15th october 2011: birth of a global anti-capitalist movement?

By Adam Ford

In my opinion, it is very likely that the historians of the future will look upon yesterday as the day a truly global anti-capitalist movement was born. Following the example of Occupy Wall Street, Los Angeles, Boston, and hundreds of US towns and cities, a huge number of small and large occupations began on every continent except Antarctica (see Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, South America).

All proclaim their opposition to the capitalist status quo – with its obscene riches at one pole and sickening poverty at the other. All of this has been organised online, completely outside the clutches of the decaying trade union bureaucracies, for whom ‘international solidarity’ is just some words they used to say a few decades back. The old organisations of timid protest seek influence on the margins, but they are ignored and seen to be as irrelevant as they actually are. It is highly appropriate that this moment has been crowned by the apparently successful resisting of the attempt by New York’s mayor and second richest man to retake Liberty Park. There is a sense that the powers that be are losing control by the hour, if not the second if you follow it all on Twitter.

Continue reading “15th october 2011: birth of a global anti-capitalist movement?”

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confidential occupations document – april 2009

The following leaked document had disappeared from the public domain due to the website which it was previously hosted on going down.  It is a briefing for heads of university administrations on dealing with student occupations.  It may assist activists in gaining some idea of the perspective of senior university officials on occupations – although some of the material is more specifically about occupations around Palestinian issue.

Sign at the occupied Middlesex Philosophy Department, 2010

Original introductory note by an ‘Education Not for Sale’ activist

What follows is a briefing published by university administrators concerning student occupations . It outlines some of the tactics used by university authorities to deal with student protest, specifically occupations. It is not clear exactly who wrote the briefing, or who received it, but since it is addressed to members of the Association for Heads of University Administration (AHUA), we can reasonably assume that it has been received by a number of vice chancellors and others in positions of authority around the country. Continue reading “confidential occupations document – april 2009”

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”

the occupations at uc berkeley – mini documentary

We present here a short documentary about one of the student-worker occupations in California, at the University of California campus at Berkeley.

Some of us who participated in university occupations earlier in 2009, particularly over the summer at SOAS, will easily see the contrast between the attitude of student militants in this film, and members of the SWP who were an organised force in occupations in Britain.  In this film, occupiers stick unrelentingly to their demands, including those in solidarity with sacked workers.  They are not afraid to make police break down the doors as the price for the university’s unwillingness to meet those demands.  They understand that the power of the movement is not in a careful retreat at every stage (and there are always avenues and opportunities for careful retreats for those who want to find them).  Rather, the power of the movement is in its dedication to solidarity, its militancy, in the “ever expanding union” to which it gives birth.  The solidarity with workers shown by the UC Berkeley occupiers puts the SOAS occupation in the shade.

In the future we must raise the slogan, better to be dragged out for something you believe in, than walk out willingly for something you do not!

(brief commentary by Joe Thorne)

austrian student occupations: our social context and our demands

A statement by students at the university occupation in Vienna. See here for an interview with one of the activists involved. This document was published early in the struggle but is only newly available in English.


The strike signifies the refusal of work, but in this case it means an enormous intensity of labour. For more than a week people have been organizing, coordinating, communicating, writing, filming, photographing, cooking, doing media work and much more. Continue reading “austrian student occupations: our social context and our demands”

paris undocumented workers on strike: so where next?

from Où va la CGT: see here for an interview with migrant worker reps and report on the occupation of the Pompidou centre’s restaurant

A month on strike for 5,000 undocumented workers in the Paris region: a month of mobilising people, strikes, pickets in the cold and in the rain. Their determination is unfailing, even if some are starting to tire.

But there is a problem with the direction of this massive, multi-site strike. Many reps are starting to question the manner in which the CGT union federation is guiding it.

Continue reading “paris undocumented workers on strike: so where next?”

occupation and state-building in the new afghanistan

by Jessica Anderson

“It is true that the Taliban are the first threat but an illegitimate government would be the second” – Abdullah Abdullah

The deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan over the last eighteen months has seen the gradual reassertion of the Taliban’s territorial presence. The widespread fraud, vote rigging, and ballot stuffing of August’s presidential election led to a run off between Hamid Karzai the incumbent and the other main candidate Abdullah Abdullah. This process was a total flop, an embarrassment for the occupying American forces as Abdullah, disputing the possibility of a fair result devoid of fraud, refused to participate further. Hilary Clinton spoke of Abdullah’s decision as “not affecting in any way the legitimacy” of the process: instead Karzai’s second term in office would supposedly further buttress the strength of the constitutional order of Afghanistan in guiding the Afghan people to a ‘brighter future’.   Continue reading “occupation and state-building in the new afghanistan”