This week we are serialising extracts from an article by Rebecca Ratcliffe at the Guardian looking at how students around the world are fighting back against the commercialisation of University education.
London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
What’s happening? A central administration room has been occupied by students since 18 March.
What caused the protest? The occupation is a reaction against the marketisation of education.
Natalie Fiennes is an MSc student studying political sociology and Ellen Lees is an undergraduate student studying social anthropology at LSE.
LSE is the epitome of the neoliberal university. It is managed and organised around corporate interests, which promote elitism and perpetuate inequality. OccupyLSE proposes that students, lecturers and workers should run a university – and we have named this project the Free University of London.
We are occupying the main administrative meeting room to symbolically disrupt the management of the school, which is responsible for the neoliberalisation of our education. We have used the space to reclaim our education and encourage political participation by teaching and learning from each other. This is a rejection of the commercialisation of education – we are learning for free and we are learning freely.
The space and workshops are being used to focus and refine the demands we are making as a movement on issues of free education, workers’ rights, university democracy and governance, liberation and ethics. The power of occupations is that they create a domino effect: this is only the beginning.