Monday, November 15, 2010
We have no demands to make of NUS president Aaron Porter except to FOAD. Behold your future executioners.
A guest post from Capt. Bollocks
The demonstration against the government cuts to education and the raising of the cap on student fees jointly organised by the NUS and lecturer’s unions (UCU) on November 10th lead news reports that day and many following days.
The demonstration was officially a response just to the attacks on higher learning in England and Wales. It has gained a wider significance as the attacks on the students (and their parents) have been seen as the rolling back on the state providing for the needs of all its citizens. Initially the organisers expected about 8000 to attend which would have a good turnout for what the NUS have organised for about 20 years. Due to zeitgeist (spirit of the times) the demonstration obtained far larger numbers despite the NUS’s inability to organise a piss up in a brewery.
An occupation of the Tory party central offices in Millbank had been planned by London Anarchist students and successfully executed. The march had finished 10 minutes from the conservative party offices. Word went round amongst some of the demonstrators to make their way to the Tory and Lib-Dem offices while most people where heading that way to get transport. The students outside the building then had to make a conscious effort to choose to remain there. The crowd had not been co-opted by the Anarchists. If anyone was co-opted, it was the Anarchists being co-opted by the students. The crowd rallied to call. While maybe not quite the storming of the Winter Palace it was still a great inspiration to those who are sick of us living on our knees. (little joke here- you should get on your knees for someone you love- and certainly do not love our government and bosses).
The NUS condemned the action of the demonstrators as soon as they happened. They condemned the action not just because of its lawlessness and but also because of their subservient nature. The leadership of the NUS does not want wider links to be made to other government cuts. They think university students should be considered a special case. They see themselves and other students as middle class people who can appeal to government’s shared middle class identity. They are out of kilter with a vast number of students who have working class identities.
What would the NUS leadership consider a success in the campaign against proposed government changes? The government to look at the figurers again, so as to make some minor adjustments. Better still for the NUS would be the new system of fee’s only being payable for new students. Just like many a trade union allows new workers to be employed on contracts that give the new workers poorer conditions or ruminations. The history of the NUS is about as woeful as can be imagined. Many of the people attending the demonstration are youngsters from pre-university age. Does the NUS seek to organise the future users? Of course not. Their interests may conflict with those of present students. The NUS wants to see its members as individuals with atomised interests not part of a wider society. This seems more than a bit cheeky as they want wider society to pay for their education. The wider working class doesn’t mind paying for education if it is provided reasonably broadly and working class kids a chance to improve themselves.
The last thing that appears to be on the mind of NUS leadership is defending the students arrested on that day, those students are representative of those who wish to rise up against the government attacks on our standards of living. The only interests the NUS leadership represent is their own, they have been shown to hold their membership in content and seem to have little regard for them when facing the adversity of having a criminal record.
The leadership of NUS is only interested of appearing to go through the motions, god forbid anyone take protest seriously. Their middle class sensibility views militant action as uncouth. Mr Porter has proposed more lobbying and regards the behaviour on the 10th November as something that will undermine his ability to have a quite discussion over a glass of port with Tory ministers. Any concessions will still turn university fees into a massive milestone to any working class and many class middle people who attempt to go to university.
The BBC made the ridiculous accusation to the student’s president of University of London of having no right to be at the demonstration as she is not a student, not a charge the BBC have levelled at Aaron Porter. This line of questioning was only directed at those who supported unlawful actions. The BBC and leading newspapers partially the Sun, Mail and Telegraph have been at pains to give the impression that it was not students who were motivated for confrontation but the usual suspects. The witch hunt which has been called for by the likes of Boris Johnson has had energetic support from such reactionary toilet paper producers. The campaign to grass working class heroes has not met with complete success as many bogus identifications have been sent to the narks of our establishment. We can expect no impartiality from the likes of these lickspittles.
The most disappointing aspect of the day for partisans of the working class has been the amount of arrests. While much pluck was shown by the young, there was a far degree of naivety was on display.
It is a time for the lessons of past to passed onto a new generation.
*It was depressing to see Tory party workers photographing and filming protestors who had failed to masked-up. It was always found back in the nineties effective to explain calmly that we and our friends did not give permission to have photo’s taken; And that not respecting our wishes would at a minimum lead to a broken camera. The BBC seemed to think they deserved special licence – we explained this was not the case.
*Hoods came into fashion as CCTV came into fashion.
*Just like the Police we chose to dress the same as one another.
*Those folk who stand around, they also give good service to the cause, not everybody is the sort who can get ‘stuck in’. But they need to hide the combative folk and not give sucker to the grasses who only seek respectability.
Rebellion and defiance will never be respectable for such folk, they accept the ruling class ideology usually through having an uncritical nature.
Most NUS branches are no more than drinking clubs for frat boy and girl boorish sports team member’s and a training ground for those who see a role for themselves in middle management. Many SU’s even ban the discussion of politics at their meeting. While almost all the leaders of NUS see themselves as our potential ruling class. One year Jack Straw is enjoying a big joint as NUS president and then in government he is criminalising huge swaths of the population and dumping them in prison. There has been a move by the NUS leadership to keep parents out of the campaign against the government cuts, such professionals are trying to keep people out that will have knowledge of how such organisations are run, so they can maintain their control and manage protest for their own careerist ends.
Demonstrators need to be careful not to up the ante in unwise fashion. We also have a duty of care to the wider public. That is why we could claim with pride when the police accused May Day demonstrators of endangering the public that no workers got hurt when shops got done over on the May Day events. While we can show how the police brutality not only ups the ante but kills people going home from work and going to work on the tube. The lad who through the fire extinguisher from the roof was being rather silly and his comrades should have prevented him from doing it. The crowd did call on the occupiers to stop throwing things and they did stop. This shows how the occupiers where not about acting wily-nilly without regard to the concerns of those who showed solidarity with their actions.
Revolutionaries should not let themselves me held back by the passive but they should show due regard to those they seek to appeal to. This is also one of the important reasons that protestors who wish to be combative need to have friends around them that they can trust, in a crisis only the people than have a personal bond will generally look out for you while there is chaos around them. This is best way of preventing yourself from doing anything silly, getting arrested or badly hurt.
*Then there are the silly little bits of know how- like kicking the windows in at the corners not the middle.
*Having clothing that does not mark you out but can be turned into a disguise later is handy.
* Or how the police when trying to ‘kettle’ a demonstration walk into people’s body space so they instinctively move back, people need to show the self awareness and resist this behaviour of the police.
* A police shield can be a two-way tool- and is a very amusing way of giving someone a bad day.
Fruit Cakes and Ketamine
What I would have loved to have seen is a five day rave with every fruit cake in London out of head on ketamine or poison of choice all in the way of the police like a sea of zombies, so the police could not give the Tories back the building. As Jasper Carrot pointed out many years ago- they all used to hang around with the lefties because they had the best grass.
Students will not learn such lesson from their lecturers. Universities and schools are to teach you how to be a productive exploitable unit with just enough thinking power to make more profits for the ruling class. It is not to teach you how to over throw the masters. That does not mean we cannot take lessons and reapply them to a different agenda. Students you will not read the answers you need in the sort of academic books that university consider suitable to for referencing, unless your studying riot control maybe...
Your Lecturers are not qualified to teach you to protest.
When those who critise the ‘violence’ and to be honest there was very little, the reply is, far more is deserved for the Tory party and the police. We will always attempt to get away with what we can if we see it as not counter-productive to our cause. It is generally the nature of British people not to make a fuss and a scene. The government will keep pushing back our privileges and that is all our ‘rights’ are if we are unprepared to defend them.
When the TUC say we need to be more like France or Greece all they mean is safe meaningless demos and strikes that go through the motions. What distinguishes those combative proud working classes from us in the UK is that they know it means occupations and not letting the police push you around with a wave of their hand or stick.
Let’s face it being prepared to stand up for ourselves collectively and refusing to be pushed around is the only language they will only ever listen to. Bullies and thieves do not back down after some meek pleading. The meek will inherit nothing. They will drive us to soup kitchens and begging if they the government can get away with it.