Missing the Point: Am I missing the point of the Magadalen Hall strike?

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PHOTO/ Eric Meyer

Zealous pre-drinkers and resolute all-nighters up and down the city are abuzz with news of The Magdalen College’s Hall Strike. Oh! they speak of the heroic and noble deeds of our Comrades in direct action against Decanal Diktats. Students at this bastion of egalitarianism have shown unity, dedication and perserverance in the face of all-out Classroom warfare.

Quills have been working overtime here at OxStu towers, and as I clean up all this ink which has spilled over this strike, I can’t help but notice this big, red elephant in the room.

I have in my hand last week’s copy, with two ladle-brandishing Stakhanovite labourers at the Communal soup kitchen on the cover. The prices are a good deal cheaper than anything you can get in Oxford (by charitable donation even) and the food looks made with love. Students throughout Oxford have come together in spontaneous acts of solidarity as they respond to protect their peers’ quality of life.

But these aspiring Kibbutzniks are onto something here. If they can achieve all this through simple acts of self-organisation, why stop there?

I’m sure they could rid themselves of the punitive Cleaner levy by organising mass clean-ups; they could shave twenty pounds off their battels by banding together in maintenance co-operatives; or even enact justice through student juries. Just imagine what they could save on their tuition by simply sitting in circles on the quads and critically engaging and evaluating one another on their respective reading.

But why stop there? With the Magdalen masses mobilised, the possibilities would be endless. I can envision hundreds of undergraduates coming together to erect wind turbines

On Water Meadows, hydroelectric plants on the Cherwell, fields of barley as far as the eye can see. With the entire student body participating in this great political project, no more would they need to undergo these electoral spectacles. All distinctions between representatives and represented would melt away in the intense heat of the General Assembly, and with a collective flash of epiphany, the students would take off to the hilltops by Oxford Castle and proclaim a new era of student democracy!

Excuse me, I appear to have been tripping hard from the ink fumes. The red elephant fades away as I come crashing back to reality. Oh, the politics of dreaming!

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