Support the UCU Strike
Hey kids, bit late to the party but let's keep supporting the #UCU strikes this week, especially if you’re a student and the staff at ur uni are striking. It's not just lecturers and tutors, but support services staff, librarians, technicians, administrators. They are all facing shitty working conditions, real term cuts in pay, a 15% gender pay-gap and changes to pensions which leaves them paying more and getting back less. Unis are also putting ppl, at all levels, on effectively zero hour contracts where they have no continued guarantee of work term to term and year to year.
This instability is also a way of silencing new lecturers (often POC, queer or otherwise marginalised) who are brought in to 'fix' an institutional problem which they are then unable to fully critique for fear of losing their livelihood. This is not an irrational fear. Many of the issues of our art schools and universities are compounded by staff members who are overworked, underpaid and unstable. If you want more representation in ur curriculum, if u care about the marketisation of education and the way it's tried to make students in to consumers and pit them against staff, u should stand in solidarity with the UCU strike.
Don't let the system turn you in to an annoyed consumer - education should be free and accessible for all and it shouldn't be about a grade or networking or how much you can get. I understand for those students who are marginalised it may feel shit to have classes cancelled, it feels like a big risk to do anything that could damage your education, it was hard enough to get here and you'll be saddled with debt afterwards. But really, the game is rigged against you even if you do everything 'right' at uni. Student worker solidarity is crucial in part because one day you too will be a worker.*
Unionising and striking (withdrawing labour) is one of the most important and effective ways to show our power. if u can join a union, do! Not all unions are great, there are problems of bureaucracy in many, and the trade union movement in the UK has been pummeled by Thatcherism, public sector cuts and a shift to the private sector (all linked up in a neoliberal mess). But United Voices of the World and Bakers and Allied Workers Union among others are doing the work to organise those in the lowest paid and most precarious work. Students have been organising rent strikes and fighting to bring outsourced workers in house. There is great hope and power when we work together.
There's lots of ways to support the strike! the easiest is not to cross the picket line and stay in bed and watch a film (Maz recommends Showgirls). Better is to join a picket line and go to 'teach out' events organised in solidarity/with UCU. There are great film events happening at Goldsmiths today and Tuesday see our story or DM us! Please also send us ur events and picket line details so we can repost stuff
*(if u leave uni and don't become a worker it's only because you slot straight back in to ur upper middle or independently wealthy class position and uni was just a fun detour in to what u see as 'the real world' but what is really just another elitist circle. If u truly wanna ascend ur class background and Connie Markievicz it u should be actively working against ur interest and putting energy in to solidarity work. If u don't, ur just whining because ppl who earn less than a third of what ur parents earn are trying to fight for a basic pension)