Searching for blog posts tagged with 'apathy'

troll proximity alert! do not engage!

Feb

19

One of the pitfalls of getting involved in anything is that there are always people who will gleefully tell you why you're wasting your time. There exists an entire culture of do-nothings who seemingly have nothing better to do than throw stones at people with the initiative to try to make a difference. Protesting against war? Pah! Why waste your time? Fighting sexism? We've got equality now, shut your gob! Staging a demonstration? Just be quiet and don't make me think too hard!

You would think that cuts to something as vital as education would have everyone up in arms. After all, we just spent how many billions bailing out banks, and the government is now telling us there's no money? The VC and the rest of VCEG make six-figure salaries, and they're telling us that Sussex has a deficit so we have to sack people? Something stinks here. Anyone with half a brain can figure out that the rhetoric being spouted doesn't match up with what's going on beneath it. Despite that, there is an alarmingly large contingent of people who either don't seem to care or actually find it distasteful to try to do something about it.

The argument comes in many forms and uses many different fallacies, but the jist of it is always the same: why can't you just do what you're told? An authority figure (usually male, usually white, inevitably rich) has told us how things have to be, so why can't we just quietly accept it and go about our business? After all, the rich, white, and powerful always know what's best, don't they?

What all this transparent trolling boils down to is one thing: it is much, MUCH easier and less intimidating to slag off your fellow students than it is to stand up to people with money and power. It's much, MUCH easier to just regurgitate what you've been told by your benevolent leaders than it is to question anything, and it's much, MUCH easier to just shout, "Shut up!" at people than it is to listen to what they have to say.

I've got no time or patience for thoughtless authoritarian kowtowing. If you believe everything you're told by Michael Farthing or Gordon Brown or Peter Mandelson, fine. If you can't be arsed to look any deeper than the surface of the issue, fine. But don't pretend you have some kind of intellectual high ground because of it. And if you start picking at every little detail of, say, a press release or a campaign newsletter, you'd bloody well better be picking at every little detail of what Michael Farthing is saying too.

Apathy and laziness are not noble qualities, and neither is ignorance. Picking fights with other students because you're too scared or lazy to pick them with more powerful people does not make you some kind of brilliant counter-revolutionary. It makes you a coward. Citing your housemate or your friend or your mum as your source in any discussion (unless that person is an expert) is pathetically weak. Imagine trying to cite your grandparents in a term paper. Your tutors would never stand for it, and I'm not going to either.

I will not engage with people who lack basic argumentative skills. I will not discuss complex issues with people whose only interest is in derailing a conversation. I will not respect people who patronise and condescend, and I will not waste my valuable time educating someone who doesn't want to learn. If you want to stick your head in the sand, go right ahead. But don't be surprised if I kick you in the ass.

EGM, occupation, strike

Mar

17

Emergency General Meeting of the Students’ Union at Sussex University tomorrow for a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the Vice Chancellor’s Executive Group. It’s at 2pm in Mandela Hall. Why vote no confidence in the university management? Three very good reasons:

  • blatant mismanagement and failure to adequately consult with staff
  • fabricating a hostage situation to bring in riot police and then lying to the high court about the circumstances of that situation to obtain an injunction against non-violent protest
  • summary suspensions of six students with no disciplinary procedure whatsoever, abusing a statute that is meant to be used for violent crime

Even if you think the cuts are ‘inevitable’ and actually believe the rationale the management has presented, their behaviour over the last two weeks has been absolutely unacceptable.

You might have received an email from Pro Vice Chancellor Chris Marlin telling you to go to lectures on Thursday, despite the fact that it’s very possible your lecturer is on strike. This is a clear attempt to try to drive a wedge between students and their tutors. Additionally, the ‘only 6 people to a picket line’ statement is false; it is recommended to only have six, but that is not a rule. Do not let management lie to you.

The situation here at Sussex is reaching a critical point. University Senate meets tomorrow to discuss these proposals. Email Senate to encourage them to vote these proposals down. These proposals are poorly researched, and the Equality Impact Assessments the University is required by law to carry out are insufficient and contain no data. This is bad management.

We have no confidence in VCEG, and we want them to resign.

victories

Mar

19

This week has been amazing. We've struck a few key blows against management and against the government's plans to eviscerate education.

  • Leeds University has won against the threat of several hundred compulsory redundancies
  • Students at Aberdeen University stormed the management building and staged a sit-in
  • Sussex University went on strike for a day, with immense support from students and other workers
  • Sussex University also saw, after a week-long occupation and intense pressure, the full reinstatement of the "Sussex Six"
  • The Sussex University Students' Union passed a motion of "no confidence" in the Vice Chancellor's Executive Group (VCEG)

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