Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A new 'European 1968'?

The wave of student occupations in Britain in solidarity with the Palestinian people after Israel's massacres in Gaza is unprecedented. Already, yesterday's excellent Student special of Socialist Worker is outdated, as last night further occupations took place, including at Cambridge, an occupation which forced the BBC to finally report that 'similar occupations were staged at other UK universities' as well.

Even though the BBC and British Govt are trying to ignore what is happening, coming after the events in Greece, French premier Sarkozy has already warned his fellow rulers of the dangers of a new 'European 1968'. What began at SOAS, has since spread to the LSE, Essex, Kings College London, Warwick, Birmingham, etc etc. Some of these occupations have already won, and as I write the current state of play is this:

Soas (day 2 victory), LSE (day 7 victory), Essex (day 2 victory), Birmingham(day 1 police eviction), Oxford (day 1 victory), King's (day 4), Sussex (day 4), Warwick (day 3), Newcastle (day 2), Manchester Met (day 2), Leeds (day 2), Kingston (day 1), Manchester (day 1), Salford (day 1), Bristol (day 1), Nottingham (day 1), Cambridge (day 1).

The size and scale of these British occupations are uneven, and we are certainly not anything like the levels of Greece or 1968 yet, but they help give the lie to the continuing myth about 'student apathy'. Solidarity with the occupations! Solidarity with Palestine!

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At 4:24 pm, Blogger John Angliss said...

I was involved in the SOAS occupation and I've just visited the Cambridge one: the media angle is fantastic there. Apparently you need a 5-person media team to get the British media interested in anything! Well done and solidarity to all the occupations for Gaza!

At 11:41 pm, Blogger DJN said...

This is fantastic news. It may not be Greece but it is at least creating an experience that can be generalized and carried out again, perhaps on a larger Greek or French scale.

I'm curious, are campus Stop the War groups central to these occupations?

Here in Canada we are having a hell of a time putting together any sort of anti-capitalist or even anti-war network that goes beyond three or four campuses. There are about four functioning campus anti-war groups in the entire country...

At 12:13 pm, Blogger Solomon's Mindfield said...

Thanks for this Snowball whoever you are :-)

Did you see we occupied the BBC last night and got on Newsnight and BBC 24.


See you, or not since i dont know who you are, round!

At 4:59 pm, Blogger Snowball said...

John - cheers.

Doug - yeah where there are strong/existing stop the war groups there have tended to be occupations. But Britain has nothing like 'the agitator' yet to help coordinate action once it has happened - we could have done with something like that!

Clare - well we did meet last year, but clearly I didn't leave that lasting an impression... But anyway congrats on the stuff at SOAS - it has been great and well done for storming the BBC. We have a protest outside the BBC centre in Leeds tomorrow night - whether we try and occupy who knows...

At 6:36 pm, Blogger DJN said...

Why not? I suppose you already have the weekly SW which keeps students in the loop. We've got a three-week/monthly paper that is only 12 pages so we've had to launch the Agitator to give better coverage of student politics. We're also trying to use it to establish a readership beyond where are members are hopefully grow out of that. You know, that whole paper as organizer thing.


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