Searching for blog posts tagged with 'demonstration'

elitism at its worst

Nov

26

100 people at Sussex are going to lose their jobs. 40% of the Informatics Department is being cut, and 5 people in English. Vice Chancellor Michael Farthing makes a quarter of a million pounds.

This situation is typical of big-business thinking, which has insidiously crept into higher education and is trying to turn universities into businesses. People like Michael Farthing don't understand the value of education for its own sake, the importance of investing long-term in a population that can think critically. All they understand is money. They want more of it for themselves, and they have no scruples about who they have to fire to get it. If the VC really cared about the dire state of Sussex's finances, he'd volunteer for a salary cut himself. But no. As usual, the people at the top continue to rake in fat paychecks while the people beneath them lose their jobs.

This is unacceptable. The government, easily prostituted as it is, bails out banks and failing businesses and passes the loss onto us, students, ordinary people who don't have the benefit of a prestigious job with a bloated salary. They eviscerate funding for education and hand the money over to the people who caused the recession, people who will do this again and again and again because they have seen no consequences for their greed and incompetence. MPs abuse their expense accounts and try to justify their greed and avarice. It's outrageous.

There is a protest today at 1pm in Library Square. We will be marching to Sussex House with P45 forms for Michael Farthing, our greedy and incompetent Vice Chancellor. But it can't stop there. It doesn't stop there. Farthing is just passing the buck that the government has handed him, instead of standing up for the students he's supposed to be helping. He is only part of an overall system that privileges people in business and stomps on everyone else. Write your MP. Write them a lot. Inundate them with angry letters. Demonstrate. DO something. There are more of us than there are of them.

Stop the Cuts: 26 November 2009

Nov

27

Over 200 students gathered at Library Square yesterday to protest the massive cuts that Sussex is facing. About 100 staff members are to be made redundant across a variety of departments. Meanwhile, top university administrators pull in 6-figure salaries.

Continue reading 'Stop the Cuts: 26 November 2009'...

Stop the Cuts: 3 December 2009

Dec

04

An emergency meeting of University Senate took place on Thursday morning to discuss management's proposals for cuts, and students and staff turned out in large numbers to make their voices heard. Over 500 people made their way to Bramber House in a procession half a mile long, chanting, "No ifs, no buts, no education cuts!"

Continue reading 'Stop the Cuts: 3 December 2009'...

take action

Jan

29

There are a lot of things you can do to fight the cuts at Sussex on a personal level. You don't have to march or chant or chain yourself to a door. What's most important is that we get people involved and make them aware of the cuts and how to stop them.

  • Boycott the NSS. The National Student Survey is used to rank universities. It's one of the only things VCEG cares about, so we are refusing to fill it out. Computer surveys and website rankings are not an adequate judge of education. And contact the NSS to tell them that.
  • Talk to people. Tell them about what's going on. A flyer or a poster don't have nearly the same impact that face-to-face conversation have.
  • Read the Defend Sussex blog, which has the latest information about the cuts and the campaign.
  • Get involved on a School level. Lots of the Schools facing cuts have their own sections of the movement, like the School of English. Find out what your fellow students are doing.
  • Be creative. There are lots of ideas in the pipeline for Stop the Cuts events that are unusual and creative.
  • Speak out. Write your MPs, write to the Sussex management, write to the press, contact anyone who might listen to tell them what's going on here and how we all oppose it.

We can stop these cuts, and support from outside the university is growing every day. But we need everyone to get involved. We're all in this together.

acceleration, a whistling kettle, a rocket blasting off

Feb

01

The next Stop the Cuts rally is on Monday 8 February at 2pm. We're going to have speakers talking about the various segments of the campaign and hopefully some people from the community. Support for us is growing every day. UCU is balloting on strike action soon, the City Council has officially condemned the cuts, and Monday's rally promises to be the biggest yet.

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)

    Continue reading 'victories'...

Psychological change in the miners’ strike 1984-85

Mar

25

On the 30th anniversary of the miners' strike, Dr John Drury describes his research on psychological changes among participants.

 

 

My research is concerned with the way that collective action can transform participants’ identities. To investigate this, I carried out interviews with a family who had been involved in the miners’ strike of 1984-85. The interviews uncovered some powerful personal stories – of people falling out with their strike-breaking neighbours and never speaking to them again, of ‘housewives’ who became new people with independent interests and careers, and more. I supplemented these interviews with an analysis of secondary sources. The 30th anniversary of the start of the miners’ strike in March is a good time to share some of the findings. The types of psychological changes found in accounts of the experiences of those involved in the strike are divided here into three areas: conceptions of the police; relations with other social groups; and the experiences of the women involved.

 

Relations with the police

The most salient change among the strikers and their families was the reversal from seeing the police as protecting their rights to seeing them as an antagonistic outgroup. Among the experiences that seemed to account for this change, there was the shock amongst strikers at the sheer numerical presence of the police at the pickets, to allow working miners to get into the collieries. Secondly, there was the violence of the police towards the striking miners, which came to be expected and seemed to have no limits. Many of the striking miners reported that police used violence and provocation as a tactic to produce arrests. For example, a police cordon pushed a picket-line towards a hawthorn hedge, and when the miners tried to protect themselves by pushing back they were arrested. Many miners also felt they had been arrested without even doing anything.

The arrests themselves were not seen by the striking miners as isolated acts of coercion; rather they were understood as part of a general strategy of reducing picket-line numbers. Stringent bail conditions imposed on arrested miners served as evidence for this perception. Many striking interviewees felt that their civil liberties - the rights they expected to have to strike and picket - had been curtailed by the police action. The curtailment of rights extended beyond violence, intimidation, provocation and arrest to the police's physical control of whole districts. The fact that police were seen to intervene by moving and excluding people from places that were nowhere near the collieries reinforced the perception that their actions were arbitrary abuses of power.

Miners' new evaluations of the police took the form of seeing them as a political agency out to impose the government's will rather than enforce a neutral system of law and order; most saw strike-breaking as the police's central function during the dispute. Hence also many refer to a ‘police state’. Despite all this - or perhaps because of it - many interviewees also reported feeling greater determination to continue the strike.

 

Relations with other groups

There was a shift among strikers and their families towards a more positive conception of or identification with previously differentiated or despised social groups. In the first place, this kind of change seems to have operated through the support such groups gave to the miners. Meeting members of these groups in the context whereby each supports the other’s opposition to the government enabled the strikers to see ‘them’ for the first time as ‘like us’. Secondly, the unexpected antagonism of the police toward the strikers as a category enabled them to see themselves as like other categories in conflict with the police; where before these groups might have been seen as ‘troublemakers’ now it became easy to regard them instead as ‘persecuted’, like the miners.

 

Women's experiences

Women married to miners changed not only in relation to the police and other groups in the same way as the men; they also changed in relation to the men. The break with old ideas was often more dramatic than the break experienced by the miners themselves.

For many of the women it was their first involvement in a strike and in politics. They got involved on two levels: firstly in giving moral support to their striking husbands (in fact, many of them insisted that their husbands take part in the strike, and were important in resisting returns to work); and second in providing practical support, including raising funds and participating on picket lines and demonstrations. Their involvement was crucial to the strike, but it also enabled them to create an identity for themselves different from the one given to them by society.

The women's support groups entailed a shift from the privatized home to a new, collective sphere. The way the servicing of the men was made a public and joint enterprise provided the means for women to look with a fresh perspective at their own roles as housewives. The support groups - as women-only groups, independent of both the men and the NUM - gave the women confidence in themselves as women. And in becoming ‘politically active’ through the strike, the women also extended their conception of ‘the political’. Again the support of groups they would not otherwise have had contact with and the ruthlessness of the government and its agents seem to have played a role in this.

In many cases, women’s psychological transformation was one of greater confidence. The support groups, as the main source of the women's new-found confidence, were something the women found they wanted to keep in place after the strike. They also wanted to apply the groups to other matters, in effect changing the functions of the structures they had created. The new confidence meant that new choices became available for the women. Since the confidence was bound up with their identity as women, rather than as just their husbands' wives, the new choices reflected this identity, leading many to understand their actions in terms of feminism, whether or not they endorsed this perspective entirely.

These kind of changes in identity sometimes meant conflict or at least divergence in relation to their husbands. Examples of change among miners’ wives included refusing to shave their legs, changing their styles of clothes, taking up careers and further education, leaving a husband and becoming a lesbian. In other words, out of the long dispute, as it played itself out in the relations between the police and the strikers and their supporters, and within the groups of strikers and supporters themselves, new ways of understanding self and other were being forged, and new modes of expressing selfhood were being developed

 

Conclusions

The hypotheses developed from this analysis of accounts from the miners’ strike was the basis of an ethnographic study I carried out later on psychological change in participants in the anti-roads movement, which showed the role of social identity processes in such change.

 

Links

For my blog post on that research, go to: http://splash.sussex.ac.uk/blog/for/psychresearch/2013/01/14/the-social-psychology-of-antiroad-protests

 

For one of my published papers on that research go to: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1348/014466600164642/abstract

 

A longer version of this blog post with a full reference list of sources is available at: http://drury-sussex-the-crowd.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/psychological-change-in-uk-miners.html