NCAFC condemns the management of the library of Birmingham for their decision to ban dozens of anti-cuts activists from reentering the public building in the near future. We stress that these activists – almost exclusively students – consist of the library’s core regular users, and thus care most about the prosperity and longevity of their building.
We believe that the draconian measures implemented by library staff are a betrayal to activists who are willing to fight against austerity on the building’s behalf, and will only further alienate members with a vested interest in maintaining their place of learning and study.
NCAFC denounces such an act of false consciousness – ushered on by the intimidating police, whose presence at the peaceful protest was beyond superfluous – attempting to make enemies of library staff and working-class students alike, both of whom are at the receiving end of humiliating austerity.
We likewise rebuke the government for its series of cuts to essential public services, facilitating the closing down of 150 libraries on average per year. We condemn our government for investing £188.8 million in creating Europe’s largest public cultural space, only to thereby abandon its duty to subsidise for the services necessary to sustain it. In implementing such devastating cuts, NCAFC believe that the government have abandoned those who most benefit from the space; the most disadvantaged in our society, including the unemployed, disabled, sick and elderly.
NCAFC gives our solidarity to the brave activists who partook in Friday afternoon’s protest, organised at the behest of students from King Edward VI College, Stourbridge (with the support of Birmingham Against the Cuts, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, Birmingham Trades Union Council and Friends of the Library of Birmingham). Many of the banned students are from BME and underprivileged backgrounds, to whom the library serves as their only space for studying and learning outside of college/ university. With final examinations looming, it is essential that they have access to the library and its services at such a crucial period of their lives.
As representatives of thousands of students and workers across Britain, we call upon the library of Birmingham to revoke its banning orders from the activists who were acting in good will to defend their cultural space. NCAFC calls upon the library management and staff to unite with the activists in the common struggle to end government cuts and restore the library facilities to the capacity it was built for. The library of Birmingham belongs to the people of Birmingham, and only by working together can we reverse the damage done to our public space.