A group of women and non-binary activists organised by NCAFC Women, the women’s organisation of the left student network National Campaign Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, have occupied University of London’s headquarters, Senate House, to demand free education, workers’ rights and a liberated education. They are using the space to stage discussions and debates for International Women’s Day.
Raquel Palmeira, NCAFC LGBTQ representative and a member of Workers’ Liberty/Women’s Fightback, said:
“Free Education is an inherently feminist demand. When you argue for the redistribution of wealth from highly paid university executives to low paid cleaners, you benefit migrant women. When you argue for a liberated curriculum, you benefit overlooked women theorists and academics. When you argue for true living grants for all who study, you benefit the 92% of carers who are women and state living costs as one of the major factors that put them off education; you benefit women. Free education is a demand for liberation, and too often this is forgotten – or worse, name-checked and not acted upon – in the mainstream student movement.”
Luke Dukinfield, from Warwick for Free Education, said:
“We have chosen this space because it represents the peak of neoliberal education. The University of London treats its workers appallingly, it does not directly offer anyone an education – it is just a brand and service-provider. We will be using this space as it should be used – for education and free discussion.”
Senate House was the site of student occupation and direct action in late 2013, in solidarity with UoL cleaners’ struggles organised by the IWGB union and to demand “Cops off campus”: see here.
What you can do
• Send messages of solidarity to email@example.com (you could also take a solidarity photo)
• Offer to Skype in to communicate with the occupiers
• Spread word about the occupation, including by sharing and circulating their statement here.
• Come to the demonstration outside Senate House which the occupation has called for 5pm on Saturday 7 March: meet 5pm on the steps of SOAS. Facebook event here.