Roscoe’s back, baby!
Introducing… The Really Open Occupation!
Today the Roscoe building was re-occupied by a group of students from the various student anti-cuts campaigns. At 8pm, the students, after attending a public lecture in Roscoe Theatre A, refused to leave the building, declaring the building occupied.
Roughly thirty individuals, most of whom are members of Manchester Autonomous Students, intend to stay within occupation until at least the 26th of March. The occupation intends to stand against the coalition government and the unnecessary and ideological social cuts they have imposed.
We would like to make our purposes for being in the building clear. We are here not to disrupt other students, and not to sit about getting pissed and high, but to show that we feel incredibly strongly about the political situation thrust upon the people of this country, as well as the terrible conditions millions face around the world.
The occupation has multiple purposes and is a safe space for people to organise against the cuts, both to higher education and society at large. However, the five main aims we have are as follows:
– To act as an organising space for all aspects of the anti-cuts movement.
– To build for the nationwide demonstration on the 26th of March.
– To express solidarity with the international protests.
– To offer a month’s alternative education in the form of free lectures and seminars within the Roscoe building.
– To put pressure on university management.
As well as going in with a list of demands (which we will release shortly), we will be using the space to organise within the building to open us up to the wider anti-cuts movement and provide us with a base from which to plan events, spread the word about the current political situation and further cohesive communication within the movement.
The demonstration on the 26th March has been called by the TUC and promises to be the biggest protest regarding cuts yet. Manchester should be sending a considerable number of people down to London for this, and also hosting its own demonstration for those people unable to travel to London. At the last occupation we raised about £4,500 in funds and send several coachloads of students to the tuition fees protest on the 9th of December. This time we can be more successful with better outreach into the community.
In expressing solidarity with the Middle Eastern protests we show that we are not solely concerned with the political situation in this country. We look to publicise the demonstrations regarding Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and all other countries oppressed by dictatorial regimes, as well as giving what actual support we can.
To concentrate a little more on the issue of tuition fees and education as a privilege rather than a right, we plan to set up a free school within the occupation to offer an alternative education through the medium of lectures on a range of subjects as well as seminars delivered by PhD students, university lecturers and other guest speakers. At the last occupation lectures were delivered on a range of topics by speakers from the Guardian to the University of Manchester history department.
This time the occupation would also like to make clear a definitive set of principles, through which we hope to make the occupation as enjoyable and productive a space as we possibly can.
The occupation is a non-hierarchical space:
– Based on mutual respect – be safe.
– Opposing oppressive and domineering behaviour – always challenge it.
– Encouraging participation and actively empowering people.
The Roscoe Occupation – The Really Open Occupation
Summary of the second day.
Yesterday was our second day in occupation and we spent the majority of the day getting ourselves organised for the next few weeks. Some people went around the campus flyering and the welcome desk was expertly staffed all day. We also spoke to as many lecturers as we could, and received a fair amount of support, with offers from a few to speak at our month of alternative education.
A few events we arranged include an open mic night, today from 4pm onwards in Theatre A, and a critical discussion on how the occupation should address the issue of approaching management regarding fees and cuts. That’ll take place at 5pm in Roscoe Theatre B.
We’ll also have a talk entitled “Reimagining Education” at 5pm this Sunday in Theatre B, the first in a series of talks put on by members of the occupation. Then on Thursday we’re going to host a film night put on by Shoot! – this time they’ll be showing The Dark Knight, and following it with a discussion group which will assess the relevance and resonance of the film on the War on Terror, torture, and policing the public sphere.
Late last night, management showed up on the premises, and after savagely tearing down our Simone de Beauvoir quotes, told us that the doors would be locked overnight. We tried to have a chat, but the director of estates had had a bad day and was rather grumpy… Never mind! We got to work on flyer design and contacted as many societies as we could.
Get the word out about tonight’s open mic night – and we hope to see as many of you as possible over the weekend!