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Leon Rocha @acupunctureUSS
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* EXTREMELY ADAM CURTIS VOICE *

This is a story about an Edith Wharton scholar who became embroiled in the largest industrial action in the history of higher education in United Kingdom.

* SOON ON BBC STRIKE CHANNEL *

#USStrike #NoCapitulation @alicecbennett #HouseofMirth
1/ It is also about a small group of managers who shared a vision of universities built on the freedom of choice and the logic of the market.
2/ But that vision turned into an never-ending nightmare. A nightmare for university staff and for students.

* SOUNDTRACK KICKS IN: John Carpenter - *

#USSStrike #NoCapitulation
3/ And in turn, those managers found themselves trapped in a house of mirth. A world of enormous privilege and wealth that is ultimately superficial and meaningless.

#USSStrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
* EXTREMELY ADAM CURTIS VOICE *

4/ Our story begins at University of Warwick on 3 February 1970. Students occupied Central Administration, in protest at senior management breaking the promise to provide a Student Union building.

#USSStrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
5/ Warwick management then disciplined the students. One week later, the students returned and occupied the Registry. What happened next would transform our understanding of the function of British universities.

* SOUNDTRACK: Clint Mansell - Moon *
* ADAM CURTIS VOICE *

6/ In an unlocked cabinet in the Registry, the students discovered that Warwick management has been keeping detailed files on politically active students and university staff.

#NoCapitulation #USSStrike #HouseofMirth
7/ The files also revealed a complex web of interests and collusion between senior management, businessmen & industrialists, as well as politicians & legal enforcement.

* SOUNDTRACK: Pino Donaggio, "For the Last Time We'll Pray" (Carrie) *

#HouseofMirth
8/ The students passed on the shocking documents to the historian, socialist and activist E.P. Thompson (1924-1993), author of "The Making of the English Working Class" and Reader in Labour History at Warwick University.

#NoCapitulation #USSstrike

You're watching #HouseofMirth
9/ Thompson then wrote an article, published on 19 February 1970 in New Society magazine, entitled "The Business University". Thompson launched a devastating attack on the corruption at the heart of university senior management.

#NoCapitulation #USSstrike #HouseofMirth
10/ Thompson pointed out that senior management "had become so intimately enmeshed with the upper reaches of consumer capitalist society", that they are "actively twisting the purposes and procedures of the university".

#NoCapitulation #USSStrike #HouseofMirth
*ADAM CURTIS VOICE*

11/ Thompson suggested this was the dawn of a new kind of vice-chancellors, who saw themselves as "managing director[s] of a business enterprise" with limitless, unchecked power over universities.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
12/ E.P. Thompson then expanded his "New Society" article into a book, within one week. This was published by Penguin as "Warwick University Ltd: Industry, Management and the Universities" (1970).

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
13/ The Warwick Files brought to public attention for the first time the corruption and decay that was setting in British universities. It was a scandal. And it prompted protests in Manchester, Oxford and other institutions.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
14/ By the mid-to-late 1970s, senior management and powerful interests comprehensively won this battle. Students and university staff were suppressed, victimised and defeated. E.P. Thompson quit academia and became a nuclear disarmament activist.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike
15/ In 1979 Margaret Thatcher came to power. Quoting St Francis of Assisi at the front steps of Number 10 Downing Street, she said, "Where there is discord, may we bring harmony".

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
16/ You are watching BBC STRIKE. We are taking a short non-commercial break.

Please join us later for more of ADAM CURTIS' "THE HOUSE OF MIRTH".

* SOUNDTRACK: The Kills - Monkey 23 *

#USSStrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
17/ You are watching BBC STRIKE. We are now back for more ADAM CURTIS' "THE HOUSE OF MIRTH".

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
*EXTREMELY ADAM CURTIS VOICE*

18/ In this documentary, we are exploring the rise of academic managers who had the dream of building a new kind of universities based on the freedom of choice and the logic of the market.

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
19/ This dream turned into a nightmare for university staff, who suffer from ever worsening working conditions, and for students, who have become massively indebted.

* SOUNDTRACK: NIN - Right Where It Belongs *

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
20/ In the early 1970s, when UK universities were gripped by student and staff protests over local issues and international politics, Margaret Thatcher served as Secretary of State for Education in Ted Heath's government (1970-1974).

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
21/ As education secretary, Thatcher famously abolished free school milk for juniors in 1970, leading to her nickname "Margaret Thatcher Milk Snatcher".

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
22/ Thatcher hated universities. She thought it was hypocritical for academics to demand autonomy while funded by the state, and complained that students "had every decent value pounded out of them" by trendy anti-capitalist lecturers.

* Sex Pistols *
23/ And this hatred of universities drove Margaret Thatcher's higher education policies after she became Prime Minister in 1979, and especially after Keith Joseph (1918-1994) was appointed education secretary in 1981.

#USSStrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
24/ Before Thatcher, universities received one-third of their funding through Treasury grants distributed through a committee composed entirely of academics. The rest came from "Tuition Fees", paid by every student's local authority which then billed the Treasury.

#HouseofMirth
25/ In power, Thatcher implemented a draconian austerity programme in 1981. University grants committee was replaced by a funding council filled with non-academics. HE funding, dramatically scaled back, became tied to measurements of research & teaching "quality".

#HouseofMirth
26/ Thatcher encouraged universities to become more entrepreneurial and solicit funding from the private sector. This was the start of the insertion of business interests into Higher Education on an unprecedented scale.

* TRACK: John Carpenter The Fog *
27/ The language and logic of business infected British universities, particularly at senior management levels, who began to rule their institutions as though they were simply large companies.

#USSStrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
28/ What E.P. Thompson regarded as a "perversion" of education at the University of Warwick in 1970 was becoming the norm across the higher education sector in the Thatcher years.

* SOUNDTRACK: Dawn Of The Dead - Theme Song *

#HouseofMirth #USSStrike
29/ It was during that period of radical transformation of British universities that a young scholar researched the work of American writer Edith Wharton at the University of Warwick. Her name is Janet Beer.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
30/ Beer completed her PhD at Warwick in 1983. The demolition of university budgets by Thatcher and Keith Joseph meant that academic posts, particularly in the arts and humanities, were impossible to come by.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
31/ You are watching BBC STRIKE. We are taking a short non-commercial break.

Please join us later for more of ADAM CURTIS' "THE HOUSE OF MIRTH".

* SOUNDTRACK: Peggy Lee - Is That All There is *

#USSStrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
32/ You are watching BBC STRIKE.

We are now back for PART III of ADAM CURTIS' "THE HOUSE OF MIRTH".

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth @alicecbennett
*ADAM CURTIS VOICE*

33/ Janet Beer's PhD thesis, completed in 1983, was on American author Edith Wharton (1862-1937). It would become her first book, "Edith Wharton: Traveller in the Land of Letters" (1990).

* TRACK: Shigeru Umebayashi - Polonaise *
34/ Beer's work was part of a movement of feminist, revisionist literary scholarship. Beer debunked the myth that Edith Wharton was just an imitator of Henry James. Wharton should be celebrated as a formidable novelist in her own right.

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
35/ While a PhD student, Beer also won a prestigious postgraduate fellowship in literature at Yale University, where the critic Harold Bloom was in full bloom and theorist Paul de Man was very much in demand.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
*ADAM CURTIS VOICE*

36/ Despite these impeccable qualifications, Janet Beer, like many other scholars from her generation, could not secure an academic position. Universities were eviscerated by Margaret Thatcher and Keith Joseph's savage and ideological cuts.

#HouseofMirth
37/ Beer moved to London and worked as an administrator in the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) from 1983 to 1989. What happened next would shape Beer's outlook on politics and education.

* TRACK: The Clash - London Calling *

#HouseofMirth
38/ In 1979 the Labour Party, led by James Callaghan was defeated by Margaret Thatcher in the General Election. Callaghan resigned as Labour leader in 1980, and Michael Foot took over as Leader of the Opposition.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
39/ Michael Foot's leadership signaled Labour Party's swing to the left. By 1981, he was faced with a serious crisis. Four senior politicians on Labour's right-wing left and formed the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
40/ At the level of local government, councils had to implement the austerity cuts from Thatcher and Geoffrey Howe. British cities, especially those held by the Labour Party like Liverpool, were deliberately "left to rot" by the Tories.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
41/ In 1983, when Janet Beer started working at Inner London Education Authority (ILEA), Margaret Thatcher won her second general election by a landslide. Michael Foot resigned as leader of Labour Party, and was replaced by Neil Kinnock.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
42/ The landslide gave Thatcher carte blanche to implement austerity on steroids. Barely a month after the general election, the Tories announced even deeper cuts to public spending including all education.

*Philip Glass - Candyman *

#HouseofMirth
43/ Under brutal economic conditions, the ILEA (est. 1965, dissolved 1990) was a tremendously challenging environment to work in. It was led by Labour politicians Frances Morrell (1983-1987) and Neil Fletcher (1987-1990) when Janet Beer worked there.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike
44/ The ILEA, & its parent organisation Greater London Council, were part of the rate-capping rebellion in 1985. Labour-run councils resisted Thatcher's savage cuts by refusing to set budgets. The GLC rebellion was led by John McDonnell and Ken Livingstone.

#HouseofMirth
45/ Despite continual economic & political threats, the ILEA under the leadership of Frances Morrell (Tony Benn's advisor), managed to promote equality, anti-racism, sex education and gender consciousness in London's schools.

#HouseofMirth
46/ It is easy to see the influence of ILEA's commitments to equality and diversity in education on Janet Beer's political outlook.

* SOUNDTRACK: Brian Eno - Another Green World *

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
47/ Thatcher had hated the ILEA since the 1970s, seeing it as an overspending and inefficient bureaucracy that spread dangerous propaganda to children and young people. She was determined to abolish it. Thanks to Norman Tebbit and Michael Heseltine, she succeeded.

#HouseofMirth
48/ In 1988, it was announced that the ILEA would be abolished by 1990. Janet Beer said that it was "beginning to feel personal", because Thatcher's cuts had "put the kybosh" on her academic ambitions and now her managerial career too.

#HouseofMirth
49/ Labour leader Neil Kinnock believed the party had to capture the centre to improve its chances of winning a general election. And this meant embracing the world of business & abandoning socialist rhetoric & policies. Like many Labour supporters, Beer agreed.

#HouseofMirth
50/ Faced with the imminent closure of the ILEA, Janet Beer had to look for new employment. Despite being almost 7 years out of academia, Beer applied for academic jobs.

* TRACK: Xavier Cugat - Perifida *

#HouseofMirth #USSStrike #NoCapitulation
51/ Beer was offered a lectureship at Roehampton Institute (now University) in 1989. In 1990, Beer's first book on Edith Wharton was published. It was praised as setting the standard of Wharton criticism, and celebrated by Hermione Lee in the "Times Literary Supplement".
52/ Academics often shared a common disdain for bureaucracy, especially when it infringed on research and teaching time. Janet Beer, however, embraced management. In a 2013 interview, Beer said she was attracted by the process and systems of academia.

#HouseofMirth
*ADAM CURTIS VOICE*

53/ From 1989 to 1997, Janet Beer quickly rose through the ranks at Roehampton. She became Senior Lecturer, Principal Lecturer, and then Acting Head of English and Chair of Equal Opportunities.

*TRACK: Riz Ortolani - Oh My Love *
54/ In 1997-1998, Janet Beer moved to Manchester Metropolitan University to be its Head of Department of English.

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation

You're watching Adam Curtis' #HouseofMirth on BBC STRIKE
*EXTREMELY ADAM CURTIS VOICE*

55/ Meanwhile, in 1997

#USSSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
56/ Tony Blair led the Labour Party to a landslide victory in the 1997 General Election.

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
57/ "Spice Up Your Life", by the Spice Girls, was number 1 in the UK Singles Chart.

* TRACK: Spice Girls - Spice Up Your Life *

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
58/ The Member of Parliament for Maidenhead, Theresa May (Conservative), gave her maiden speech in the House of Commons, calling herself a "maiden" in the process.

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
59/ Tony Blair and the Secretary of Education David Blunkett introduced university tuition fees of £1,000 per year. The principle of free Higher Education in the United Kingdom was forever abandoned.

* Soundtrack: Natalia Imbruglia - Torn *

#HouseofMirth
60/ Tony Blair lied to the students. Just weeks before polling day in 1997, he said, "Labour had no plans to introduce tuition fees for higher education". Robin Cook had said the same. Two months after becoming Prime Minister, Blair went ahead and introduced them.

#HouseofMirth
61/ Stephen Dorrell (Conservative), the shadow education secretary, accused Blair and Blunkett of mounting a “shabby, opportunistic smash-and-grab raid on the budgets of low-income families".

* SOUNDTRACK: Soundgarden - Black Hole Sun *

#HouseofMirth
62/ The National Union of Students (NUS) warned, "Once the principle of free tuition is gone, there will be nothing to stop governments in the future asking students to pay a greater and greater contribution". Students protested in 14 cities across the country.

#HouseofMirth
63/ The Teaching & Higher Education Act of 1998 was passed into law, setting tuition fees of £1,000. Students starting university in Autumn 1998 were the first to have a tuition fee bill, which had to be paid "up front". There were protests at 150 universities.

#HouseofMirth
64/ The protests never stopped. In 1999 there were occupations at Oxford, Sussex, Goldsmiths, UCL, and others. Many refused to pay fees and some were harshly disciplined by university senior management.

*TRACK: Manic Street Preachers - A Design for Life *
65/ In 2000 students from Goldsmiths occupied the Department for Education's headquarters in London. The student spokesperson said, "Occupation is a way of empowering students".

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
66/ In the run-up to the 2001 General Election, David Blunkett pledged that he would not raise university tuition fees any further. The 2001 Labour Manifesto stated unambiguously, "We will not introduce 'top-up' fees and have legislated against them".

#HouseofMirth
67/ In 2001 Tony Blair secured another landslide victory. Estelle Morris replaced David Blunkett as Secretary for Education. Morris was then replaced by Charles Clarke in 2002. Rumours began to circulate that the Labour government would increase Tuition Fees.

#HouseofMirth
68/ At a Universities UK (UUK) conference in November 2002, Margaret Hodge told students that "there was no such thing as a free lunch".

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
69/ In 2003, the students were betrayed once again. Charles Clarke, a former NUS president, raises university tuition fees to £3,000. Universities UK (UUK), Vice-Chancellors and senior management welcomed the decision.

* Track: NIN - Head Like a Hole *
70/ 2003 was a year of protests: from the Anti-Iraq War rally in London to the Trafalgar Square demonstration against university tuition fees. Tony Blair and the government ignored both of these protests.

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
71/ Conservative politicians lined up to condemn Blair. Iain Duncan Smith said, the Tories would "scrap Labour’s tuition fees and stop top-up fees [...] Students won’t leave university saddled with a £30,000 debt". Others included Michael Howard and Damien Green.

#HouseofMirth
*ANGRY ADAM CURTIS VOICE*

72/ Gideon "George" Osborne, the Member of Parliament for Tatton, wrote in a letter dated 30 May 2003, that the Conservatives would "scrap tuition fees altogether when we are next in Government".

#HouseofMirth #NoCapitulation #USSstrike
73/ In 2005, David Cameron became Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition.

#HouseofMirth #NoCapitulation #USSstrike
74/ On 9 January 2006, David Cameron visited Chalvedon School and Sixth Form College in Basildon in Essex. In front of a politics class filled with 17- and 18-year olds, David Cameron did something extraordinary.

#HouseofMirth #NoCapitulation #USSstrike
75/ After 9 years of claiming that they would scrap university tuition fees, David Cameron said in front of these Essex students that the Conservative Party would keep fees after all. This announcement was welcome by Universities UK (UUK).

#HouseofMirth
76/ On 4 April 2008, another unexpected event happened that shocked students across the nation.

#HouseofMirth #NoCapitulation #USSstrike
77/ The National Union of Students (NUS), which represented 7 million UK students, dropped its opposition to university tuition fees after campaigning against them for 11 years.

* TRACK: Julian Winding - The Demon Dance *

#HouseofMirth #NoCapitulation
78/ The NUS president at that time was a Cambridge graduate called Wes Streeting, who called Tony Blair "his personal hero". In 2015, Streeting became Labour MP for Ilford North.

#HouseofMirth #NoCapitulation #USSstrike
79/ In the run-up to the 2010 General Election, the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg promised to scrap university tuition fees.

#HouseofMirth #NoCapitulation #USSstrike
80/ You are watching BBC STRIKE. We are taking a short non-commercial break.

Please join us later for more of ADAM CURTIS' "THE HOUSE OF MIRTH".

* SOUNDTRACK: Brad Fiedel - The Terminator *

#USSStrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
81/ You are watching BBC STRIKE.

We are now back for ADAM CURTIS' "THE HOUSE OF MIRTH".

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
82/ * Music plays *

* SOUNDTRACK: Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here *

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
83/ * Music plays *

And did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange
A walk on part in the war
For a leading role in a cage?

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
84/ The 2010 General Election resulted in a hung parliament. The Conservatives, led by David Cameron, formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, led by Nick Clegg. Cameron became Prime Minister, while Clegg became Deputy Prime Minister.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike
85/ Before the General Election, Nick Clegg repeatedly said he wanted to abolish university tuition fees. But this was a lie.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
*ADAM CURTIS VOICE*

86/ When the Lib Dems formed a government with the Tories, Clegg supported proposals to triple the cost of fees to a maximum of £9,000 a year. The betrayal of students and young people was complete.

* TRACK: 28 Days Later - *
87/ Leaked internal documents revealed that the Liberal Democrats had actually abandoned their university tuition fee pledge long before the General Election, in direct contradiction to all of Nick Clegg's public pronouncements.

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
88/ Government ministers, including David Willetts, reassured students that £9,000 would be an upper limit for university tuition fees and that the maximum charge would only apply in "exceptional circumstances".

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
89/ The government wanted to turn their ideology of an educational marketplace into reality. The spirit of competition and choice in which students could choose from a range of educational products at a range of prices--maximum £9,000--in the education supermarket.

#HouseofMirth
90/ But this was a fantasy. It soon emerged that the maximum £9,000 fees would be charged by almost all universities. Vice Chancellors and senior management (led by Universities UK), as well as powerful business and political interests, essentially colluded in price-fixing.
91/ A marketplace of higher education was indeed established, but it was not on the basis of university tuition fees. The market functioned by the number of students a university can attract.

#HouseofMirth
*ADAM CURTIS VOICE*

92/ Meanwhile, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), students in England graduate with average debts of £50,800. The poorest students will graduate with debts of over £57,000.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
93/ And to justify and naturalise this state of affairs, politicians, businessmen, vice-chancellors and senior management (led by Universities UK), and some academics, intensified the promotion of a virulent idea: the idea of "student as consumers".

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike
94/ Students are encouraged to see themselves as consumers, choosing the best university, investing in the best degree, in order to purchase their own future: a future of great jobs and opportunities.

*TRACK: Pet Shop Boys - Shopping *

#HouseofMirth
*ADAM CURTIS VOICE*

95/ According to a 2017 study of 1,000 students, 47% students now see themselves as "consumers" in a higher education marketplace.

#NoCapitulation #USSstrike #HouseofMirth
96/ The consumerist ideology is a perversion of education. The ideal of education as a public good, imparting lifelong knowledge & skills to younger generations who will improve society & communities (& therefore should be funded by taxation)--this ideal has become suppressed.
97/ In the 2018 #USSstrike, we begin to witness students rejecting the ideology of choice, they wanted community and solidarity in universities, not ping-pong tables or new buildings. Most of all, students wanted society to invest in education and learning for all.

#HouseofMirth
98/
*SOUNDTRACK: Brian Eno - Becalmed *

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation

You're watching Adam Curtis' #HouseofMirth on BBC STRIKE.
*EXTREMELY ADAM CURTIS VOICE*

99/ Meanwhile, in Manchester Metropolitan University, from the late-1990s to the mid-2000s...

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
100/ Janet Beer was appointed Professor & Head of English at Manchester Met in 1998. As somebody who embraced management and leadership, Beer was quickly promoted to Pro Vice Chancellor & Dean of Humanities in 2002.

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth @ULivUCU2
101/ Beer sat in many national bodies, including the Higher Education Academy & Quality Assurance Agency. She also acted as specialist advisor in the House of Commons Education and Skills Select Committee.

*Donna Summer - I Feel Love *

#HouseofMirth
102/ In 2007, Oxford Brookes University was looking for a new Vice-Chancellor. The head hunters came for Janet Beer.

#HouseofMirth #NoCapitulation #USSstrike
103/ You are watching BBC STRIKE. We are taking a short non-commercial break.

Please join us later for more of ADAM CURTIS' "THE HOUSE OF MIRTH".

* TRACK: John Carpenter - Starman *

#USSStrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
104/ Janet Beer was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University in 2007. According to Oxford Brookes' 2008-9 financial statement, Beer's annual salary plus pension contributions (Teachers' Pension Scheme TPS, not USS) amounted to £228,000.

#USSstrike #HouseofMirth
105/ In 2008 Shami Chakrabarti, barrister and the director of advocacy group Liberty (from 2003 to 2016), became Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University. She would serve in this role until 2015.

#USSstrike #HouseofMirth #NoCapitulation
*EXTREMELY ADAM CURTIS VOICE*

106/ When appointed in 2007, Janet Beer was one of only 16 women vice-chancellors in the United Kingdom.

* SOUNDTRACK: LCD Soundsystem - Great Release *

#USSstrike #HouseofMirth #NoCapitulation
107/ Janet Beer considered her appointment at Oxford Brookes, reaching the upper echelons of university senior management, and becoming a top 1% earner in the United Kingdom, as a victory for diversity and for women.

#USSstrike #HouseofMirth #NoCapitulation
108/ Beer "criticised the mentality of women in the workplace, arguing that they are backwards in putting themselves forward for positions". She emphasies "mentality and hardwork". This outlook is parallel to what Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook CEO) has called in 2013 as "leaning in".
109/ In 2013-2014, University and College Union (UCU) members took part in industrial action and action short of a strike (ASOS) in response to Higher Education employers' failure to make a proper pay offer.

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
110/ The Senior Management at Oxford Brookes University, under the leadership of Vice-Chancellor Janet Beer, docked a full day's pay despite staff only walking out for two hours.

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
111/ Beer was appointed Vice-Chancellor of University of Liverpool, a member of the so-called "Russell Group" of elite UK universities, in February 2015.

* SOUNDTRACK: John Carpenter - Assault on Precinct 13 *

#USSstrike #HouseofMirth #NoCapitulation
*EXTREMELY ADAM CURTIS VOICE*

112/ In August 2017, Janet Beer became President of Universities UK (UUK). A semi-clandestine organisation that represents 136 universities in the United Kingdom. UUK is not subjected to the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

#HouseofMirth
113/ In January 2018, Janet Beer has become Professor Dame Janet Beer for her services to Higher Education and equality and diversity.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
114/ In February 2018, an Event happened. An "Event" that, as philosophers would have it, retroactively created its own cause, and how a thorough study of the "Event" could reveal truths about our society--in this case, our universities.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike
115/ The United Kingdom saw the largest industrial action in the history of Higher Education. Phase 1 involved 42,000 university staff (lecturers, librarians and many others), at 64 universities, went on strike for 14 days.

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
*ADAM CURTIS VOICE*

116/ University senior management hunkered down expecting the strikes to be over quickly. But it didn't. It carried on, and on, and on.

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
117/ The industrial action shapeshifted into a social movement.

* SOUNDTRACK: Manic Street Preachers - Everything Must Go *

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
118/ EVERYTHING MUST GO.

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth
119/ Sociologists use the term "responsibilisation" to describe the transfer of responsibility (e.g. healthcare) from higher authorities (e.g. government) to individuals who are then called on to resolve their own issues and problems with their own resources.

#HouseofMirth
120/ "Responsibilisation" often go hand-in-hand with ideological austerity and cuts in public spending. A government might cut national healthcare budgets, and then tell citizens and patients that they must take care of themselves with their own means.

#HouseofMirth
121/ Another example of "responsibilisation" is terminating free higher education, then telling students that they must take on enormous debt for their university degrees, because students are "investing" or "purchasing" their own future.

#HouseofMirth
122/ A further example of "responsibilisation" is cutting pensions, under the pretext of "flexibility" and "freedom", then telling workers they must provide for themselves in their old age. Universities UK's rhetoric is precisely this.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
123/ This kind of "responsibilisation" talk is nonsense. More often than not, it is mere window-dressing for what is essentially theft.

*TRACK: Nine Inch Nails - Mr Self Destruct *

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
124/ In a previous documentary thread "A Quiet Violence", co-written with Alice Bennett @alicecbennett, we explored the reasons behind universities, UUK and USS's desire to "de-risk" university staff pensions.



#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
125/ "De-risking" staff pensions allows big and powerful universities to borrow more money speculatively to fund more aggressive expansion. They can take on more fee-paying students, bring in even more income for management, and kill off the smaller competitors.

#HouseofMirth
126/ Janet Beer, as President of UUK, was at the heart of this project. She had the power to appoint members to the UUK Board. She brought in David Eastwood (Birmingham), Alan Langlands (Leeds), Sally Mapstone (St Andrew's) and Louise Richardson (Oxford).

#HouseofMirth
127/ These Vice-Chancellors all favour "de-risking" and have adopted some of the most hawkish and aggressive attitude in the whole dispute over pensions.

* Track: John Carpenter - The Fog *
128/ Since the rise of university Tuition Fees to £9,000 in 2010, senior management pay and Vice-Chancellor renumeration packages have dramatically risen. While university staff's pay has decreased in real terms.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
129/ According to University of Liverpool's Financial Statement 2016-2017, Janet Beer was paid £363,000. This makes Beer in the 0.1% of top earners in the United Kingdom.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
*ADAM CURTIS VOICE*

130/ Since the industrial action began, Janet Beer has not entered into meaningful dialogue with staff and students at the University of Liverpool, despite many sincere and heartfelt pleas to enter into dialogue.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
131/ On 21 March 2018, in the middle of an industrial dispute, senior management at University of Liverpool, led by Janet Beer, announced a voluntary severance programme for academic staff, which would become compulsory redundancy if the quota of 220 were not met.

#HouseofMirth
132/ In 2002, Janet Beer wrote the introduction to the new Wordsworth edition of Edith Wharton's classic novel THE HOUSE OF MIRTH (first published in the United States in 1905).

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
133/ The title of Wharton's novel was a reference to Ecclesiastes 7:4, "The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the HOUSE OF MIRTH".

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
134/ In the context of Wharton's novel, MIRTH refers to the frivolity of a social set that worships money, and uses it ostentatiously for its own amusement and aggrandisement. It was Wharton's devastating attack on the privileged Old New York Society.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike
135/ In 1970 the historian E.P. Thompson, writing about the Warwick Secret Files, was distressed with the creation of the "business university". In 1980, under Margaret Thatcher, the "business university" was becoming the norm.

#HouseofMirth
136/ By 2000s, and especially under the Conservatives, E.P. Thompson's nightmare became something actively celebrated by businessmen, many politicians, and a whole "managerial class" that currently rules universities across the nation.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
*ADAM CURTIS VOICE*

137/ And in each "business university" (E.P. Thompson's phrase), there is a house of power, or "HOUSE OF MIRTH", that sits right in the middle.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
138/ This HOUSE OF MIRTH is a terrifying presence, consuming the university workers and students around it. Inside the house you can find senior management and vice-chancellors. The HOUSE OF MIRTH is haunted by so many ghosts of former academics.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike
139/ The HOUSE OF MIRTH must be pulled down.

#HouseofMirth #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
140/ CREDITS

Written by Leon Rocha
Narrated by Leon Rocha in an Adam Curtis voice

All opinions & interpretations my own
Based on many picket line conversations
Apologies to Adam Curtis (BBC)

*TRACK: Manic Street Preachers - Everlasting *

#HouseofMirth
141/141 END

You've been watching Adam Curtis' "THE HOUSE OF MIRTH" on BBC Strike

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation #HouseofMirth

Another University is possible.
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*IN LEON ROCHA VOICE, NOT ADAM CURTIS*

I hasten to add that, if I'm not directly acknowledging/citing the people whose ideas and chats have gone into THE HOUSE OF MIRTH, it's because I don't wish to get you into trouble for what I've said! But you know who you're.

❤️❤️❤️
All the music used in THE HOUSE OF MIRTH #houseofmirth in a YouTube Playlist youtube.com/playlist?list=…

#Houseofmirth #NoCapitulation #USSstrike
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