Letter from the editors

This, the second issue of We Are Not Rats, is themed ‘Method: investigating change from the ideological to the institutional’.  Following directly from our original motivations for founding We Are Not Rats (which you can find here), this issue looks at the nature of ‘protest movements’ in general, as well as the lessons we could take from specific examples – whether that be the Quebec student strikes or Optor!, the Serbian youth movement – for building a mass, grass roots and well-informed student movement of our own.

We have assembled articles looking at this question from two principle perspectives.  One group of essays examines contemporary or past movements – for example Isobel Lindsay, the vice-chair of the SCND and board member of the Scottish Left Review, analyses the CND in her article.  The other group look at particular aspects of movements – Joel White, Edinburgh University student, examines political song, and Liam Burns reviews his attempts to attract non-partisan students during his time as NUS president.  We hope that you learn some lessons or techniques to apply to your own activities from this collection of essays.

In this spirit of change, we have decided to make some alterations to We Are Not Rats itself.  Starting next issue, each article will be released individually, with one coming out every week or so. We think that more articles will be read if each is made available one at a time rather than alongside nine others vying for the attention of a potential reader.  Also, it will give more impetus to our contributors who will have a shorter and more concrete deadline to write to.  We will still have a theme running for a number of months to which each essay can relate.  We hope that this will encourage readers to write an article in response to something they have read, or spark a new idea for a piece on a similar topic.  Also, the articles will be more up-to-date, and will be better positioned to focus on contemporary issues.

Aside from the above, we would also like to implore those interested to join the We Are Not Rats editorial team.  If you feel that your political persuasion is currently under-represented by the journal we invite you to join us and acquire articles for publication that are to your liking.  If interested e-mail submissions@wearenotrats.co.uk.

Finally, to the next issue.  The theme will be ‘Taking action: what should we being doing next?’ What issues should students be focusing on right now?  Should we be starting up student-run cooperatives to combat housing inadequacies, building campaigns for the independence referendum, attempting to mobilise apathetic students, or focusing on something else?  What specific groups should we be joining to achieve our goals?  If possible we hope that contributors will apply the general lessons presented in the current issue to their thoughts on the practical steps we should next be taking.  As usual the issue will not be restricted to this topic: submissions about anything within the broad scope of the journal are welcome.  If you would like to contribute, email submissions@wearenotrats.co.uk with a small outline of your idea or the essay title.


Patrick Olden

Grace Loncraine

St Andrews

Thursday 21st March 2013.

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