When they cut the power, the People must make Power of their Own.
Beard-stroking liberals aren’t a common sight on commercially-focussed Warwick University – and least of all at the ultra-capitalist Business School – but when the electrons stopped flowing today, things got uglier than a hairy leftie on a bad hair day.
Yes, there were power cuts across campus. Possibly connected to the ‘quake last night, where 5000 students woke up and… fondly thought they had company. In the dusty aftermath, this top-tier university acquired a third-world electricity network for the afternoon.
In the MBA section, the lesser syndicate groups were walking out in disgust, stripped of their power by… lack of power. Hardier syndicates gamely stayed on, forgetting the PCs and PowerPoints and resorting to… actual conversation, can you believe it.
There were demonstrations of undergrads in the darkened corridors, chanting “WHAT DO WE WANT? NET PRESENT VALUE! WHEN DO WE WANT IT? NOW!” in Chinese accents. OK, only joking, but the point is made.
The coffee machines were off. The security-carded doors were open to all. (Yes, ALL. Undergrads in the postgrad wing. Science people taking shortcuts back to Lakeside. Even… shock horror… LIBERAL ARTS TYPES?!!) Civilisation, truly, neared its end today. It was a strange kind of chaos: quiet, accepting, yet utterly apocalyptic, like the 2000 neocon takeover of the US government that set the USA’s respect in the world back 75 years.
And when at last the power came back on, we felt… cleansed. But at the same time, slightly disappointed. Our NPV and ROI focussed lives had been given a taste of what it’s like to live… off the grid.
And some of us, perhaps, liked it a little.