effective as part of a general strike.
As an alternative, maybe the blocking of some key London train lines could be organised?
But failing this idea, or saving it for later – I really think that we have to do something a bit different in combination with the protests. Maybe some more peaceful occupations? Possibly a plan to get into Lib Dem HQ? Not sure if the police are always there or not, if the latter is true I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard. Or maybe a coordinated occupation of town/city halls accross the nation?
University of Kent Anti-Cuts Campaign
As important as protesting is for its spectacle it is essential that we don’t forget the typical routes of dialogue and action as well. As Joe says, we should be getting elected to council, but we should be doing more. Never stop trying to talk to your MPs, headteachers or Vice-Chancellors etc. Even if these routes may fail to achieve as much coverage or pressure as protests might, it is important for public support to prove that you have the mandate for alternative forms for action because these have been unsuccesful.
It is important that we do not show ourselves to be here protesting for the sake of protesting. Here at Kent we now have a meeting with our Vice-Chancellor as well as other members of our adminsitration and have been throughout using our Union Council to pass motions in favour of action as well as to coordinate for meetings such as the National Assembly.
Don’t get me wrong, we know as well as everyone else how successful protest can be and will continue to rely on it where necessary but never alienate support by failing to use all available options.
a day of co-ordinated occupation of townhalls/government departments sounds like a great idea! Relatively easy to do and should be front page news. With council elections coming up aswell we could make demands of councils not to implement the cuts. I think we should arrange a date for that at the assembly, (or would that make it too easy for the police to stop us?)
The roads thing I think would be possible in London like you said about reclaim the streets. in Sheffield for example I dont think we’d have the numbers to block it and resist arrest. but go for it if you can
January 23, 2011
I really like the idea of a day of co-ordinated occupations of Town Halls and/or government departments. This would be quite easy to organise, as Joe says. It would also help to cement links between local education and other anti-cuts groups. Actions could maybe be followed by General Assemblies at Unis and Colleges, and then a rolling series of similar actions at Town Halls, alternating with local assemblies as a regular, purposeful social strike, and ‘new society movement’ all-in-one. Many key demands and important democratic ideas could then be brought in organically. For example, regular (weekly or monthly) strikes on Fridays could easily be linked to calls for a 3 day week, which would certainly get the general population interested and maybe out in numbers. Mobilising in this way, bypassing the bureacratic left and locally but also nationally and if possible internationally is the way forward. The Zapatista ideal of democratic control of services from the ground up, and a new ‘intergalactic’ politics – based on the common power of democratic assemblies – could then be initiated.
About internationalism: a well timed decentralised day of action could also be linked to struggles in other countries. As we all know, educational financialisation and neo-liberal austerity is being imposed across the world, nation-by-nation. But also, again as we all kn0w the problem – and therefore solution (as with many other pressing aspects of this crisis) – is both local AND global. The dream is now possible – a mass movement that reflects this truth – to become a recognisable ‘Other’ to state-capitalist globalisation. We must strike while the iron is hot. But to get *there* we must make a sensible first step, while also still staying true to our own local campaigns. With the Paris ‘Universities against Austerity’ Europe-wide meeting coming up (see http://www.edu-factory.org ) could we not do that by coming out of Jan30th agreeing to a national day of decentralised co-ordinated actions, at Town Halls and other government departments, but with the date carefully chosen for its innate capacity to perhaps become international or Europe-wide??
If so, alongside Mayday, Friday March 25th is well worth considering. Aswell as being the eve of the TUC march, it is also the anniversary of British Parliamentary abolition of slavery, but more importantly also that of the Treaty of Rome, the founding document of the European Union. As such it might be a great day to launch a Europe-wide decentralised day of action (for, say “Free, Emancipatory Education for All, a New Europe and a New World”) which could then be repeated or built upon in the run up to Mayday, and then on into the glorious summer of 2011…
Radical Assemblies Everywhere!!
January 24, 2011
If Town hall occupations are to take place they MUST take place in the next 5 to 6 weeks. between now and the end of febuary every council will be passing the cuts budgets for this year, destroying swathes of community services. Disabled people, pensioners, children and the most vulnerabel in society will be smashed by this and they need out help. We need to attempt to stop this and persuade labour councillors to refuse to sign them off.
If they refuse, they have 21 days to reconsider before a letter from the financial officer, then another 21 days to sign off, and then disciplinary of some kind although NOT a surcharge or criminal proceedings like in the 80s. Today it is much easier for them.
Town Halls is the best idea but must start happening soon, as community groups will also be protesting on mass outside meetings over the next month nationawide!
January 28, 2011
Here is a motion that could be proposed at the Assembly on Sunday:
~ ~ ~
This National Education Assembly urges communities throughout Britain and Europe to build inclusive People’s Assemblies that can:
* unite students, education workers, trade unionists, community groups and all those resisting austerity and ConDem cuts, as well as climate change activists, campaigners for human rights, migrant support networks and anti-racist groups
* develop an alternative democratic voice and long-term presence to effectively challenge corporate/financial power and its grip on the existing political system
February 1, 2011
Re. the proposal to demonstrate at UUK meeting (in March is it?). I suggest lobby of VCs by students from their unis as some VCs (like Blackstone and VC of UCLan) are opposed and we should support this minority to split UUK.
PS Does anyone have email or other contact for Ryan Hickey as I liked his proposal for an laternative/ creative media as I have been thinking of similar for some time and meeting Warwick p-g Mark Carrigan who hosts sociological imagination website next week to discuss with him?
February 4, 2011
Hi Patrick and Everyone
We are looking to expand our web team at the new site http://www.peoplesassemblies.org
This site could be developed to provide content on Assemblies throughout the UK and further afield and also could maybe provide a suitable hub or the kind of alternative media that Ryan spoke of.
Please get in touch to discuss 0785 439 0408 or email@example.com or join the site via the membership form and we can go from there.
All welcome to get stuck in !
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