Tuesday, May 9, 2017

LET US DISCUSS PLATO (a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University)

Dear Vice-Chancellor.

Allow me to inform you that tomorrow I shall arrive at Oxford to spend the afternoon and the evening in front of Balliol with a simple poster: LET US DISCUSS PLATO. I shall not be eating tomorrow, I shall hold a token one-day hunger-strike against my exclusion from academic circles, to which I belong thanks to my work on Plato.

On Thursday, I shall resume eating for a few days, until my money runs out. When my money runs out I shall hold a seven-day hunger-strike. I shall inform the Pension Service about my hunger-strike. If by then I do not receive the Pension Credit, for which I applied at the beginning of March, my hunger-strike will simply turn into starvation; one needs money to get food.

Wednesday is a good day for my appeal-protest; I held on Wednesdays my philosophy seminar in Prague in 1977-1980, to which I invited Oxford philosophers. See Roger Scruton’s ‘A Catacomb Culture’ on my website.

What led me to this decision? On April 16, I wrote to the Master of Balliol:

‘Allow me to inform you that from May 2 on, in all likelihood, I shall be spending daily some time in front of Balliol with a poster ‘A HOMELESS PHILOSOPHER APPEALS TO OXFORD PHILOSOPHERS: LET US DISCUSS PLATO’.

I plan to leave Dursley on my bicycle on April 30, arriving at Oxford on May 2. I shall be looking for a place to live in Oxford.

I say in all likelihood, for if my financial situation improves before the end of April, so that I become able to pay the council tax (£211 a month), and the service charges (£185.10 a month) to ‘midland heart’, I shall be happy to stay where I live at present. At the moment, I have £177.51 on my current bank account; this is all I have. I expect to receive the State Pension of £112,12 in May, I receive it every fourth week; in June, I expect the Czech pension of approximately £484.97 (the amount I received in March), which I receive every three months.

At the beginning of March I applied for the State Pension Credit, and yesterday I received a letter informing me that I have the right to it – ‘The decision is made on the grounds that you have obtained the right of permanent residence in the UK … Your Pension Credit application has now been passed on to our processing section who will assess your award and advise you of your entitlement accordingly’ – so it is possible that the Pension Service will step in.’

On April 24 I wrote on my blog: ‘A lady from the Pension Service is going to visit me on Thursday April 27 to examine my financial situation, to see my bank statements. Obviously, the Pension Service will do nothing to solve my financial situation by the end of this month, and so I become homeless, unless some miracle happens.’

The lady from Pension Service came, she told me that I shall be paying no council tax and that she will do everything possible to contribute to the Service Charges, which I have to pay in the sheltered accommodation where I live: ‘Mr Tomin, do not cycle to Oxford!’

It sounded like a miracle, and although I trained diligently for my cycling trip, I was happy to stay and resume my work on Plato.

Almost a fortnight has elapsed; the only thing I received from the Pension Service are the documents the lady took from me: ‘Documents returned with thanks.’

Julius Tomin

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