Cambridge left mobilises against cuts
Businesses and banks to be targeted as student activists claim “it is just the beginning”
by Tristan Dunn, Natasha Pesaran
Thursday 18th November 2010, 22:37 GMT
Following national protests last week, the Cambridge left are planning further action to voice their anger at government proposals.
Cambridge Defend Education, a student organisation which was started in October to fight funding cuts and fee increases, have decided to hold a teach-in on Sunday to raise awareness, to be followed by a demonstration in Cambridge city centre next Wednesday, which will coincide with a walk-out of sixth-form students from the Cambridge area.
A member of Cambridge Defend Education told Varsity, "A lot of people were saying at the time, and this was repeated by ministers and others, that the protest last week was just the beginning. But that’s the reality. We’re not done yet.
"Since the protest last week, things are really heating up. We have had a lot of new faces at meetings and new names added to our email list. We’re hoping the teach-in and demonstration next week will build interest and new involvement. We’re doing everything we can to get the word out."
A demonstration will take place next Wednesday, starting outside Great St Mary’s at noon.
The group will march through Cambridge targeting businesses and institutions that are in some way linked to the cuts. In particular, banks and the phone company, Vodafone, which has come under charges of tax evasion, have been singled out.
A member from the group told Varsity, "Once everyone is assembled we will march through Cambridge. It won’t just be a ramble, there will be people leading the parade, with flags and music. But we will stop and protest outside every locale which has a stake in what’s going on.
"After the march, we will see what the vibe is like. I don’t know what will happen. If people want to continue protesting, we will go with it."
Sixth-form students from around Cambridge will stage a walk-out on the same day and join the protest.
Cambridge Defend Education will also hold a "teach-in to fight to fees and cuts" at King’s and Clare, which includes a number of talks, discussions and workshops.
The title of one panel discussion had to be changed after King’s College expressed anxiety about its radical overtones.
The panel, which was originally entitled ‘Direct Action Workshop’, was renamed ‘Sharing Stories of Activism’ at the College’s behest.
According to a spokesperson, the panel will consist of an "academic training session in how to go about doing direct action in a way that has political impact but does not cause any damage to persons or property."
Speakers include the socialist writer Richard Seymour, CUSU President Rahul Manisgani, and professors from the University of Cambridge and King’s College ,London.
Cambridge Defend Education’s promotional material says they hope the event will "shake up the debate on education funding, train up to resist cuts, fees and outsourcing" and "build a movement to defend education."
The group estimates that between 200 and 300 students will attend.
All members of the campaign who commented wished to remain anonymous as an expression of the group’s democratic collectivist policy.