On Thursday we saw the limitations of our democracy. Inside parliament MPs voted to increase fess despite pledging not to in order to be elected. Outside Parliament the police battered and horse charged thousands of school and university students in order to protest the liars and theives inside parliament. We lost the vote that day but the campaign is far from over. Poll tax was made law but was still defeated the CPE laws in France were passed then repealed. Again and again movements have show if we carry on we can force the government to back down.
For just over 16 days students have occupied Roscoe B lecture theatre in Manchester University. From the beginning we issued national demands seeing the point of being there as a base from which to build the biggest possible campaign against cuts, against fees and against attacks to EMA. Using this space we held alternative lectures discussing how we can beat the cuts and what education should really be like. Societies as diverse as the hiking club and socialist worker student society held events in our space. Perhaps most importantly we used the space to design many different posters and leaflets and held mass organsing meetings bringing in around 300 to the biggest. We also received messages of support from hundreds of academics at the University and many other people beyond. We sent speakers out to trade union branch meetings across Manchester and in return got donations of over £1500 to send people to London marching against fees as parliament voted. Overall the occupation has massively increased the profile of the anti cuts movement across Manchester repeatedly getting students onto local radio and put a spark of hope in many who were downbeat about the cuts.
Following on from the vote this week it is clear that our movement is not over, however we do need to pause and regroup our movement for a longer battle. Following on from a mass organising meeting on Friday evening it was decided to leave the occupation for the time being. Students will be meeting next week to plan action to stop the bill in the Lords and show the lib demo betrayers what we think of them. We also decided to call a anti cuts teach in early next term to get everyone back together and plan our next steps. The lecturers will be balloting for strike action then and it is vital we support them in their fight as they have supported ours.
We would like to thank everyone for their messages of support, money and food. This is not the end of our fight, keep following the blog, keep marching in the streets we can still win this fight. There will be a meeting of all occupiers, wannabe occupiers and supporters at some point in the next week to plan our next step and so we can finally have a drink together. As they said in 1968 La Lutte Continue. We will keep up the fight till the government has fallen and until education is free for all who want it.