Saturday, 26 February 2011

Student occupation at Manchester University

Manchester autonomous students re-occupied the Roscoe Building at Manchester University on Wednesday February 23rd. The aims of the occupation are to build for the 26th March demonstration in London against the ConDem cuts, develop alternative education courses, and support the international movements for human rights and social justice particularly in the Middle East in the light of the current protests there against authoritarian regimes.

Unlike previous occupations a consensual decision making process is operating which is best illustrated by the banner inscribed with the words "Really Open Occupation". Everyone is welcome at the occupation and a number of events including films and workshops are being planned. Community activists and trade unionists are especially welcome and outreach work and networking are key priorities of the occupation.

Manchester autonomous students consists of anarchists, libertarians, non aligned socialists etc and is a completely inclusive body. You can contact the Occupation at;;

Barry Woodling
Northern Anarchist Network


Anonymous said...

What about the human rights of women and homeosexuals when these countries become Islamist states?

Rachel said...

A good point is made here by Anon. but one that also manages to be highly presumptuous and a massive over-simplification.

Of course there will be Islamists lining up to fill any power vacuums in the Middle East but they won’t be the only ones and let’s not be too quick to see them as the inevitable victors in a struggle for power. If you read some of the statements released by young Palestinian activists recently, they are as tired of being used as potential martyr material by Islamists as they are of being used as targets by Zionists.

I would also be wary of assuming that ‘women’ and ‘homosexuals’ are automatically the victims of human rights abuses, even though it is indeed so often the case that they are discriminated against simply because of their gender or sexual preferences. I think we could debate the vicious circle of prejudice that pervades humanity until the cows come home and end up finding as many challenges to such sweeping assumptions as we find evidence to back them up.

People are not automatically sexists or homophobes because they happen to be male or straight (or, for that matter, Muslim) just as being female or gay does not automatically make you respect the rights of other humans. It’s just one example but what of the growing number of ‘liberated’ Muslim women who not only claim to wear the various ‘modesty’ garments prescribed by their faith by choice but also wear designer Western clothing underneath as a symbol of their ‘freedom to choose’. These women don’t give a shit about female solidarity provided their right to access the perqs of capitalism is preserved.

Outside societies where discrimination against women or LGBT groups is overt, an alarming number of people think that the battle for gender equality is either won or not important enough to care about. Even on the left we still have people who accuse women fighting for equal pay of being responsible for the ‘dumbing down’ of wages because the bosses choose to meet their legal requirements by lowering male wages rather than raising female ones. That said, I don’t quite get the logic behind the demands of the equal pay brigade because from what I can see, fighting to get the same thing as men who are already victims of inequality is no equality at all.

I’m happy to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with anyone in the name of equality provided that the equality they seek is not based on that Orwellian cliché that some animals are more equal than others and presuming that certain groups are free from prejudices of their own because they are themselves discriminated against doesn’t help.