Posts Tagged ‘condem’

Getting used to another situation and a new office. People are tired, annoyed and dealing with a lot of pressure while deciding how to get this new thing moving. We have all discussed the many things we are hoping to do from the office and know where we are going with it but as people are still reporting the same old tired behaviour from students on campus, it seems a daunting task. There are still parties going on till 7 in the morning that are really loud. This is fair enough but it is not fair enough when you have a lecture then next day. There are a lot of complaints that seem to be pushing out into the community but not really going where they should. People not really realising that they have a voice and it should be listened to.

The student voice was talked about yesterday morning but it seems to have been diluted. We think this is because the political voice everywhere is largely muted. People in Britain don’t complain, well, except stupid fascists and no-one cares what they think. It is a tradition and almost an identity that the British that are too polite to complain about anything. This just seems like an invitation for people to deliver bad service, not care and still get paid. This is just not acceptable, people have a right and a duty to complain if they are being treated unfairly. People have a right and a duty to oppose oppressive government and this right and duty doesn’t change, whatever age you are.

The apathy that every anti-cuts movement is dealing with, we feel has come from a generation of people getting just enough to not want to complain about the awful conditions people work in and the gradual decrease in rights protection. The Labour party’s gradual creeping death seems to have largely worked and some of the initiatives they brought in were of value but, it was at a cost it would seem. The cost is that people don’t feel that complaining will make anything better. People feel that once they have enough to live, to an almost acceptable level, then if they complain they will lose the little they have. The working conditions in Britain are some of the worst in Western Europe and nothing has been said because people don’t complain. People are really not going to keep asking until they get a satisfactory lifestyle.

Alicia from the socialist party last night was talking about the bread and roses strike, where protestors, largely women protestors, won their demands to get their wage back and after they had won that, carried on to demand a pay increase and fewer hours for the workers. This should serve as an inspiration to people that not only is it possible to win but at the same time, every person should get involved and demand that not only they but everyone in society has a decent lifestyle, an opportunity to work in fair conditions and equality.


The student voice? What exactly is the student voice? How do we go about talking through it? Do the students even want someone to talk on their behalf? Given the chance what would they change? Would it all be self interest or would genuinely inspirational ideas come out of it? These are all questions we are considering today. After a really great rally, it became apparent that people here felt their voice would not be heard no matter what they did really. Even if it was heard, it would be ignored and this is not the attitude of a free society, surely?

What difference can really be made? Well, locally there are student elections, you can vote for the person that best represents you and your interests but is there really any accountability? Can we be expected to believe that once the deputy Prime Minister got in on lies, people in much lower positions could do the same? If the second highest office in the country can be obtained through deceit and broken campaign promises, then surely this can be the case throughout all of society? We would like to think not but at the same time, the student voice seems to be somewhat subdued. In larger institutions, you can barely walk a foot without a society, an event, a charity, a nightclub, a campaign or an awareness issue being raised in a poster. Yet, there are scarce places in the university that it is ‘acceptable’ to put posters, when you do obtain funding for posters legally, they are removed without consent or compensation, which surely can’t be right? If you are expected to believe you are part of the institution and one that matters and there is an issue that bothers you, shouldn’t there be a place where you can voice this concern to see if your fellow students agree? Apparently not but that is what we are trying to address. We want you to consider ideas of how to get everyone on campus to actually hear something you are saying, short of just using our fancy new megaphone.

We also want to start acting like a student voice. If there is an issue that concerns you, literally any issue, then feel free to drop in and let us know what that issue is. If it is something that concerns the students, then as students, we would like to know about it and if there is anything we can do about it. There is going to be a mass campaign of fun on the campus, that will hopefully spread throughout the campus. This should at least get people who wouldn’t normally stay on campus involved and doing something with each other as we have also heard complaints of there not being enough to do for off campus students.

The point of all this being, if there is something you want to arrange, if there is something you want to talk about, come up to the new office and have a word with us. We will do what we can to encourage the student voice again.

Okay, so, we are in the office and are starting to organise what is next, which is great. There are plans, many plans but most of those rely on people getting more involved than they have been in the past. There is little point running an anti-cuts campaign if we are not going to do it properly. The point of all of the campaign and our part in it, is to get the student body politicised so they can play an active part in their future and to ensure that the student experience at Trinity is not affected by the Tory cuts.

So, what is the student experience? Seriously, what is the student experience, we have asked this question and everyone seems to have a different idea about it. The general gist seems to be, the students are barely aware there is one but are largely anaesthetised with boredom or beer, the tutors seem to think it is something along the lines of becoming active thinkers in society, while getting involved in things that are going on around them and management seem to think it has something to do with buildings and deadlines.

We think that the student experience should be everything everyone expects it to be when they first arrive at Trinity. Whether that is active societies to get involved in, sports teams and clubs, a vibrant campus you don’t spend your first year counting down the minutes until you never have to set foot on it again except for lectures and some facilities that meet the needs of everyone that want to take a part in anything, within reason. This seems pretty simple, though really costly and that seems to be the problem, everything has a price tag on it and we don’t like it. If you want to run a society, there are rules about how much money you take, how many people you have to have, what facilities are available and things like that. The main facilities on campus are always busy and no t really open to student use but it is OUR campus isn’t it?

So, we are suggesting that actually, there should be so many activities that they cannot not book us in as we will just flood the campus either way. There are stories from everyone about the shenanigans of their uni days being filled with really hilarious things that sound unreasonable but may have happened and that should be the case for us too. Everyone should feel that they can have a well funded society, that is built around them actually getting to do things but there is very little money going into the union and even less coming from it. By the union we don’t mean LTU, we mean NUS. They don’t send any money here, for anything, they are not even providing the means to support their own initiatives but they are expecting a hell of a lot of student satisfaction forms with marketable information on them. So, what are the NUS for? Well, they are an easy Labour seat for anyone that runs it and they are a discount store card for stores that are mostly owned by tax dodgers and the banks that caused this problem in the first place. Cahoots is an awesome word, don’t know what made me think of that….

There is plenty going on today, coach sign ups, people coming for a visit, new plans for awesome stuff and so much more. People are waking up now and supposed to be tidying up, whether that happens or not, we will have to see. As another day starts, the long negotiation begins for yet another “what is next for the occupation” period, which is deeply annoying as far activists, doing things sounds like a lot of work and we are tired. In a happy productive way but still, tired, moving, generally considering the big picture, not really on the cards.

We have been so focused on the bigger political picture of late, it is hard to reign it back in and remember, there are things which are close to home which really need attention. Also, it is all very well considering the big picture of political ideology but put simply, when you have a meeting considering the political ideologies of the nature of tory attacks on the poor, very little else actually gets said. It is important to fight every cut we can but at the end of the day, what is going to yield more positive results, getting people involved and working to oppose these cuts together or deciding which tory cut is the worst and should be opposed? There are many levels to this and if there is anything that we feel people should take from this troubling time, it should be that if you ignore politics too much, people with very grey suits and blue ties will shaft you when you are not looking.

There has been a lot of talk of whether the Trinity student is apathetic because of TV, the internet, social disillusionment, bad parenting, good parenting, generational attitude, booze, lack of interaction, hyperactivity, the moral and social degradation of society or something else and the answer seems to be “yes”! It is really easy to blame the student but actually, when you consider most of those things on there they are things which society is as to blame for. It is certainly students fault they are not getting involved with a wider movement happening all around them, it is just bizarre that a student can see national demo’s, threat of strike action, national standstill talked about and even right wing reactionary newspapers talking about the biggest financial crisis this generation has ever seen, including the banking crisis with that hilarious bank bailout punchline, then yeah, that is pretty hard to say “it’s societies fault” but we did let it happen.

It seems to have reached the point where some students are driving themselves crazy with worry and others have opted for the denial option, which is lovely for them but at the same time, when it hits we are all in trouble. Head in the sand or not. So, how do you get these more apathetic students to pay attention? Well, the ones that are saying “you know what? If the tories say I need to go tens of thousands into debt before my life starts kind of deserve it, so let them get on with it. A life of diddling the maid, illicit liaisons with someone they will only ever refer to as “the staff” and sherry with the corgies and whatnot awaits. Except it doesn’t really does it? The chances are at best they are middle class and they are being hit by this as well. So, unless daddy is a banker or a cabinet minister, this is going to hit you hard, if you don’t want to see that, then great. Have a happy life but please, when you can’t afford a house when you leave uni, don’t complain to us as we will be apathetic to your whining. Karma.

The point of this somewhat obfuscated rant is that there are people who care, people who don’t, people who know what is going on and those that don’t but WE are in this together and WE need to work to at least make people realise the choices they are making. It is easy to achieve this by shouting, ranting, screaming, protesting, political strategising but realistically, that is only going to reach some of society, so we are working on alternative methods to at least get people the chance they deserve to combat these cuts or at the least be able to plan what is going to happen to them in the next couple of years. It is not even as much about blame as it sounds from this rant, it is just frustration, we know what is coming and are worried, not just for us but for them too. We literally do face a dangerous and turbulent time and with nearly all the unions talking of national action, dispute, direct action, civil disobedience and beyond, people better at least be able to take out their own bin, drive their own trains and have a favourite looting brick, cause that is what is coming if there is not significant movement between now and the end of the year. It is the time of the protest again and it is never pretty, just look at France, Greece, Germany, Tunisia, Gaza and everyone else who is on their feet at the minute.

We are still privileged compared to many places in the world at the moment but that is no reason to remain feeling we are comfortable, the students responsible for Gaza Youth Break Out (GYBO)!/pages/Gaza-Youth-Breaks-Out-GYBO/118914244840679 are some of the bravest and most inspiring people in the world. If you can’t support us, then please, consider what you are willing to do for your rights, read their manifesto and send them some support because they need it more than we do and honestly, they need it.

Please also have a look at our amazing friend’s sites: Is one of our new friends, check out her blog. – awesome artist who designed a poster for the occupation and is literally one of the nicest people on the planet! We love Nate Bear! He also resulted in Tanis being referred to forever as Scarfy

What an amazing day for Leeds Trinity Students Against Cuts and everyone involved in the anti cuts movement. Leeds Trinity witnessed its first ever student protest today on campus. Around 70 people including tutors, staff and students gathered at the front of reception to rally against the cuts. There were several speakers and the mood was set by some great chants which could be heard, we are reliably informed by the ever wonderful Laura Miles (UCU national exec), from the car park at the back of the uni. We even managed to wake some people up in halls, which serves as a lesson to us, the next time we have a rally, we will have to allow for the student lifestyle and start in the late afternoon.

Before the speakers got started Iain Dalton lead the rally off to some of the chants, which really seemed to get people going and showed exactly how much noise 70 people can make when they are angry, this started to get some interest from people in the crowd and even drew a few people in, who seemed shocked to see a protest going on at all. The mood was really lifted by this and as we all started in high spirits and mutual disgust at the cuts.

Ian Pattison from Leeds University occupation and several other organisations was the first speaker and talked about his experience with the build up to the student movement and the difficulties we face. The speech was really inspiring and offered some interesting insights into how to move forward the campaign and where we should be looking to get some of the money the banks lost back from. Ian is a seasoned speaker now and following him is never easy but the overall interest was really piqued by the information and some of the more disturbing facts and figures.

Diane Maguire (secretary of Leeds Trinity UCU branch) was next to speak and she gave an emotionally charged account of the pride the staff had in the student protestors on and off campus. While looking into how the cuts are going to be targeting the poor and the students of Leeds Trinity but also the staff and how we are going to need to work together to make sure we are all heard and represented after years of being ignored and having no real voice. Diane is a strong supporter of everything fair, just and wonderful and without her help, this campaign would certainly not have the love and morale it does now.

Iain Dalton spoke as a representative of Youth Fight For Jobs and Education, which LTSAC are affiliating with as we speak bringing some major union support in conjunction with the amazing support we have had from UCU and Unison thus far. This will give us much needed support and hopefully more credibility than we already have. Iain discussed some of the issues facing young workers and the history of the struggles of young workers under a tory government. The speech itself was great and served to remind us that all this has happened before and we beat it then too. If anything, it seemed while Iain was talking, that people were reminded of the struggles young workers faced and started to associate them directly with the struggles now. This is vitally important as people seem to have dissociated what is happening and what has happened.

Following the three great speakers, one of LTSAC (Andy Smith) gave a speech about what is happening at Trinity and the way we feel we should combat the cuts locally and nationally. The speech was focused largely around the lack of fairness in society and offering some of the alternatives that we feel the government should be considering. With £100bn in unclaimed tax a year and a reduction in the bank levy, we are not short of options, especially with Osborne ducking £1.6m a year in tax. The student voice was also compared to the voice of people in society, for too long people have seemingly felt their voice would not make a difference, that their choice did not matter and this is no longer an attitude which is going to help society. If people are not going to help, then there is something wrong, especially when they do not even help themselves.

The biggest point of the rally and the other point Andy discussed was that of working together. There are a number of relationships which have been sadly lacking in an institution that prides itself on their existence which sorely need repairing. The tutors at Trinity are amazing and most of the reason we are here, if they are cut or their lives made so unworkable, they are miserable, then Trinity for us is dead before things like closure can even be discussed. There is no Trinity without every member of staff and every student current and former. Trinity is not a pile of bricks with some money passing through it, it is a place of ideas with people passing through it. We need everyone to work together to keep this idea alive and help mould the future of it. Put simply, we need everyone to oppose the cuts with us, with the unions, with Youth Fight For Jobs and Education, with the staff and with the other movements who require our support. Please come to the occupation for information, a chat and a coffee and let us help you have your voice heard.

Firstly, from 11.30 am yesterday we had no internet until 10.30 am today, so sorry for no blog updates! This caused us many a problem as we rely heavily on internet access for keeping everyone updated and researching various things. To keep ourselves sane we had many games of catch with the Leeds Trinity stress ball, including silent ones into the late hours of the night!

This morning we had a meeting with Principal Freda Bridge and Vice Principal Mark Shields which involved presenting our amended demands. The meeting was interesting in terms of their stance on the campaign, the cuts and the position the institution finds itself in now and in the future. A full report will be posted later outlining how that went.

Tension is high as we get closer to the time where renovations are planned for the room we are currently occupying. However, our plans are not set as to how we will approach this, more to come on that one.

Today there has been a general report on BBC1 about the national anti-cuts campaign, in which our banners were featured, bit of a moral boost and good promotion. We will try to find a link for the report and put it up for you all to see.

The main course of the day will involve leafleting to advertise the rally on Thursday, 1pm outside main reception and getting more signatures for the Save Trinity petition. With people dotted around in lectures etc. it will be a busy day.
The official nature of the campaign was called into question today, which really shows what the people in charge think of students opinions in this matter. The world of the academic should have very little to do with managers and as students, we are the primary stakeholders in any university. If we are not to be consulted, then maybe that is an issue which needs to be addressed. There are so many ways you can get involved. There is a petition being signed by everyone who supports what we are doing. There is the rally and people getting ready for all the other actions being carried out. There is now a sign-up sheet for the 29th of January in Manchester which we, with LTU are asking for a £5 donation towards costs. Come and see us for information on that.

Back to it this morning, with a staff meeting being held in the room today, we are tidying like crazy after a day of sticky wall men, crisps, sugar overload, snacks, messing about and generally being lazy. Even though it was a day off, we still managed to churn out three articles from the occupation for newspapers and organised the day today. Our days off are filled with chilling out but still getting the message across. We also planned a good portion of the coming week which should be an exciting one to say the least, with a visit to the principal planned for tomorrow; we should start seeing some action soon.

Politically speaking it’s an interesting time; Clegg is desperately trying to pull his party back together after decimating their ratings in the poll. He is using such weak tactics though, we are wondering if he sold his spine to the same gold toothed street merchant that Aaron Porter went to and neither one of them has the nuts to go and ask for it back. Cameron is facing some heat from Europe, which is interesting because his party want nothing to do with Europe except super right leaders from countries who think that banning a piece of clothing is going to stop people hating them. Sorry Nicolas you right wing nut job, you commission a pile of weapons to blow up the middle east while bringing in decimating attacks on your peoples civil liberties, people are pretty much going to assume you suck. Also Nicolas, it’s not your people that everyone hates, it’s you.

We love the French protestors. In many ways it’s the protests in France which really kicked the British into being so active. Speaking to an amazingly lovely journalist (they exist and are lovely!) at the community meeting on Saturday we were trying to decide exactly what had caused the massive actions and huge surge in students involvement following the iPod generation and there is a little bit of me that thinks it’s that old Norman/ Saxon, six nations rivalry kicking in and not wanting to be outdone by French protestors. It is interesting though; the British have a culture of not complaining which really needs to change. When we get cold soup we don’t say anything, whereas our Continental neighbours would literally scream at the waiter and storm the kitchen demanding recompense. Is this culture maybe responsible for the fact that the French protests were brought about by a civil liberty being removed that we were already much higher than them? The pension age they were protesting passed here years ago! Are we just used to getting screwed and thinking there is nothing we can do?

At the community meeting the fear of protesting of putting your hand up and demanding your rights came up. The young have long been the first to question a system as they have usually had much less time to be oppressed by it but seriously, do we just take things and assume there is nothing to be done because “you can’t fight the man”? Newsflash, you can fight the man and win, as it is us that gives the man his power and we can take it back. It doesn’t matter whether the man is a prime minister or a principal, they are there to serve the stakeholders and the stakeholders are the subjects of a nation of the students in these examples. The only people cheated by failure to protest are the people whose rights are being violated by people who assume they have the right to rule and its pathetic, if you remove participation in their system, they are nothing, less than nothing, they are servants of no-one with zero power and they don’t even have the future of the people they have annoyed as they waste their lives trying to achieve governance over people. The only way this is not a waste is if they serve the stakeholders honestly and with integrity, so long as people are willing to fight to maintain their rights as citizens of whichever structure they are involved in.

Please also have a look at our amazing friend’s sites: Is one of our new friends, check out her blog. – awesome artist who designed a poster for the occupation and is literally one of the nicest people on the planet! We love Nate Bear! He also resulted in Tanis being referred to forever as Scarfy