urgent protest: justice for cleaners at the lse

From IWW Cleaners Branch
Come and stand in solidarity with the cleaners at the London School of Economics on Wednesday 13 June 2012, from 1PM – 2:30PM
LSE, Houghton Street, City of Westminster, WC2A 2AE – Just by Natwest bank

The IWW Cleaners at London School of Economics will be staging a lively protest to…

1) Stop the LSE from reducing the cleaner’s working hours
2) Stop the LSE from intensifying the cleaner’s working day
3) Stop the LSE from giving with one hand and taking with the other
4) Stop the LSE from treating the cleaners like second-class employees
5) Publicly expose Resource’s management’s inveterate practice of racist bullying Continue reading “urgent protest: justice for cleaners at the lse”

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the woolf that didn’t bark: the LSE-libya inquiry

Jack Staunton, a student at the London School of Economics (LSE) looks at Lord Woolf’s inquiry into the School’s ties to the Libyan state, and the nature of ‘corporate social responsibility’. 

In May this year the LSE’s Dr Satoshi Kanazawa posted a blog entry on the Psychology Today website, entitled “Why are black women less physically attractive than other women?”. Kanazawa offered an answer to this age-old question with a series of ‘scientific’ graphs and statistics. Such was the uproar that he was forced into an apology, taking a mere four months to put together a public statement.

Saif-al-Islam Gaddafi PhD, the first student ever to deliver LSE's Ralph Miliband lecture

But what did our hapless researcher retract: his racism? Objectification of women? No: he apologised for ‘causing controversy’ and ‘damage to the reputation of the School’ because he did not use ‘due consideration’ in his ‘use of language’. He was ‘not at all motivated by a desire to seek or cause controversy’, instead entirely motivated by ‘scientific curiosity’. For English readers, he meant: sorry you got upset, but I am so focused on my quest for scientific knowledge, I didn’t consider how my choice of words might hurt your sensitive feelings and the School’s ‘brand’.

Kanazawa’s promise to choose his words more carefully in future was enough for him to keep his job. What mattered to LSE was not the racist content of his outlook, but that his failure to use politically-correct language was bad for its reputation. And LSE takes its reputation very seriously. This, of course, is the same institution which, after championing the Libyan regime for eight years, abandoned it to the memory-hole in 2011 once Gaddafi’s own ‘brand’ became toxic. Media revelations as to the extent of LSE’s relations with the regime were such an embarrassment that the School felt moved to launch an investigation, the Woolf Inquiry. Continue reading “the woolf that didn’t bark: the LSE-libya inquiry”

LSE occupies against fee rises and cuts

David Broder writes on this week’s student protests in London

a teach-in launched the LSE occupation

Tuesday 30th saw the latest major student protest against the planned attacks on further and higher education, the ConDem coalition planning to cut Education Maintenance Allowance and raise fees to as much as £9,000 a year. Continue reading “LSE occupies against fee rises and cuts”

occupations for gaza in london! get down to lse!

In our report on Saturday’s demonstration, we urged students to occupy university buildings.  A leaflet which some of us helped to distribute also called for university occupations.  With demonstrations outside the embassy dwindling, and the PSC seeking to demobilise the movement with their latest (sexist) call for a “women’s and children’s march” following another mind-numbing rally at Trafalgar Square, occupations are vital to take the movement to the next level.

Students at SOAS have already occupied, and the university has agreed to grant several of their demands (including banning the military from campus, and allowing the student union to run a series of events for Gaza there during the week).   Tonight LSE students have embarked upon their own occupation.  We need to support these!  Get down if you possibly can, student or not, and help to make every occupation a centre of discussion and organisation!  Find more about the occupations here:

SOAS occupation

LSE occupation [Map and travel instructions]

These occupations pose a question of social power – i.e. who runs the institutions that make up society – and doing so while raising the banner of Gaza. Street mobilisations alone will burn us out without posing these questions of power, and leave us with no alternative centres of organisation apart from the PSC and the STWC which are already trying to demobilise the movement. Isolated actions – such as the disruption of BICOM on Tuesday morning – are broadly positive, but don’t provide an organisational centre to counter the national NGOs, and don’t do anything to link the situation in Gaza to broader questions of politics and power. Occupations can also be centres of learning and organising, they are exactly what needs to happen. Their potential will be defined by the number of people who attend and commit to them.

If you are at another university, consider organising your own occupation.  We also need to think about how these occupations can become a space, not only for students, but for the broader community of activists and demonstrators who have taken action over the past two weeks.