“Occupation is a right! Occupation is a right!”
The chants are coming from the megaphone Freddy is following, somewhat gormlessly, clad in a hi-vis jacket left over from a neon clubnight at Junction.
But this is no paint party. After the flooding of the Judas college waste facilities, the warden was left with ‘no choice’ (or so the round-robin email claimed) but to levy an ‘Emergency Maintenance Tax’ on all residents. Fever pitch was reached when the college bursar refused to ‘entertain the notion’ (or so the JCR President’s email said) of cancelling the EMT.
Judabites unanimously voted to boycott all paid college facilities and organised a series of protests. And so Freddy finds himself marching alongside the college’s radical activist core, lost within a sea of dreadlocks and berets, storming into the college hall.
The chants continue as they sit down atop the tables, scattering crockery and cutlery onto the floor. Freddy glances about nervously; he hadn’t expected to end up here. In fact, he thinks as he looks around, he barely recognises any of the other marchers. Most of them didn’t even go to Judas. Why would they care about the EMT?
“Scrap your bourgeois financial penalties and we will free this cathedral of capitalism! Until our demands our met, we will exercise our right to occupy!”
The kid with the megaphone is wearing Levi’s and an Adidas sweatshirt. Freddy vaguely remembers someone saying that he went to Charterhouse. On an impulse, he heads towards the door, and Megaphone Twat turns his attention to him.
“Leaving means supporting those fascist pigs! Scabs like you are part of the problem!”
Freddy mumbles something about having to “go to the library”, but it isn’t heard over the swell of boos that greet his departure. A glass explodes against the wall of the hall, just a couple of metres from his head (luckily the anaemic-looking protestors don’t seem very sporty).
Emerging into the sunlight, he is immediately caught by a Junior Dean who declares there will be harsh sanctions for students involved in the occupation.
“Did you really think this was the best way to get things done?” she asks, sternly.
“No,” Freddy responds, quietly. “All I wanted was to protest the extra tax…”
But she refuses tolisten. He trudges off alone, away from the noise of the megaphone.