The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Friday, October 07, 2005

assumptions

I heard through the grapevine that VUWSA President Jeremy Greenbrook told students occupying at Vic to stop their protest and leave the building - can anyone confirm if this is the case?

My first thoughts were that this was not particularly surprising from a Labour person - my experience is that while there are some great Young Labour activists who do actually encourage grassroots activism and staunch opposition to the creeping privatisation of education, there are others who tend to stifle any radical responses from the student body because they are outside their comfort zone and don't gel with the "What do we want? Gradual improvement! When do we want it? Incrementally" ethos of Labour-in-Government.

Perhaps YLers of the ilk of Conor and Xavier could have a word in Mr Greenbrook's ear?

Update (12.30pm): Here's another Indymedia article which reports that Greenbrook urged the students to raise their concerns about the fees through him, rather than through protest, and that he was not going to come out against the fee proposal (yet) because he had to keep an open mind...

19 comments:

weizguy said...

For goodness sake. The legal process worked. What was the purpose of protest?

Isn't protest best reserved for when all other options have been exhausted?

span said...

what about protesting about the fee rise?!!

Kate said...

Span
Your post raises some interesting issues. It is important for Jeremy to give at least the impression that he has an open mind as a council member its his duty. However I dont think that you should stop students protesting as long as they are safe - I would have killed for that kind of activitism last year.
Student reps need other students to do actions like this and raise public interest in the cause.
Although the labour govt will not give all of these TEC exemptions (over 5% increases) its still really important to put pressure on the uni and the govt to provide stability in fees.
I can understand the university tactics though also - say that they need 10% increases to make a point about funding as they know they will only get 5% - this was a UofA tactic last year and I believe it will be this year also.

amanda said...

Ahh, the benefits of hindsight,ay Kate? I dont' know the full story but I do know I struggled with Council duties versus my role as a student re last year, preferring to distance myself from protest rather than stifle it. (Claiming I couldn't control my Exec often worked, and sometimes wasn't far from the truth!).
The injunction got more press for fee increases than any protest ever would have, but students should be unified against increases, not giving any appearance of divisiveness.

Kate said...

agreed.

Graham Watson said...

What a poor excuse for a leftist Jeremy Greenbook is, he won't even back his own protesting peers.

STC said...

Hahahahahaha - Graham Watson proves that no matter what you do, just their being leftwing is an excuse to criticize them.

STC said...

*what they do

gpjwatson said...

Not at all Stephen,

I have the utmost respect for lefties with integrity, and have indeed protested alongside some of them before.

People are entitled to their political views, they own them. That they may be different to mine illustrates the beauty of free thought.

However I have no time for student representatives who sell out the people they represent. My past is testimony to that, ask the folk who went before you.

Asher said...

Jeremy's efforts to stop the protest were pathetic - regardless of whether he was a "leftie" or a "rightie", he had no right to go in and say what he did.

The Doorman said...

he has an obligation to make sure that no one breaks the law when they are protesting

span said...

greg - why?

Asher said...

Greg - No he doesn't. It could be easily argued that he has an obligation to ensure HE does not break the law, and perhaps even stretching it to ensuring that no VUWSA exec member breaks it, but other than that it definately doesn't go any further.

Xavier said...

Has anyone actually asked Jeremy what his thoughts are, or are we content to just declare him a sell-out and a weak leftie in absentia? My preference is for the former...

Tony Milne said...

Funny, looking at the pictures on that blog half of them look like Young Labour activists...

BTW: I've started up my own blog. Feel free to have a look. My first post is on the Maori seats.

CutFoldGlue said...

*sigh* what has happened to student poltics.

If Auckland were to put forward 5-10% fee rises will/would you discourage protests Xavier?

Xavier said...

Absolutely not, having been on a protest or two about it myself.I just think it would be good to get Jeremy's comments on the situation before people cast him as a pariah. S'all :)

Jeremy Greenbrook-Held said...

This thread has run on a partial truth, and I feel I should explain myself a little with some of the background to this.

First and foremost, I thought the spontanious protest that erupted outside the Vice Chancellor's office was a good sign of things to come, especially heading into Fee Setting, although perhaps a little mixed as to it's purpose. To the best of my knowledge, it was the first student protest to get that far into the Hunter Building...

Emily (Salient editor) and I had spent much of the morning of that day trying to negociate a settlement with the university to get Salient on the newstands. This was very close to being signed when the protest outside the VC's office began.

My take on the situation was that it was demanding to get Salient back - I outlined to the protest the progress we had made, and that the protest was perhaps a little redundent. The protest then asked that I commit to voting against any fee increase, which, as Kate outlined, I would not do as it could be defined as a conflict of interest.

The protest then democratically decided to take the meeting to the Hunter Courtyard.

I sincerly hope that we can get a group as big as that to the actual fee setting meeting on Monday.

And, for the record, having just read the final fee setting document, and while retaining an open mind, I am currently unconvinced of the need for an increase in fees.

span said...

thanks for that explanation Jeremy, much appreciated. glad to hear you are unconvinced too and i wish you guys in Wellington all the best at defeating a fee increase.