lessons of the middlesex occupation

A Middlesex student looks at the recent student occupation in protest at the closure of the philosophy department

The timing of the Middlesex occupation  – during the general election, and so just before major cuts across the  country – means that it is particularly important to draw lessons from it. A group of us are in the process of collaboratively writing up our experiences for the benefit of future occupations. However, this has not yet been completed, so what follows is simply a personal and partial account of some of the positives and negatives of the occupation.

The best thing about the occupation – which lasted for twelve days and covered a whole building – was that it proved how much a small number of people can do if they have the energy and the will. Because the occupation was a response to the closure of the philosophy department, most involved were philosophy students, and many were part-time and postgraduates, who hardly knew each other beyond the occasional confused questions in weekly seminars. We started with forty people, although numbers varied because of people’s work and other commitments. Continue reading “lessons of the middlesex occupation”

occupation at middlesex university

Report from the occupation at Middlesex University

Today there was a spontaneous occupation of the boardroom at Middlesex University after Dean of Arts Ed Esche failed to attend a meeting arranged with protesters against the closure of the philosophy department. Around 45 people moved into the room. The police were called by the university, but found no grounds for eviction of the protestors or arrests.  Some entirely fatuous claims of assault and destructive behaviour were briefly levelled at the protesters; even the police dismissed these charges out of hand.

It took some time before the decision to extend the occupation indefinitely was made. However, initial fears by some of the occupiers gave way to an increasing determination and radicalism; eventually the decision was made with a near complete consensus, despite earlier splits suggesting a walk out at 6pm. Continue reading “occupation at middlesex university”