So far 4 universities have been occupied: LSE, University of the Arts London, Goldsmiths College and Kings College. In solidarity with the staff and students taking direct action, we’ve sent out a bunch of care packages with some great reading materials for occupiers to read on their downtime. Here’s a taste: our Occupy Education Reading List!
The Radical Imagination: Social Movement Research in the Age of Austerity
Looking for the sparks which lights the fire of social change, The Radical Imagination asks tough questions at a time of crisis in establishment politics. What sort of imagination do we need to bring about an uprising against injustice and inequality? Can we foster that imagination, can we study it, and what risks come about with putting it at the centre of anti-austerity struggles? Is hope our only weapon?
Languages of the Unheard: Why militant protest is good for democracy
For many, taking a direct action such as occupying your campus or workplace is the first step to questioning the narrow confines of parliamentary democracy. During the last major wave of student occupations in 2010, a series of large street demonstrations overflowed into violence as police attacked students protesting rising fees – and many students fought back. In Languages of the Unheard – a title taken from Martin Luther King’s description of the nature of a riot – philosopher Stephen D’Arcy explores the political uses and ethical limits of direct action, sabotate and, ultimately, violence. D’Arcy argues that the fundamental dividing line is not between violence and non-violence, but between democratic and undemocratic action.
Everyday Revolutions: Horizontalism and Autonomy in Argentina
Embedded deep in the movements she writes on, Marina Sitrin’s study of the rise and rise of horizontalism is vital reading for today’s student occupations, for whom non-hierarchical and consensus decision-making seems to be a natural fit with their outlooks. A great example of this emergent form of political organising is in Argentina, and Sitrin explores this new spirit of authority and anti-authoritarianism in the country since the financial crises of the early noughties.
The Economics Anti-Textbook
Attempting a bottom-up reform of the curriculum has been a key issue in the new occupations. This is part of a wider trend in academia; across the country economics students have been rebelling against the classical economics models taught as dogma on many courses. Watching the evisceration of both universities and the welfare state whilst banks got bailed out, it’s hardly surprising. What better remedy, then, than the Economics Anti-Textbook, offering accessible challenges to the orthodoxies of modern economic thought and exposing the hidden value judgments underpinning it?
Assata: An Autobiography
Straight-up empowering, the biography of Black Panther and founder of the Black Liberation Army Assata Shakur, currently on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, is an intense and thought-provoking read covering not just the inspirations and politics behind Black Liberation but also an account of the repression and demise of a movement that still shakes the US State to its core. The struggle is may have been suppressed, but is needed more than ever as incarceration rates for people of colour in the US soar, and young black men are gunned down by white cops with virtual impunity. As Angela Davis says in her introduction to the book, “Assata speaks to all of us”.