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Latest news and comment from the Cambridge Occupied Law School

Manos (IMC Cambridge) | 26.01.2009 02:39 | University Occupations for Gaza | Education | Palestine | Cambridge

I just spent the last 6 hours at the Law School occupation in Cambridge – this is the last report from Sunday evening / Monday early morning. It seems the university has issued an ultimatum for students to clear the school by Sunday midnight, which still has to happen, as people are slowly drifting to sleep in the lecture theatres. It seems they otherwise have refused to continue negotiations which has not allowed for any progress on the demands or people to go home. The music night planned was delayed by a talk from students of Sussex University that is still under occupation, as well as a last plenary for the evening.

Practical issues were the centre of the discussion: it was decided that to minimise disruption to the lectures the smallest lecture theatres is going to be occupied, freeing as much space as possible for the smooth running of the academic schedule (at the minor inconvenience of moving some lectures to the other theatre). The security of the occupation was also discussed with a focus on maintaining a strong enough presence on site to ensure it is not taken away by the authorities. At the same time people’s time was allocated to distribute material about the occupation outside the building, as well as to the law students expected on Monday morning.

The decision making structures are still a weird mix of consensus decision making signals and impromptu votes when the consensus is not clear. People have complained that consensus decision making takes ages, and the meetings are indeed rather tedious. As I witnessed them, the long times to take decisions are more due to the micromanagement of the general assembly’s about how decisions will be implemented rather than the consensus decision making process itself. Everyone has an opinion about “how” things are done rather than trusting those in charge to do the reasonable and common sense thing. As the occupation progresses, functioning working groups are set up to deal with different aspects of the action, that hopefully should minimise the discussion of practicalities during decision making.

At the end of the meeting a couple of people, representing others, expressed their concern about making the political space inclusive for all voices and being aware of hierarchy and power. While some nodded disapprovingly, as if this was a side issue, more agreed and it was decided that the matter should be further discussed in a proper day meeting.

The occupation continues until the demands are met!

Manos (IMC Cambridge)