Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
47 views
47 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
60 views
60 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
55 views
55 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
88 views
88 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
32 views
32 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018
304 Views
5 Comments

Comeback of the clowns

This article has been written both as a response to the ideas set out in an article posted in the comment section of The Badger last week (“Attack on Freedom of Assembly”, comment – 6/10/2008), and is an attempt to put to death the misleading information being bandied about surrounding who the University Royal Navy Unit (URNU) actually are.

Firstly, however, we wish to respond to some of the accusations made in last week’s Badger article on the clown raid at the Freshers Fair. It has been claimed that the clowns “attacked a group of students” (“Attack on Freedom of Assembly“ – 06/10/2008) during their raid on the stall. However, there is no evidence that, apart from egos, anybody was physically assaulted at all; as can be seen from the picture and testimonies of witnesses. The clowns clearly avoided physical confrontation with any member of the URNU. Moreover, the accusation that it was a violent action is completely unfounded. Not a single person was injured and it is clearly impossible to be violent towards an inanimate object e.g. a table or a flyer.

The clowns have also expressed dismay at the use of the term “anarchist students’” (“Navy stall a vandalised at Freshers’ Fair” – 6/10/08) to identify and pigeonhole those involved. Many of those involved do not identify as being anarchists and others have taken objection to the use of the term in an inherently negative sense conjuring images of chaos and disorder, rather than the abolition of hierarchy and self-fulfilment towards which anarchists actually strive.

So, on to the URNU. It is an institution established by the Royal Navy to be an outpost of training and recruitment for students on 14 campuses across the UK. Let’s look at the hard facts: a student who joins the URNU becomes a navy reservist at the level of a Midshipman. The student is paid (with taxpayers’ money) by the Royal Navy at the standard rate for a Midshipman whilst attending any URNU meeting, be it a weekend at sea on their boat (property of the Ministry of Defence – why is Judith so surprised that “people associate them with the army and the general military”?), the HMS Ranger or a drunken social at the Trafalgar Night Dinner. The student also has the opportunity to receive a ‘bounty’ at the end of each successfully completed year of training (source: URNU flyer). Note that no other society on campus gets state funding to ‘train’ its members.

‘We believe that the notions of freedom of speech/assembly are not neutral. They play a vital role in maintaining the political status quo in society’

The writer claims that the URNU are a-political and its web site “mentions nothing of recruitment, war or military intentions”. This is simply not true. The self-professed role of the URNU is to “better inform them [its members] of the need and role of the Royal Navy”. This suggests that actually the role of the URNU is to ensure the preservation of the Royal Navy in years to come. Furthermore, a brief scan of Sussex URNU’s website reveals pictures of members posing during war games exercises on land and sea. Not to mention the fact that the enrolment of people from URNU into the Royal Navy is 80 %, according to URNU members on the stall at the Freshers Fair.

There are various political reasons as to why we chose to carry out our action the way we did, and why we chose to reject those principles, freedom of speech/assembly, in the case of the URNU.
Basically, although we believe that anyone should be allowed to voice their personal opinion, and rally around a particular political programme, we believe that the notions of freedom of speech/assembly are not neutral. They play a vital role in maintaining the political status quo in society, and serve to police those who rebel against it – as is the case in this debate. We believe that the liberal ‘freedoms’ that Judith’s argument hinges on do not necessarily have a basis in reality, but stem from an idealistic view of society as essentially harmonious, with an equal share of power for all, and a view of politics as merely a matter of ideas and debate.

The links between the URNU and the UK military, as well as the links between the UK military and the imperialist wars in the Middle East, are clear. Therefore, calling the URNU “essentially apolitical” is like calling the Pope an atheist. And with a Freshers Fair attended by the URNU, does the notion of “a wide arena for freedom of assembly and freedom of speech” still mean anything? May we ask those who hold the idea of freedom of speech so dear, where are the voices of the Iraqi people for instance? Did they vote in favour of an invasion? Did they vote in favour of recruiting more people into the UK military? This crucial point is unfortunately not part of Judith’s analysis. And by the way, how does the notion of freedom of speech sit with an institution that is funded by the state, regardless of what party is in power?! Look, these people don’t NEED freedom of speech, since they are an integral part of the single most authoritative body in this country – the government!
Our globalised world is a whole in which all parts influence each other – our lives are entangled with the lives of those in the Middle East. Remember that it is our government that has invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. So when will we take full note of the fact that we are really not that different from the Iraqi people and that our lived realities are inextricably linked? Because when we realise this common ground, it becomes impossible to separate “us” from “them”, and we have to abandon the comfortable distance of external observers watching war reports on Newsnight, and we are forced to admit that we too are living in a fiction of peace. It is for this reason that we decided to act in solidarity with the Iraqi people resisting foreign occupation, by preventing the URNU from signing up more people, and by raising the level of political consciousness around the issue of the war on our campus.

What the writer is doing is upholding the liberal fantasy. The fantasy that the world at large is harmonious,
peaceful, democratic in nature and respectful of human beings, the fantasy that relies on the separation
between our state of affairs (the absence of armed conflict) and that which is happening in the Middle East. The fantasy that draws a line between the good guys (those who respect an abstract idea like freedom of speech/assembly), and the bad guys, the ones that the writer labels as “extremist students”, those who are physically preventing an oppressive institution from recruiting more people into their workforce.
The URNU has no legitimate right to be here on campus, if we are serious about doing away with oppression in all its forms. We think it is time for some open and honest debate about who the URNU really are rather than hiding between half-truths and lies, and we call for a serious questioning of ourselves and our society, of how we are a part of the misery of our brothers and sisters all over the world. Bring on the AGM!

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
47 views
47 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
60 views
60 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
55 views
55 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
88 views
88 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
32 views
32 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018

5 Comments

  1. If students are going to start being attacked and treatened on their own campus i would like you to remove this image because I am in it and have not given you permission to publish it.

    It is disgusting and narrow minded to think that daubing a freshers fair stall in paint will bring an end to the wars in the Middle East. The military are there to protect the DEMOCRATICALLY eleected government, if the military were to have turned round and said no to the war in Iraq that would have been undemocratic and fitting of the definition of a coup. So blaming the military for the war in Iraq is not the way to end the conflict.

    This is, however, irrelevant. All URNU members are HONOURARY Midshipman in the RNR and have no call up liability or committment to join the RN on completion of their degree. The figure of 80% of the URNU joining the RN is simply incorrect. On average the intake of officers into the RN from the URNU only 20% are from the URNU. Sussex contibutes least out of all URNU’s with an average of 3 or 4 out of 51 per year joining the RN.

    Should the student who answered “I’ll fight for Queen and country” be made to feel guilty for his statement? After all your article calls for the freedom of speech on all sides, even if he doesn’t “NEED” it. In my opinion the URNU does not brainwash, manipulate or encourage its members to join the RN. And I can think of worse ways to spend my holidays and weekend than bobbing around in the channel making friends, gaining personal confidence, management, teamwork, engineering, seamanship, naviagtion and organizational skills. No other society on campus gets government funding as no other society offers these opportunities. The URNU improves the student experience of those involved and makes their time at university more enjoyable and worthwhile as they leave with a greater skill set than their peers. Far from being victimised by a hard core few the URNU should be seen as a positive for the students involved and the university. I believe that the URNU would be more valued if those unsure or suspicious about its purpose and intentions would attend the open evenings and actually talk to their fellow students involved in the scheme.

    I conclude with one final statement which I ask all further commentators to remember: The URNU recruits for the URNU, NOT the RN.

    PS Sussex URNU does not celebrate Trafalgar Night – and students pay to attend functions, which work with and benefit the local community and the university itself.

    Reply
  2. I totally agree with John Mason; I’ve lived all my life in the Naval towns of Portsmouth and Portland where being in the Navy is a good, well respected career. Every generation of my family have been in the Navy and Merchant Navy, and my younger brother is in the Naval Cadets, and they don’t feel oppressed in any way. The Navy is one of the most understanding forces, and gives employees the options of changing careers and retraining within it. Also, the Navy gave them an entry into their future careers such as Search and Rescue Pilot! I believe that this hatred towards the URNU is ridiculous and pathetic and probably stems from some students not understanding what the URNU does, or what it even stands for; and I’m sure there are lots of “politically active students” who just want something to make a fuss about. The Navy do other jobs apart from fighting in the Middle East. They stop people and drug trafficking around the world and keep the peace in areas which need help maintaining democracy such as the Middle East.

    I am not saying I support the war or invasion of Iraq, because I can honestly say I don’t know enough information to make a decision on the topic. I wouldn’t say I’m uneducated on the topic, both pro and anti war parties make very convincing arguments and I believe we will never know all the information. However, now it’s been done and democracy has begun to form, they need help maintaining it.

    I believe the URNU has every right to be on campus. Think about it though, we’re all intelligent, educated university students… I’m sure people can make up their own minds as to whether they want to be in the Navy or not. The Navy can’t brainwash you! If you’re going to attack the Navy and their recruitment scheme, are you going to attack the children at Sea Cadets?

    I have written in anonymously as I’m actually worried about the repercussions I might face for having my own, unoppressed opinion. Get the irony?

    Reply
  3. “Look, this people dont need freedom of speech”

    What an appauling statement, since when does freedom of speech require a qualification? You claim that because of a connection to the governement that the URNU doesn’t need freedom of speech. On that same measure, are civil servants not in need freedom of speech because of their connection to the “authoritive governement”?

    Secondly, you go to lenghts to mention that there was no assault on URNU members, I can’t speak to this- I wasn’t there, but last year during a barrage of one of our induction nights members were bit and kicked. And while the stall was covered in paint (and yes, a stall is just an object) you cant deny that this is an action of intimidation. But the URNU doesn’t need freedom of speech, so whats a little intimidation right?

    I also have to back to Johnnys comments of recruitment figures, 80% joinign rate is pure fiction! I dont know how we can make it clearer that the aim of the URNU is not military recruitment, as evident by the fact tat few actually join and persue careers elsewhere (with great skills gained from the URNU).

    Finally, I wish to comment on the dicussion of middle eastern policy. Not only is it irrelivant, there seems to be an assumption that everybody connected to the military is pro-war, pro-lets invade Iraq. There is a range of opinions just like in the rest of british society. But the point really should be that the military is not in control of middle eastern policy- for this see political parties.

    Simply, anti-war individuals/groups on campus are angry over middle eastern policy- and are using the URNU to vent there frustation and anger at. Its not only wrong because the military has no say in these policies, but the URNU is just a group of students like many others on campus.

    In the end, attacking the URNU in such a manner is simply bullying your fellow students, not a flight against political policy.

    Reply
  4. Christ, this is ridiculous. URNU members, do whatever you like, because out in the real world, once you graduate, no-one gives a flying shit what ‘anarchist’ stands for, and throwing paint over anyone is not considered acceptable behaviour among adults. Opinions of all sorts are fine. Behaving like a twat is not. Leave the clowns to their games. The same debate has been going on at Sussex for years and always will, so just enjoy yourselves and leave them to it, safe in the knowledge that within ten years of graduation your adversaries will be directing their energy towards moaning about house prices and secretly thinking of voting Tory.

    Reply
  5. agreed. it’s just a shame that students at sussex are being made to feel uncomfortable and threatened by these people who are testing out their foetal ‘radical’ beliefs on others. since i left sussex i haven’t been bothered by a single anarchist though… happy days.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
47 views
Arts
47 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
50 views
Film & Theatre
50 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Anonymous - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
60 views
Sports
60 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
55 views
Arts
55 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
88 views
Arts
88 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1145 views1
Campus News
1145 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
32 views
News
32 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018

The University of Sussex Students' Union (USSU) has apologised after 'sexist' beermats were found in Dig-In Boxes in Freshers' Welcome Bags. The beermats were provided by Brush…

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018
News
92 views1
News
92 views1

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy Lecturer at Sussex, was accused of making transphobic comments in July 2018. This followed various interviews and blog posts by Stock. Stock told…

Welcome 2018 Freshers!
Campus News
94 views
Campus News
94 views

Welcome 2018 Freshers!

Billie-Jean Johnson - September 15, 2018

Ah, Freshers. You’ve no idea the amazing year you have ahead of you! As you read this now, you’ve probably met your flatmates and maybe even met…

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity
Opinion
96 views
Opinion
96 views

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy lecturer at Sussex University, met with controversy after criticising the government’s reform of the Gender Recognition Act (2004). The amendment would ‘de-medicalise’ the…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
400 views
Arts
400 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
403 views
Arts
403 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
375 views
Arts
375 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
435 views
Arts
435 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
449 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
394 views
Arts
394 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
368 views
Arts
368 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
563 views
Campus News
563 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
316 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
927 views
Arts
927 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
376 views
Arts
376 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…