Friday, August 22, 2008

Socialist Party speaker at tomorrow's Glasgow Radical Independent Bookfair


'Learning from 1968……. To the Present'

RADICAL INDEPENDENT BOOKFAIR

August 23rd 2008


Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow

"Recent media reports on the 40th anniversary of the student protests of 1968 recalled students' discontent with class inequalities, civil rights and the increasing beureaucratic control of education. In 2008, in the grip of neoliberalism, recession, temporary contracts, job losses and increasing emphasis on 'employability' in education, it has been reported that today's students no longer want to change society or the education system, but instead just want their education to enable them to get good enough jobs so they can pay their rent. The August RIB will host a symposium that looks at these and other issues surrounding how education policy and practice has developed and changed over the last 40 years, and student/teacher responses to them."

Timetable:

1pm- Angela McClanahan (worker in higher education): Introduction

1.45 start- Benjamin Franks (worker in higher education)

2.05-2.10 start: Gordon Asher (student and worker in higher education)

2.30 Break

3pm Christian Garland (author and activist)

3.20-25 start: Victor Vanni (Socialist Party of Great Britain)

3.40-3.45 start: Audience discussion, chaired by Angela

1 comment:

Darren said...

Via 'News From Nowhere', the yahoo discussion list for SPGB members and sympathisers in the Caledonian area:

"Dear Comrades

Robert the comrade from Carlisle and I attended the first session of the event

'Learning Since 1968.... To the Present'

The Radical Independent Bookfair on Saturday, 23 August

Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow

Angela McClanahan (worker in higher education): Welcomed and introduced the session and discussion of the romanticisation of student experience in 1968. This was followed by Benjamin Franks (worker in higher education) and Gordon Asher (student and worker in higher education) giving other slants on the subject. The recent media reports on the 40th anniversary of the student protests of 1968 recalled students’ discontent with class inequalities, civil rights and the increasing bureaucratic control of education. In 2008, in the grip of neoliberalism, recession, temporary contracts, job losses and increasing emphasis on ‘employability’ in education, it has been reported that today’s students no longer want to change society or the education system, but instead just want their education to enable them to get good enough jobs so they can pay their rent. These ideas were refuted by the speakers and the problems imposed on the students/ teachers, loan debts etc. plus the resistance from the powers that be, that were responded to continually. On the subject of 1968, the view was expressed that student protest aided the ending of the Vietnamese war and played a great part in what could be a revolutionary change to some of the taboos of previous time. They were not saying there was a revolution in1968 but it was considered a possible missed opportunity.

In the discussion that followed, I tried to make the point that the TUC in 1968 was celebrating their centenary and in the contents of the book produced by the TUC, it was evident that they considered the progress of being consulted and advising the government was the mark of the progress being made by the representatives of millions of workers, so what is meant by a revolution? The question was not discussed, other points were made and then we had a break.

At approx. 3pm with the chair Angela McClanahan and Christian Garland (author and activist) he spoke about the events of 1968 for about 10/15 minutes. Vic Vanni then spoke for about 15 minutes. He outlined the events in Paris, how they had achieved little and how some of the leaders had made a good career move out of it - one becoming the French PM.

The forum was then joined by the two earlier speakers Benjamin Franks (worker in higher education), Gordon Asher (student and worker in higher education). The discussion quickly turned into SPGB versus the rest. The SPGB's opponents may have had different ideas but they seemed united in their support of protest on single issues and poured scorn on the lack of progress of the SPGB's position. They didn't seem to realise that despite all this special single issue action the problems of poverty, exploitation, hunger and war still existed. Comrades Donnelly and I made contributions to the discussion but as with Comrade Vanni we met with this reformist opposition.

There was an audience of about 20 and we distributed copies of the May SS article "1968, the revolution that failed". There were also free copies of the SS on display with many of our recent leaflets.

On reflection the 4 members that attended though that we hadn't got through to the audience, but that it was better than watching men running around a track on TV as most workers were doing that afternoon. Our comrade from Carlisle had been torn between attending the Book Fair in Glasgow or the literature stand at Edinburgh, he had chosen Glasgow but thought he had probably made the wrong choice.

For those comrades who asked that Vic go easy with them, he did just that, but if pointing out that some reforms may have some advantages to workers but they are not being given for workers’ benefit, and they don’t like it! Well, what do you do?

Yours for Socialism

Peter "