Not guilty verdict for Alfie and Zak

A vindication for the student protest movement and an embarrassment for the Metropolitan police, which should never have made this charge in the first place. Would Alfie have been charged if he had not been hit? Surely it has never been clearer: no.

Bravo to Alfie and Zak for their fortitude, and solidarity with all their supporters.

This site will go quiet now, as the Middlesex Philosophy department is no more. Thank you to everyone for their support during the critical times of 2010-11. Some of the execs responsible for the closure of the department have moved on, the Trent Park campus pictured on this website no longer exists, and the university has a new badge, a coat of arms with a crown and three swords. Here we are, in an absurd reality where it costs £9000 a year to go to university. The student protests of 2010-11 will be remembered as a blast of collective common sense before lunacy prevailed.

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Protest in support of Alfie Meadows on the first day of his re-trial, Monday 11 February

See Defend the Right to Protest for details about the protest in support of Alfie at his second re-trial, on Monday 11th February, 9am, Woolwich Crown Court (2 Belmarsh Road, Thamesmead, London SE28 0EY).

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Protest in support of Alfie Meadows on the first day of his re-trial, Monday 29th October

From Defend the Right to Protest:

Protest in support of Alfie Meadows on the first day of his re-trial, Monday 29th October, Woolwich Crown Court:

2 Belmarsh Road, Thamesmead, London SE28 0EY

On the 9th December 2010, thousands of students took part in a national demonstration against £9K tuition fees.

Alfie Meadows came to protest against his philosophy department closing at the Middlesex University, as well as the trebling of fees and scrapping of EMA. He was struck so hard on the head with a police baton that he needed emergency brain surgery.

Alfie lost his university department and when he protested he received a life threatening injury. However, outrageously Alfie has been charged with violent disorder. This is part of a larger pattern of attacks on protests in which hundreds of students have been arrested, and scores either charged or sentenced to long terms in prison.

Although Alfie’s trial began on the 26th March 2012, the jurors failed to reach a verdict in his case, while three of his co-defendants were cleared of violent disorder.

The outcome of the trial means that Alfie’s struggle for justice is not over. But the trial itself has helped to expose the use of violent police tactics on protests, and the criminalisation of protesters, which need to be challenged.

Now, Alfie must once again face trial on the 29th October and we shall continue to support his fight for justice, demand that the charges be dropped, and will stand with him in solidarity outside the court on the 29th October.

(http://www.defendtherighttoprotest.org/justice-for-alfie-meadows)

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Petition for Alfie Meadows

[From Mdx anti-cuts group:]

There are 7 weeks until Alfie’s trial. Join the call for the charges to be dropped NOW. Alfie nearly died after being struck with a police baton during the 2010 anti-fees protest. He should not be facing prison.

1. Sign the petition calling for the charges against Alfie to be dropped and circulate it as widely as possible.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/justice-for-alife-meadows/

2. Come to the “Stand up for Justice” public forum on Monday 5th March, 7pm, Friends Meeting House. Speakers include: Imran Khan (Campaigning Lawyer & solicitor for the Lawrence family), Alfie Meadows (student defendant), Frank Fernie (imprisoned protester, now free!) Liam Burns (NUS President), Maggie Mitchell (parent of imprisoned student), Marcia Rigg (Sean Rigg Justice & Change campaign), Jelena Timotijevic (DTRTP), Rob Evans (Guardian journalist).

3. Protest in support of Alfie Meadows, first day of his trial, Monday 26th March, 9am @ Kingston Crown Court, 6-8 Penrhyn Road, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2BB.

4. Support the Defend the Right to Protest (DTRTP) campaign. If you are in a trade union or campaign group pass a motion in support, affiliate to the campaign and send a donation.

Event page for solidarity demonstration at Alfie’s trial: https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/270548723014910/

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Hegel Now? Workshop Thursday 5 May

Hegel Now?

Workshop at the Philosophy Department, Thursday 5 May 2011.

Saloon, Mansion Building, Trent Park campus, 2.45-9.00pm

Immediacy is reality; language is ideality; consciousness is contradiction. The moment I make a statement about reality, contradiction is present, for what I say is ideality. (Søren Kierkegaard, Johannes Climacus, Hong translation, 168).

Society is divided, and the social order is riddled with contradictions. Does Hegelian philosophy provide the basic method for understanding the way societies are structured by their own contradictions? Is it possible to be a Hegelian now? Could it even be necessary to be a Hegelian now? Or is it impossible to be a Hegelian, especially now? And what is a Hegelian? This workshop will assess the ongoing relevance of Hegelian thought for the 21st century.

Schedule

2.45. Welcome

3.00. Ali Alizadeh, ‘Why Hegel Now?’

4.00. Slavoj Žižek, ‘Is it Still Possible to be a Hegelian Today?’

6.00. Break

6.30. Katerina Deligiorgi, ‘Hegelian Individualism’.

8.00. Ian Jakobi, ‘The Lacerated Dialectic: On Madness and Subjectivity in Hegel’s Encyclopaedia

Place:  Room M004 (Saloon), Mansion Building, Middlesex University, Trent Park campus, Bramley Road, London N14 4YZ.

Tube: Piccadilly line to Oakwood station, free bus to campus.

Attendance is free. All welcome.

Further enquiries: c.kerslake@mdx.ac.uk

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Police charge Alfie Meadows

The Metropolitan police have charged Alfie Meadows, Middlesex philosophy student, with ‘violent disorder’, after bludgeoning him with a baton at the student demonstration in London on 9th December 2010.

There is an ongoing IPCC investigation into this assault by the police. The charge gives every appearance of being an attempt to discredit a victim of police violence in advance of the IPCC findings.

The official response of the police is disturbing enough. For further insight into the state of mind of some members of the police in Britain 2011, follow these links, with their attached comments:

http://inspectorgadget.wordpress.com/2011/01/07/where-is-alfie-meadows-now/

http://inspectorgadget.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/alfie-meadows-charged-with-violent-disorder-shock/

Apparently, rumour-mongering, crass insinuation, personal abuse, malice, callousness and general contempt for the public are acceptable forms of behaviour from the police today, as long as they are carried out anonymously. The comments on this website suggest that some members of the police have completely lost their moral compass.

Statement from Alfie’s solicitor, Sarah McSherry:

Alfie Meadows sustained brain injury having been struck on the head with a baton by a Metropolitan Police officer at a protest about tuition fees on 9 December 2010. That assault is the subject of an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, (IPCC). The IPCC are also examining the decision making process by the Metropolitan Police Service which led to Alfie and other young people being placed at risk of significant harm. It is anticipated that the IPCC investigation will conclude shortly. Yesterday the Metropolitan Police charged Alfie with violent disorder. Alfie strongly denies the charge and will plead not guilty.

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Philosophy at London Metropolitan University under threat

[Shutdown of philosophy in London continues. From philosophers at LMU:]

Closure of Philosophy at LMU

A meeting of London Metropolitan University’s Academic Board yesterday approved proposals for the closure of Philosophy, along with its fellow Humanities subjects, History and Performing Arts – that is to say, it decided that they will not recruit from 2012/2013. This decision was extremely sudden. Until Tuesday evening of this week, when colleagues on Academic Board received papers for the coming meeting, it seemed that these courses were to be preserved. This was not the decision of the Faculty, which proposed to continue these courses, but of central management.

The ground for the decision was ostensibly that of prospective profitability. However, neither Faculty nor central management have been willing to divulge the figures or the modelling methods used to reach this decision. Crude calculations on the basis of existing student numbers suggest that the University actually will lose more income than can be possibly saved in redundancies. This supposition is supported by the fact that when asked at the sub-committee of the Board of Governors meeting last night how much the cuts were expected to save, the Director of Finance replied that they had not yet made that calculation.

Philosophy has been taught at LMU and its predecessor institutions (the University and Polytechnic of North London) since the 1960’s, and has offered a Single Honours degree since 1973. Since the 1980’s, the course has been distinguished by the fact that it provides equal coverage of both Analytic and European philosophy. Although it is now smaller than in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, it still maintains this breadth of coverage.

Philosophy is extremely popular among its students and in last year’s Guardian student satisfaction survey came 29th out of 47 – far higher than the University overall.

The decision to close History and Performing Arts is just as shocking as the decision to close Philosophy. History also achieves a far better than average satisfaction ranking – 48th out of 93, and Performing Arts is widely regarded as providing training at least as good as the Royal Colleges. The cutting of these three courses, even with student instant payday loans available to pay for the classes, following the decisions made earlier this year to close several other Humanities courses, leaves only a small rump of surviving courses, which will almost certainly be absorbed into other Faculties. It therefore seem likely that LMU will in a very few years be a University without Humanities. This is therefore another instance of that alarming trend, whereby, not only philosophy, but also other Humanities courses are deemed inappropriate for students in the post-1992 Universities.

It is still possible that pressure from inside and outside the University will prompt reconsideration of this decision. If you wish to register a protest, please email:

Prof Malcolm Gillies, Vice Chancellor – m.gillies@londonmet.ac.uk

Roddy Gallacher, Dean of Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Languages and Education – r.gallacher@londonmet.ac.uk

With thanks in advance for your support,

Jim Grant, Course Leader

Dr Adam Beck, Senior Lecturer

Dr Chris Ryan, Senior Lecturer

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