Cambridge is one of the most unequal cities in the UK, and Cambridge University in particular is connected to a host of powerful networks: from providing research to arms companies, to pushing for the destruction of workers' pension schemes.
As student activists, we've seen the need to challenge this and build movements that push for a better future. To do this, we know that activist groups need to share information and skills, to explain key issues and to spread knowledge. But we've also seen what happens with the high turnover of students: when student activists leave, and successive generations of students have to find their way without a base to build on. We've seen what happens when a small group of activists burn out because their movements aren't broad enough to share the workload.
We want to change that, starting where we are.
To do this, we've produced a Disorientation Guide.
This is particularly targeted at incoming students, introducing them to various aspects of social movements in Cambridge and key issues/perspectives. The content of the Guide will give new (and returning) students an idea of the types of activism that happen in Cambridge, how they can get involved, who has organised what events coming up, and as a place to share skills between activist groups. One section features activist/organising groups in Cambridge, explaining who they are, what they do, and how to start organising with them.
This ranges from student-run societies pushing for full divestment from fossil fuels, to campaigns focused on breaking the university's links to the arms trade, to homeless support groups based in the city. We intend to use the momentum around organising in the national university strikes this year, and the push for Cambridge to divest from fossil fuels, to close the gap between the institution and wider social organising in the city and beyond.
For the Guide to be useful, we need to have this in time for the arrival of new students in Cambridge (particularly the big annual 'fresher's fair'), in the 1st week of October 2018. So – we're fundraising throughout this month (September) to be able to print the Guide for a launch next month.
We've already put the guide together, having spent the last month sourcing the content for the various campaigns, writing editorials, and designing the document.
We're still on schedule – at this stage, we just need to secure a bit more funding to have it printed in high quality at Footprint!
- £0: If we don't meet our goal: we're still producing the Guide, we just won't be able to print it. This means it'll probably only end up with people we already know, and we won't be able to draw in too many new activists. If we don't reach our crowdfunding goal, this is what we'll have to do. Oh no!
- 100%: £1100/€1230: At this level, we'll have met our absolute minimum goal, and we can print it with an online company. It'll probably not look as nice as Footprint (see below), but it'll be better than nothing.
- 120%: £1325/€1480: This would be great – here, we can afford to get a basic version of it printed in black&white with Footprint (www.footprinters.co.uk), a Leeds-based, worker-owned printing cooperative who are super cool. It'll look great, and we'll be supporting a great coop, paying them fairly for their labour.
- 140%: £1525/€1705: This is really the sweet spot: we'd be able to print with Footprint in the style and at the quality we want, paying them fairly for their labour– what's not to love.
If we get more money than that:
- We can afford to pay extra illustrators for their labour!
- Any funds we have beyond that will print more copies, and thereafter go towards producing a regular left magazine by making the Disorientation Guide an annual publication!
This is one part of our attempts to build a movement locally that can benefit those who live, study and work in Cambridge – while also recognising the impact of the university more widely and challenging the harm it does. We hope that some part of what we do will be of value to you: whether directly or indirectly, perhaps in linking students more with city-based activism, perhaps building more student support for the next UCU strike, perhaps enhancing our capacity to break the university's links with the arms trade – or simply because progressive movement-building is important no matter where it happens, and you want to support that.
Of course, once it's done we'll be sharing the Guide online and will link to it so you can access it and perhaps learn and contribute subsequently. Still, to build an activist base, we'll need to print it – so please contribute whatever money you can! If you can't support us financially, we would really appreciate it if you can pass this on to others who might be able to.
Either way, if you'd like to get involved or work with us to challenge social inequalities, domination and exploitation, please get in touch! We're doing this to build links, so we'd love to figure out ways we can support each other and collectively build a better world.
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