Students disrupt corporate uni conference

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BY LUKE FOMIATTI

SYDNEY — Early on the morning of February 19, 100 students and unionists joined together for a symbolic blockade of the "Designing, launching and managing a corporate university" conference at a luxury hotel in the exclusive harbourside suburb of Potts Point.

The conference, which featured speakers from McDonald's, Deutsche Bank, and the Australian Federal Police, aimed to assist corporations create their own private "universities".

Protesters argued that the conference symbolised the back-door privatisation of education. Resistance's Angela Luvera, speaking through a megaphone at the blockade, condemned the conference as "undermining the very concept of public education".

When the protesters arrived at the Landmark Parkroyal Hotel, where the $2418.90 a head conference was taking place, they quickly charged through security lines and entered the conference reception room. The protesters then linked arms and formed a blockade in front of the doors to the conference floor, where they held their ground for half an hour.

The mood at the protest was excited and expectant. Almost all those spoke were enthusiastic about the new global movement and the upcoming M1 anti-capitalist strike. When asked what she thought would happen on May 1, one protester remarked, "it'll be just like this but we'll bring a hundred thousand of our friends".