Goldsmiths staff resume work as occupying students reach out to local community

Photo: Padraig Moran

Goldsmiths library staff have been allowed to resume work today by occupying students anxious to avoid alienating potential supporters to their campaign.

The library protest began on Monday night, with students refusing to leave the building when it closed at midnight. Staff arriving on Tuesday morning were prevented from working, but some library services were maintained using automated services.

The group had been accused of alienating other anti-cuts groups in the wider community with some criticising the decision to bar paid staff from entering the library.

James Haywood, the Goldsmiths SU officer at the centre of the anti-cuts movement, publicly left the occupation on Monday night over the students’ refusal to allow library workers to enter the building.

“For me this is not just a point of principle, but is politically and morally wrong,” he said.

“Blocking staff from working is at best substitutionism, and at worst is dividing the movement from the workers and potentially putting our struggle at odds with their own.”

But today, the ‘Occupation Goldsmiths’ group is allowing library staff to work as normal, turning their attention outward.

The group formed as a largely student-led reaction to the parliamentary vote on tuition fees, but is now seeking to unite with the local community under a broader anti-cuts banner.

An outreach group has been formed, inviting members of local community groups and unions to meet at the occupied library tonight at 7pm.

Leo Hatton from the Goldsmiths Occupation said: “We’re aware that these cuts won’t just be affecting students, but will cut deeply into public services across our community.

“If we are to defeat these cuts wholesale, rather than conduct a campaign that is narrowly focused upon our specific interests it is vital that we work together with existing campaign groups.”

The Community Outreach Group also plans to go into schools in the local area and raise awareness amongst younger students of the national fight against education cuts.

Yesterday’s coverage of the occupation, including a picture gallery, can be found here, for more coverage of anti-cuts demonstrations, see here.

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