Billy Bragg performing at yesterday's rallyJoe Cook

Musician and activist Billy Bragg was yesterday the latest celebrity to show support for the ongoing UCU Strikes, joining protesters at a rally outside Great Saint Mary’s Church for a short performance.

Bragg first joined strikers at Sidgwick site in the morning before arriving at King’s parade just after midday, where he performed five songs, including the well-known trade union anthem ‘Solidarity Forever’ by Ralph Chaplin.

The appearance comes after activist and artist Ai Weiwei surprised striking academics on Monday with his endorsement of the industrial action, and a visit to the picket lines. Ai Weiwei will also be speaking at 12:30 at today’s rally.

Bragg, whose music career spans more than 35 years and several ‘Gold’ album certifications from the British Phonographic Industry, has a long history of involvement in left-wing activist politics. In 2011, he marched with Occupy Movement protestors in London and joined the 2014 ‘March-in-March’ anti-government protests in Sydney.

Earlier this week, Bragg endorsed the Labour Party ahead of December’s General Election.

“It’s maybe the first time you’ve been involved in a struggle, the great struggle that I’m part of,” Bragg told attendees at the rally, “you are part of that tradition, whatever you’re bringing, whatever songs you write, whatever chants you bring, whatever vibe you bring”.

“You are part of that tradition now. And all the tradition asks is that you pass that on, you pass that solidarity on, you pass that compassion on, that is what our fight is about, ultimately, fundamentally it’s about compassion, it's about empathy, it’s about everybody together.”

The industrial action today reaches its fourth of eight days, and strikers seem no closer to seeing their demands met, which surround USS pension scheme contributions and poor pay and work conditions. 


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Mountain View

Cambridge UCU garners celebrity support as Ai Weiwei visits picket line

On Monday, hundreds of students showed their support for strikers at a rally outside the Senate House.

Bragg is currently on the third and last day of the Cambridge leg of his ‘One Step Forward. Two Steps Back’ UK and Ireland tour, which ends on December 3rd in Birmingham.

He has also announced he will perform at the YouthForClimate strike at midday on Friday, which will take place at the Grand Arcade.

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