In the last month a sustained movement against austerity has emerged seemingly out of nowhere. Since the student demonstration/riot in London on November 10th there have daily protests, meetings and occupations in towns and cities all over the UK. I have found myself wandering down Whitehall surrounded by hundreds of school students on an unofficial demonstration, seen students training for direct action in the occupied library of my local university (Goldsmiths) and swapped ideas with people from Brazil, Italy and Greece in a Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination workshop at the Arts Against Cuts weekend. I have been at a public meeting of 500 people cheering a 15 year old talking about organising a walk out from his secondary school.
What has been impressive is the innovation and the rapid circulation of struggles. A group of school students from Camden School for Girls visited the occupation at University College London - today 100 young women have occupied Camden School for Girls. As far as I know this is the first occupation of a school in London for more than 30 years! (anyone know differently let me know).
A 1977 Occupation
The most recent school occupation I have come across was from 1977: ''Sixth formers at Wanstead High School, east London, occupied their common room and front hall yesterday in protest against education cuts. 'We have a lot of support in other schools and our teachers are sympathetic' Richard Boyes, aged 17, a reprsentative at the school of the National Union of School Students, said". The occupation followed a 12 day occupation at the University of Essex "against Government increases in tuition fees" (Times, March 19 1977).
Sheffield Occupation dance off
Reported previously on the occupation dance offs in Oxford and UCL. Here's another one from the occupation at Sheffield University:
Next chapter tomorrow, with the call to Shut Down London on the day Parliament votes on student fees.