Massive day of strikes and action against government cuts and attacks on pensions.

Students and educational workers were yesterday heavily involved in a day of strikes, pickets, occupations and protests in response to Westminster’s proposed pension changes and ideological dismantling of public services.
The day began early, at around 6am, when unknown groups of activists super glued locks and entrances to buildings around Edinburgh University campus. Doors to the David Hume Tower, Crystal Macmillian Building, Main University Library and George Square lecture theatre were, among a number of others, glued shut in an effort to stop the building being opened on a strike day. The University were yet to comment on their response to this action and its effects on building closure, but one source who works for the Uni and wishes to remain anonymous said the lockdown caused ‘maximum disruption’ and security staff ‘went mental’.
Banners were dropped from the medical school and anonymous pro-strike graffiti was found to be on a number of walls around the University.

Around 80 students who had been taking part in the Appleton Tower occupation ended their stay at 6.30am to join pickets and actions around the city – with many meeting more activists from the city to join an open top ‘Battle Bus’ which toured around various pickets from 7am till 9.30am, distributing coffee, hot rolls and support to picketers. This bus, organised by a number of students and activists from the Edinburgh branch of the Coalition Of Resistance, was enthusiastically received at pickets at the Scottish Parliament, the Tollcross Job Centre, Tynecastle High School and Edinburgh College of Art amongst others.

Morning pickets at Kings Buildings, Moray House, Charles Stewart House, Old College, New College, Main Library, Teviot Place and Edinburgh College of Art were well attended by students and lecturers alike, with many potential picket crossers engaging in discussion with those on strike and choosing to turn back in solidarity with the strike throughout the day.
A crowd of lecturers, tutors, library workers and students gathered at 10am outside the main university library to take part in a ‘Teach Out’ with speeches, songs and poems from supportive academics, union workers and students.

This moved to a student feeder rally in Bristo Square, where around 300 students gathered in order to join the main union rally near Edinburgh Castle. This main protest march, as part of the STUC’s ‘Day of Action for Pension Justice’, saw workers, families, students and claimants numbering at least 20,000 march from Edinburgh Castle to Scottish Parliament. Despite an early start for many, the student part of the march was full of life and energy, with sit downs in the road, a constant supply of innovative chanting and a real sense of change in the air.

By the time the march was coming to an end reports were already coming in of an occupation at the Forest Cafe church hall space, which has been empty since the community cafe and social centre which previously resided there was forced out by new owners following the University of Edinburgh Settlement’s fraudulent collapse into bankruptcy.
People from within the occupation tonight released this statement:

‘We are occupying the Forest Café. We need people. There’s free access so far but as soon as the police manage to get in contact with owners they will probably not let anybody in. Please, if you can spend the night come ASAP. with bedding. please bring extra bedding with you so people inside do not need to risk going out and not being let in again.
and if you can’t come, it’d be a massive help if you could drop any type of bedding .’

More info at Indymedia. 

This comes as George Osborne and the Con-Dem coalition declare all-out war on workers; with an extra 310,000 public sector job losses, a new pay cap to follow current wage freezes and the implentation of local rather than national pay rates alongside the current plans to drastically damage public pension provision. All this, as the Government’s decision to implement deep, pro-market spending cuts plunges the nation into the worst economic outlook since the end of the Second World War. Students and workers understand that these measures effectively amount to a right-wing destruction of our public services and yesterday they took action as part of the largest UK strike in decades in a huge show of solidarity, anger and hope.

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Picket information for tomorrow morning

Bit last minute, but here’s some details for the morning – see you bright and early!

Edinburgh peeps – help support the picket, help make this strike as successful as possible.

Here is the information for people who want to go and picket tomorrow morning in support of their lecturers, university staff and other fellow students in defending education and attacks on pensions. 

Contact the named people with any questions, to get an idea about numbers or find out what things might be useful to bring along. Pickets officially start at 8.30am, but people need to go down earlier to the Teviot Place picket as this is where the post gets delivered.

Spread the word!

KB Corner – Ali -07725033485
Just near this –

Moray House – Mike W 07917356036

Charles Stewart House – Max 07793652131

Old College (Front and Back) – Innes 07908783366

New College – Aurora 07427177800

Main Library – Kate – 07917858961

Teviot Place – Mike S – 07540248868

ECA Front and back – Abi – 07840474721

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Events in the next few days


5.30pm Appleton Tower lobby
‘Musical Chairs’ Discussion Groups
Small group chats about: the White Paper, feminism, anarchism, the rights of addicts, radical journalism, the labour movement in Egypt, radical education. We’ll rotate so you can go to a few! (Hence the ‘musical chairs’ title.)


7pm ‘An Introduction to the Strikes and Why We Should Support Them!’ Appleton Tower Lecture Theatre 5


6.45am Coalition of Resistance open top ‘Battle Bus’ going round picket lines leaving at 7am from Appleton Tower – meet at 6.45am outside Appleton

10am Teach Out – outside George Square Library. Speakers will include lecturers, students and local campaigners.

11.30am – Student Feeder for N30 march – Support the Strikes. Starting from Bristo Square.

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Wise words from our resident Soup Dragon

Soup Dragon presents soup


At something like an occupation or a picket line, hot food works wonders for morale. The problem is, they usually take place in locations that are a bit short of cooking facilities, but with a bit of planning, it’s actually quite easy to arrange a supply of home-made food. Most people will have all of the necessary equipment sitting around at home anyway, and since you can make a huge pot of soup for less than £5, it works out a lot cheaper than buying everyone a takeaway.

I’ve included recipes for two variations on lentil soup, because it’s very straightforward, the ingredients are cheap, and it doesn’t contain anything which people are likely to be allergic to. In general, soup is a good choice because you only need a mug or a disposable cup to drink it out of, so you don’t have to worry about finding cutlery.

Remember, if you’re planning to take food (or any other supplies) to a picket or occupation, it’s often a good idea to get in touch with them first. Someone else might already have offered to bring them dinner, or maybe they’re up to their eyes in biscuits, but could really use some more cups. Surprises are fun, but they aren’t always useful.


  • A really big soup pot with a lid
  • Stick blender or potato masher
  • Blankets or clean clothes for insulation
  • A bag large enough to hold both
  • Ladle
  • Paper or polystyrene cups

Basic Lentil Soup

A vegetarian version of Mammy Soup Dragon’s old recipe. Makes about 6-7 litres of soup.


  • 500-600g of red lentils
  • 2kg of carrots
  • 3 onions
  • Vegetable stock powder/cubes (dairy and gluten free if possible)
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Rinse the lentils and put them in the pot and add water so that the lentils are covered in about 10cm of water. Start bringing the water to the boil – this will take a while because of the quantities involved.
  2. Chop the onions and add them to the pot.
  3. Peel and chop the carrots, throwing them into the pot as you go. This may take a while, so find some comrades to help you if you can.
  4. Add sufficient stock for the volume of soup (this will vary according to the type you’re using).
  5. Stir occasionally to stop anything from sticking to the bottom of the pot. The lentils will absorb water as they cook, so you may need to add more.
  6. When the carrots are soft, blend the soup until it is smooth. If you don’t have a blender, you could mash it instead.
  7. Add the parsley, salt and pepper.

Spicy Tomato Lentil Soup

This one’s a bit more complicated, and it could be expensive if you don’t already have a well-stocked spice rack. Makes 5-6 litres of soup.


  • 2 onions
  • 5/6 cloves of garlic
  • Vegetable oil
  • 3 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • Up to 1kg of carrots
  • 3 cups lentils
  • Stock powder/cubes
  • Half a tube of tomato puree
  • About 1 tsp each of chilli powder, coriander, cumin, ginger & smoked paprika (or substitute other spices, depending on your own taste and what’s available)
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Chop the onions and garlic.
  2. Fry the onions over a low heat in a generous amount of oil until they’re almost translucent, then add the garlic, and when that’s cooked, add the spices.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the pot, and give them a bit of a mash. You don’t want a completely smooth texture, just a smaller tomato chunks.
  4. Rinse the lentils and throw them into the pot. Top it up with water, add the stock and tomato puree, the leave it to simmer.
  5. Peel and chop the carrots, and add those.
  6. Cook until the carrots and lentils are soft.
  7. Add parsley, salt, pepper, and maybe a bit more of some of the spices.

Transporting Hot Food:

It takes a long time for a large volume of soup to go cold, but there are a few basic principles you can apply to maximise the length of time it stays really hot, and to make it easier to transport.

Use something to hold the lid in place on top of the pot. The contents will slosh around and knock the lid off if you don’t.
This can be achieved with string, or with with a folded-up tea towel wrapped around the handles.

Affixing the lid with a tea-towel

You need to insulate the bag you’re carrying your food in, so that there is padding around the pot on every side. This keeps the heat in, and it also means that you don’t burn your legs when the bag bounces off them.

Insulating the soup from the cold (and your legs)

Make sure the top of the pot is well covered. This is for camouflage as well as insulation, because some bus drivers don’t like letting people on with hot food, so this disguises what you’re carrying.

Thoroughly disguised as a bag of scrumptious bedding

If it’s not going to be eaten immediately when you reach your destination, throw a few extra blankets or coats over the top of your insulated bag for good measure.

This method will keep your food properly piping hot for at least 2 1/2 hours. It probably lasts even longer, but I’ve never had any reason to test it beyond that point.

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Mythbuster: The truth about unions (and strikes)

Red Pepper has posted this article about unions and strikes in response to anti-strike rhetoric in the press.

If you’ve ever wondered what the point of unions is, why people go on strike, and whether it’s true that people go on strike without negotiating, read it!

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Walking bus

I can’t believe we haven’t posted about this yet, because it’s great.

Some people involved in the occupation, and some outside, have set up a Meadows Walking Bus so that people who need to walk across the Meadows during the evening and at night have people to walk with.

For more information and updates see the Facebook event.

Also, the Women’s Action Group, among other groups and individuals, is holding an event called ‘Organising a response to the recent Meadows attacks’. It’s at 7pm in DHT room 8.16 *tomorrow night* (Monday 28th).

Of course, these aren’t adequate solutions to sexual assault, but we hope they will help. The blame lies with the rapists, not those who have been assaulted, but if any of these ideas could help even just a little bit, they are well worth doing. Kate x

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Banners and giant posters!

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