Proposals to SocSoc meeting 27 February 1970

This paper was presented at the SocSoc meeting today.

PROPOSALS TO SOCSOC MEETING   FRIDAY  27 Feb 1970

Preamble

It would seem that Soc Soc once again has been overwhelmed by the course of events rather than vice versa: as fast as we have analysed, categorised, and rationalised one development another has come along and rendered it all so much time wasted.

We must regain the initiative and with it the ability to plan in advance a coherent campaign of action. Examine the following demands

  1. Lord Salisbury’s resignation.
  2. Public dissociation from his views.
  3. Information on investments.
  4. Recognition of Committee of 6.
  5. Alteration of ordinances etc. (and possibly by the time this is discussed):
  6. Student representation on ‘joint committee’.
  7. Some claim concerning Warwick files.
  8. Let the V-C come and speak to the students.

Now where is this constant pestering of the University getting us, and how do these demands fit into the general plan of SocSoc? Obviously they don’t fit at all for two reasons:

a) The demands are not contingent one upon the other.

b) There is no general plan.

However, whether we like it or not these demands and their references have become issues and to a large extent we are behoven to work within them.
It would appear unsatisfactory to drop some demands and to work with just a few.
It would be a complicated and clumsy campaign that attempted to carryall these demands whilst seeking to keep their limits clearly defined (eg, Monday – Senate picket – Racism; Tuesday – Senate picket – Warwick files-etc, etc.)
The obvious need is some way to synthesize these demands into one campaign. Now it is not difficult to see that their common denominator is the University administration.  However, if we are just interested in presenting demands to Senate then we may just as well write then all down on a card and pop them in the post  (which is effectively what we have been doing to date).  And yet if our demands are to be a means to something else then there is a neatness and flexibility about an open-ended campaign in that it could absorb any further developments without unbalancing the whole effort.

The visit of Salisbury saw the initial development of a planned campaign which was totally disrupted by the Guild collapse –  consequent chaos – Warwick files, etc.  The time has cone for a reappraisal and the formulation of a new plan.

PROPOSALS

  1. That the stated short term aim of SocSoc be the setting up of a student inquiry/commission/tribunal/investigation into the power structure of the university and its manifestations within and without the campus. Put differently, that it examines exactly how a university works.
  2. (as an absolute prerequisite for 1.) We demand that the university disclose all information at its disposal, including Senate/Council/Court minutes; all files whatsoever; University accounts, investments. (see note*) The University administration makes its position viz approval/disapproval/neutrality absolutely clear on the following: Salisbury, Racism,  Committee of 6, etc.
  3. That demands 1. and 2. are replied to in writing not less than seven days after receipt.
  4. Plans for some form of direct action at the end of the seven days and for a full scale mobilisation of all possible support during the week for the confrontation at the end of it.

Also that in the event of a failure of full scale mobilisation, contingency plans for anonymous direct action be made  (in the hope that this would be contributory to later mass action).

It has been suggested that a ‘charter of demands and critique of the University structure’ be formulated and presented. However:

  1. The problem with a critique and concluding demands is that the administration’s reaction is likely to be: ‘You say that the situation is A,B,C, but in fact it is X,Y,Z and therefore your demands are not applicable’.  Now whilst we may be fairly sure that the situation is not X,Y, Z, unless we have had previous access to the information we won’t be able to show up the lie.
  2. The idea has been floating around since the beginning of term and yet nothing has been done and the present situation does not seen to be one in which running on the spot while someone prepares a charter is going to be beneficial to the cause.

*Whilst this demand would appear fantastic, it nay be argued that in many ways it is perfectly negotiable and contains a viable means of leaving Senate House, if we ever got in.  Its very open-endedness allows the probability that if the Admin. are prepared to concede anything then it will be covered under this demand (we can surely agree upon some concession of information which, if we are in need  of an excuse to leave, will suffice). If they are not prepared to concede anything at all we can leave because we have just set fire to the building.

Engels: Socialism, Utopian and Scientific

A seminar on the relevance of  this Marxist text today
led by Mike Smith
7.30 March 4  McAusland Lounge
the text can be obtained from the Soc-Soc bookstall in the foyer

E Mandel on American capitalism today

A seminar on Mandel’s analysis of capitalism, based on article in New Left Review 54
7.30 Wednesday March 11   McAusland  Lounge
N.L.R  available from the Arts Library or from Soc-Soc bookstall

Lenin’s ‘Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder

A seminar on the text’s relevance today
led by Dave Robertson
7.30 Wednesday  March 18   McAusland Lounge
text available from Soc-Soc bookstall

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Author: Gerry

Retired college teacher living in Liverpool, UK.

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