Assembly Fight “Voldemort’s” Cuts

The full report on todays General Assembly, which saw the protestors fight against the cuts compared to “Dumbledore’s Army fighting Voldemort”.

cambridge defend education Coalition combination room condem CUSU cuts general assembly juan occupation Old Schools

Hundreds of people attended the General Assembly at the Old Schools Occupation today, eager to express their anger at cuts, as the protest movement reached it’s highest point yet.

The big themes of the day were solidarity, expanding the level of protest, and bringing down the government.

As reported in The Tab’s live blog, there were just over four hours of discussions about what’s happened so far and how people can carry on making a stand against cuts.

From postal workers to primary school teachers, there were strong speeches given by many locals, as well as those from further a field, such as UCL students and UNITE reps.

Highlights included Elizabeth, an 11 year old Londoner, standing up and telling the crowd how each person could make a difference by leafleting or sending letters to Downing Street, and John’s Prof Simon Szreter who compared the occupiers to Dumbledore’s Army fighting Voldemort (Cameron).

Prof Szreter was just one of the many academics who turned out in support of the movement, urging the University to open dialogues and reject the cuts.

The idea of the Assembly was to bring together all those who opposed the cuts, not just the students, and the organisers were successful right from the start. The crowd was made up of students, school kids, pensioners, unionists, academics, parents, teachers and many others.

At the high point of the meeting organisers had to operate a one in one out door policy to prevent overcrowding.

The biggest advantage of the diversity of the crowd was that it helped to raise awareness of events taking place soon where people could make their voices heard.

A schedule of up coming events was drawn up including:

–  Monday 6th Dec: 9am protest outside Great St. Mary’s

–  Tuesday 7th Dec: County Council Meeting

–  Wednesday 8th: 6th form protest to see Julian Huppert

–  Thursday 9th: Buses to London to lobby outside Parliament

–  January (date TBC): Next meeting of the Cambridge People’s Assembly

The occupiers were keen to stress that Thursday’s vote is only the beginning, urging all to “fight cuts across society”.

The reaction from the attendees seemed largely positive. English student Megan Smith praised the style of the assembly. She said: “I’ve been to a few protests in my time at Cambridge and this is by far the best and most effective in my eyes – the meeting was brilliant!”

However, not everyone was so enthusiastic. A married couple were overheard walking into the meeting not sure of what they were even there to support, and some were left disappointed by the meeting.

Tom Phillips, a Cam 2nd year said: “This was my first time here and I won’t be coming back. Too many people were just spouting delusional and self-indulgent nonsense.”

Whether today saw “history being made” is yet to be seen, but the organisers were keen to stress that the mood at the end of the day was, “inspiring and upbeat”.

The standing ovation that ended the discussion, and the general mood of happiness, despite the dissatisfied few, suggests that the occupiers will not run out of support anytime soon.

If you want to take part in the protests, don’t forget there is a demonstration tomorrow outside Great St. Mary’s Church.