Billy Bragg visits Nottingham Uni occupationTagged as: culture cuts
Neighbourhoods: nottingham university
Published by group: Anarchist Federation, Nottinghamshire
Singer songwriter Billy Bragg visited the ongoing occupation at the University Nottingham the day after his gig at Rock City. He had also visited Nottingham Prison to see the results of his project to make guitars available to inmates. He arrived just as the 1pm daily meeting of the occupation was starting.
Inside the Great Hall surrounded by a seated audience of well over a hundred people he spoke passionately for the present action and against cynicism. He was full of admiration for the students' struggles over the past weeks and described students as being the 'front line' now and was positive about the events at Millbank. He stressed that the 1980s when he played miners' support gigs with Red Wedge were about Cold War ideology when left and right were clearly demarked and that now we are in a post-ideological world. The terms marxist or trotskyist are no longer relevant and hark back to a time of sectarianism that should not be revisited, and that 1968 was last century. He argued for socialism as compassion, not as ideology, although still in terms of a society with a state where we all pay taxes and have pensions, one that ensures we all have access to free healthcare. He talked about what had been lost since the post-war settlement and in particular about the loss of free education.
Billy Bragg may never find the words to say the 'a' word (anarchist) in a positive way and his vision of post-capitalist society may still be one of conventional state-run society with police and with a heavy dose of English 'civic' nationalism (not mentioned on this occasion), but all in all this was a speech full of pride of what has been achieved by students over the last month to get opposition the cuts well and truly going. And the audience treated him with a standing ovation.