Strathclyde University has been occupied, following a
demonstration of about eighty students. The demonstration went around campus
before taking the decision to occupy the finance office in one of the main
parts of the University. Security was initially very heavy handed and there
were a few scuffles as this proceeded but things have now calmed down. The
students and security have come to an amicable arrangement, whilst negotiations
have begun with the Principal.
Over the weekend, from the 9th to the 11th of January, the
International Marxist Tendency organised the 5th Northern European
Winter School in Berlin. The number of comrades and IMT sections
participating was much greater in comparison to previous years. Around
20 to 40 comrades attended the Winter Schools in past years. That was
already a success, but this year we had 150 comrades and sympathisers
from Germany, Poland, Russia, Hungary, Slovakia, Serbia, Switzerland,
Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Britain, France, Italy and Austria coming to
a city with a great revolutionary history and tradition. We also had
guests and speakers from Pakistan, Venezuela, Brazil, Canada and the
United States. The attendance clearly exceeded our expectations and put
a big question mark over the name "Northern European Winter School".
last wrote to you all in the early hours of Tuesday evening when the members
of the Cambridge student occupation were feeling particularly low and
optimism was almost non-existent.On Wednesday morning, however, after a good night's sleep and a couple of
rousing speeches from the Marxists within the movement, hopes were rejuvenated,
and optimism was reinstalled. This was partly due to hearing that Sussex Uni
had managed to get all their demands met after a week of occupation. This made
us realise that we could not leave after only 5 days, and that we must wait
longer and make harsher demands from the University.
The newest University in London, London Metropolitan, is in trouble. Earlier
this week, a crowd of over 100 disgruntled teachers, students and staff
gathered outside the Holloway campus to protest against cuts of up to 500 jobs.
It seems the cuts are the result of bad book keeping by management that led to
years of over-reporting of student completion rates to the Met's funding body
HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England). Now HEFCE is demanding a
repayment of £38 billion and, as usual, the tops intend to produce the bulk of
it in the form of staff cuts.
I'm writing this inside the Cambridge University Law Faculty at 1am on Wednesday
28th January, after approximately 100 hours of occupation. At the time
of entering the building (last Friday evening) I believe we were the 16th
student university to have been occupied in protest of the Gaza situation.
I have been active in the occupation over the last four days,intervening
in every meeting and trying to ensure that we follow a genuinely Marxist
method in our attempt to have our demands met.