Student occupation launches Museum of Post-Neoliberalism - London
Students occupying the empty School of African and Oriental Studies' property on Gordon Square renamed it The Bloomsbury Social Centre and held a small launch event to promote their conceptual "Museum of Post-Neoliberalisation". UK. 25th November 201
On 25.11.2011, University of London Union students occupying the long-abandoned Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art - owned by the School of Oriental and African Studies on Bloomsbury's Gordon Square (renamed "The Bloomsbury Social Centre" by the protesters) - held a modest launch event in the evening to promote their concept a "Museum of Post-Neoliberalism" and a "Gallery of Political memos", utilising several rooms filled with large glass display cabinets once used to display oriental ceramics.
Covering Politics, Society, Culture and the post-Lehman Brothers era, the Post-Neoliberalism Museum is intended to document the huge socio-political and concurrent cultural changes which have taken place over the last thirty years in the UK culminating in the disatrous events of the past two years which resulted in the World's biggest banks being bailed-out with billions of pounds of taxpayer's money, and almost destroying the global economy as the swingeing austerity cuts now being implemented by various Western governments to recover some of this money are still in the process of destabilising whole countries - so much so that this weekend it was leaked that the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has quietly drawn up contingency plans to deal with the chaos and rioting across Europe which is predicted to implode when or if the Euro finally collapses, including all embassies stocking up with many month's worth of food and water, emergency assistance for British citizens suddenly stranded across Europe as all modes of mass-transit grind to a complete halt, and financial assistance for British-owned companies employing British citizens on mainland Europe.
The students suddenly occupied the premises in Gordon Square which has lain empty for over three years on November 24th, and quickly released an online statement voicing their deep concern that whilst thousands of students in the capitol are finding it increasingly difficult to cope financially with not only the burden of huge Tuition Fees introduced by David Cameron's government but also the crippling expense of finding accomodation in London, premises like that at Gordon Square are being wasted. Owners of the building, the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) say they have plans to convert the building into a new post-graduate centre commencing in 2012 (which may or may not happen anytime in the next five years), but what has particularly angered the students is that SOAS intends to convert the entire top floor of this very large building into luxury accomodation for the newly-appointed Dean of Post-Graduate Studies. The new Dean will already very well remunerated which we, paying huge tuition fees are effectively bankrolling, say the students, and the top floor should instead be used to provide university students with cheap, affordable accomodation.
A spokesperson for the occupation, Aaron Peters, said that they estimate they will be able to occupy the building for around three months before SOAS finally removes them, and in the meanwhile they plan to use the building for a wide variety of purposes and projects, including providing spaces for local Bloomsbury residents who have already lost vital local amenities because of the government's painful spending cuts. Using the Twitter hashtag #socialbloom, proposed uses for the space include political discussion and mobilisation groups, a library, poetry and theatre performances, band rehearsals, workshops, talks, skillshares and film showings to name but a few.