So what is this occupation all about?

These are the views of but one occupier…

-An emergency general meeting of the SOAS student union voted for occupation in defence of education, against cuts and fee increases.

-On Monday morning students occupied the Brunei Suite. The space remains open and as inclusive as possible- the occupation is what we as a student body make it.

-The occupation of this space in the school, rather than a place outside the university, is productive for at least the following reasons:

Putting pressure on the SOAS management to use their influence to prevent cuts and fee increases. The directorate must move beyond paltry messages of concern. Cuts are not a fait accomplis. Marketisation of education can be avoided.

Occupation is also a symbolic political act that acts as a focal point for the local and national movement, forcing people to engage with the issues both inside and outside the occupied space.

The Brunei Suite room is contracted out to the large company Sodexo, which charges up to £600 for the hire of the suite for one day. Student lectures are not held in this room. Taking back this space highlights the contradictions of a commodified university experience, which requires the search for profit at the expense of teaching and learning.

This occupation should be seen as but one strategy interacting with a mass of others- a staging point along the journey to maximise our potential.

This occupation is not designed to split the student movement, or be highjacked by a minorty. The more people who are prepared to engage with the process to any degree will strengthen the cause. Decisions are made in the most democratic way possible, and there is open discussion on all issues.

-The space can be used for meetings, debates about the cuts and strategies, events not directly related to the struggle, and for general hanging out purposes. Anything really.

-This is a crucial moment for the direction that our society is moving in. Resistance starts at home. Resignation must be put aside, anger must be transformed into concerted action. This is a call for unity and purpose with students and staff together beating a new path forwards. Join!

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3 Responses to So what is this occupation all about?

  1. FinanceMatters? says:

    You may want to check your facts on the Sodexo situation. The School receives the room hire charges, not Sodexo.

  2. Me again says:

    Sorry, but there are several major flaws and inaccuracies to your argument that I just can’t let it go uncommented.

    “Putting pressure on the SOAS management to use their influence to prevent cuts and fee increases. The directorate must move beyond paltry messages of concern. ” It is incredibly short-sighted to think that the management is just going to roll over and accept the cuts. Why would they do that? Of course the directorate are going to use their influence, but their influence works in ways that you don’t seem to, or want to, understand. Reasoned dialogue through their established channels, and not threats and publicity stunts.

    “Cuts are not a fait accomplis. Marketisation of education can be avoided.” You are absolutely correct, the cuts have not been decided. You are fighting against something that is at the moment, speculation. Therefore you can’t win.

    “The Brunei Suite room is contracted out to the large company Sodexo, which charges up to £600 for the hire of the suite for one day. Student lectures are not held in this room. Taking back this space highlights the contradictions of a commodified university experience, which requires the search for profit at the expense of teaching and learning.” The School is not a profit-making organisation. Any surplus derived from commercial activities such as hiring out facilities subsidises the cost of education. Essentially the longer you occupy the Brunei Suite, the more income the school has to find elsewhere – i.e. fees. You are shooting yourself in the foot!

    “The more people who are prepared to engage with the process to any degree will strengthen the cause.” No, not any degree. Not all methods are productive. You are trying to influence Conservatives (might as well give up on the LibDems, they’ve sold themselves down the river for a taste of power). Direct action does not work with them. To influence a Tory you have to think like a Tory (greedy, self-obsessed and devious!).

    Don’t get me wrong, we are on the same side. I want universal free education. You, me and the management all want to safeguard the future of our School (why wouldn’t we?). I just don’t agree with your methods and reasoning. You don’t offer any constructive solutions, only objections. And until you do, what you are doing now will not gain anything.

  3. Pingback: Cautiously optimistic: Walkouts and occupations everywhere | Cautiously pessimistic

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