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no such thing as a free launch…

February 23, 2011

Certain of readers at the UfSO decided to pop along and join a large crowd of students in storming the official, invite-only opening of multi-million pound, state-of-the-art media facility at Goldsmiths, University of London. The new building was due to be ceremonially opened ex-Tory MP, ITV chairman and slimy capitalist villain Archie Norman. A group of around 200 students stormed the elegant drinks reception forcing the guests to beat a hasty retreat to a re-arranged dinner venue in another building. Barricaded inside the guests, security and caters could not resist the numbers of students surrounding the room and simultaneous waves of demonstrators forced their way through several of the entrances, unfurling banners, playing musical instruments and hauling up a large sound system in a shopping trolley, dancing students mingling with confused and embarrassed guests. Aside from the distraction of this mildly amusing chaos and the moral boosting exercise of seeing students give management and a Tory scumbag a metaphorical one-fingered salute, certain of the UfSO did attempt some serious accosting of Norman. The arrogant little insect refused to listen to the approaches of our comrades (made in far more polite language than I use here, I might add) and made no attempts to understand the anger of those surrounding him. Instead he made the ill-judged decision to attempt to justify his ridiculous existence by stating that his ilk are good enough to so very generously provide (unpaid) internships to students such as those protesting. The smug Norman then offered to “come back in peacetime”. Idiot.

In the end the evening’s adventures were little more than a symbolic gesture against the marketisation and privatisation of education. Goldsmiths managers used the minor commotion to whine and get out some crap soundbites by way of a press release for their shiny new building (clearly they are thinking that this kind of thing could really push the sales of those ‘radical’ branded badges in the Goldsmiths shop…). A TUC rally held at the same time in a nearby Goldsmiths building was also targeted by protesters, and TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber was confronted by a group of angry demonstrators over his weakness and ineptitude in opposing cuts, lets hope he listens to the message. He needs to demonstrate he’s not as bad as Norman, but my UfSO comrades and I won’t hold our collective breath.

Prof. Christina Bernstein

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