The movement powers on…

March 21, 2009

On Monday 16th March there was a meeting entitled “Practical Action For Palestine: What Can We Do?”, which then (as it always seems to these days) turned into an occupation. Solidarity texts to 0 7 9 6 1 0 4 0 6 1 8. At 4pm on Tuesday, however, the occupation got a letter from the head of security in the Hicks building announcing that, following their Student Union’s condemnation of our action, management would not be conducting any negotiations or discussions with them (this is after a pretty unrepresentative 5-3 vote by their SU Executive Committee). In their words:

“The basis of the SU’s condemnation was that our action was disruptive to students’ education, despite the fact that we have consistently said that we are happy for lectures to take place in our occupied space. Indeed, despite management’s attempt to unilaterally relocate all lectures (at significant inconvenience to students), dialogue between the occupation and lecturers succeeded in allowing lectures to take place in their original scheduled locations. Given university management’s intransigence, we are asking all Sheffield students, workers and other supporters of the occupation to send the following model email to Vice Chancellor Keith Burnett at vc@sheffield.ac.uk. CC to email to Rowann Sharples, his personal secretary, at r.sharples@sheffield.ac.uk, and CC us in at sheffieldoccupation@googlemail.com.”

Also, there is a meeting during the day of the 18th of April entitled, “Where Next For The Student Movement“, which is going to have delegates from Education Not For Sale, the recent sit-in movement, and many others. There is a blog for it at http://studentcoordination.wordpress.com/ as well ^_^

One up, one down

March 12, 2009

Newcastle went  under on Tuesday, and Manchester has (after over 30 days!) now finished its occupation. Just keeping you all on the ball :-)

Update on other occupations…

March 6, 2009
  • Tuesday: UEL has agreed to the occupiers demands, including 6 scholarships worldwide (they only asked for 5!), and 3 specifically for Palestinian students
  • Wednesday: a day of mail-jamming for the Manchester occupation (they have now been in occupation for one month, with their vice-chancellor so far failing to enter into negotiations)
  • Thursday: the hearing of Matt Vicary, the suspended Equal Opps officer, was meant to go ahead (though I have heard on the grapevine that it was postponed…)

NYU occupier talks about what makes and breaks an occupation

March 3, 2009

I managed to get my hands on an interview with a participant of the NYU occupation, talking about why it has been seen by some as a “failed” attempt.

Some interesting points:

  • They mention the UK occupations and how they wanted to show solidarity (their occupation was not mainly about Gaza, unlike others)
  • Gave reasons of why it didn’t achieve its goals: because it was depoliticised, so was not taken seriously; because they weren’t inclusive enough (and failed to mention the political aspect of the occupation when engaging with outsiders); they didn’t know how to negotiate; they failed to explain how the process of consensus works in meetings, and so meetings ended up being quite undemocratic; and how their lack of strategy discussion really hurt their actions in the long run

Check it out! It’s in M4A format, sorry…

UAL declares victory!

February 28, 2009

University of the Arts (London) ended their occupation on Wednesday afternoon after receiving the following letter from their rector Nigel Carrington:

“1. ‘Condemnation of bombings of educational institutions in GAZA’.
The Rector will release the following statement through communication channels of the University:
“The University of Arts London deplores violence wherever it occurs and considers access to education, freedom of expression and the role of international law for the people of GAZA and Israel to be of fundamental importance”.

2. ‘Links to educational institutions in GAZA’
The University will consider a request from an educational institution in GAZA. This will be subject to the normal processes of scrutiny undertaken by the University with regards to all partnerships and collaboration.

3. ‘Scholarships’
The University will explore establishing an ‘international humanitarian’ scholarship.

4. ‘Events and Exhibition’
The University will support activities, including the use of appropriate space and promotion, for fundraising and exhibitions to aid humanitarian relief efforts in GAZA.”

Result!

Strathclyde secures victories, Cardiff goes under!

February 24, 2009

Strathclyde have secured a number of victories, for example cancelling a contract with Eden Springs and getting scholarships for Palestinian students. Check out more of their story over at Indymedia.

Also, Cardiff is now being occupied after a Books Not Bombs protest segued into a larger action of solidarity.

UAL and Plymouth occupied!

February 23, 2009

Check out UAL’s Facebook group. Their demands are:

  1. UAL must issue a full public statement condemning the bombings of educational institutions in Gaza. This statement must be official and formal in its entirety.
  2. UAL must agree to break all corporate links with Israel to add pressure on its denial of Palestinians human rights.
  3. UAL must survey its resources with the aim of donating any unused or out of date books, computers, furniture or other teaching resources with an educational institute within Gaza. A link should be established between the two academic institutions and sustained support should be maintained for a minimum of 5 years.
  4. UAL must provide 10 fully-funded scholarships to Palestinian students affected by the recent conflict.
  5. UAL with the support of the UALPSC, must organise a one-day intercollegiate charity event to raise funds for humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.
  6. UAL must agree to hold an exhibition curated in-part by the UALPSC. Artworks exhibited to focus on the conflict and humanitarian crisis. shown in one of the University’s spaces of the UAL PSC’s choice.

Also, we’ve got Plymouth to add to the roster…

  1. That the University of Plymouth issue a statement condemning the recent and continuing atrocities perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza strip.
  2. The University should officially denounce the attacks on civilians, the systematic obstruction of humanitarian aid and the targeting of academic institutions, hospitals, places of worship and international peace keeping facilities.
  3. That the University of Plymouth cease to invest directly or indirectly in companies complicit in human rights abuses in the Gaza strip and internationally.
  4. That no Israeli goods or goods produced by companies that have directly funded the State of Israel be sold on campus.
  5. That the University of Plymouth provide complete financial scholarships for six students from Gaza University which has been bombed by the Israeli military.
    That any surplus educational resources available to the University of Plymouth are provided to Gaza University and that the shipping of these resources be fully paid for by the University of Plymouth.
  6. That there be no legal, financial, or academic measures taken against anyone involved in or supporting the occupation. All those involved will be guaranteed free movement in and out of the occupied space, with open access to electricity and internet.

Amnesty calls for an UN arms embargo against BOTH sides

February 23, 2009

In the report Fuelling conflict: foreign arms supplies to Israel/Gaza on the misuse of foreign-supplied weaponry during the recent Gaza conflict that Amnesty International has just published, they call for a UN arms embargo against Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups. The fact that both sides committed war crimes by targetting civilians was central to this conclusion. The call extends to both the UN Security Council and Obama’s administration.

Mentioned in the report was the fact that a company in Lichfield (UAV Engines) may have supplied specially-designed engines for Israeli drones as mentioned in our post MPs concerned about arms exports to Israel – leading Amnesty to “question the lack of a robust system of end-use monitoring of British-made equipment sent to Israel and elsewhere”. Lockheed Martin and Boeing were also named explicity.

Here are some links to read about this for yourself:

International NGOs are coming out in agreement with the logic behind what we did at Warwick – as we always claimed, we are not alone.

NYU students suspended

February 22, 2009

Students at NYU have been tricked into leaving by being offered negotiations, only to be detained and penalised. This sort of disgraceful conduct should not be permitted by any university, here or abroad. As international observers to this, we have the chance for our voices to be all the more powerful! We should be calling on NYU to (1) rescind suspensions, dorm evictions and all other disciplinary action (2) drop all criminal charges (3) meet the students’ demands. Please send e-mails to the addresses contained in the following:

Today New York University has shown its true face more than ever. Claiming to be a “private university in the public service,” it is clearly not even in the service of those students whose tuitions allow it to exist.

Earlier today, NYU cut power to all outlets in the occupied space and turned off the wireless internet.  Obviously this was an attempt to silence and intimidate the occupiers who have broad-based support.

Then, NYU said it would negotiate and instead detained and suspended the student negotiators when they showed up.  Security has now broken through the barricade and people are being detained and suspended.

Instead of dialog and negotiation, the NYU administration has shown they prefer the authoritarian, dissent-quashing, dictator route. It is a true reflection of how they run their university. Nothing but thugs with suits on, interested in getting rich under the guise of “education.”

Be prepared to defend any individual or group that is targeted academically or legally for their role in the occupation. Widespread support for the occupation and its demands will not be extinguished by NYU’s hypocritical, tyrannical behavior.

Email NYU Administrators. Demand amnesty and no suspensions:

NYU President John Sexton: john.sexton@nyu.edu
John Beckman, NYU Spokesperson: jhb5@nyu.edu
Office of the Provost: provost@nyu.edu
Office of the Vice President: evp@nyu.edu

A girl who has been suspended is updating via her Twitter account – check it out by clicking here.

Post-sit-in Update #3 (4 more go down…)

February 21, 2009

It’s always good to keep everyone up-to-date! This post is quite info and link heavy…

  • In December, New School in America actually occupied with similar sentiments to our own. Check it out at their web site archive, or their blog. People from this occupation are helping at NYU too!
  • 16th Feb: Edinburgh secure various victories, details at their blog.
  • 18th Feb: St Andrew’s, UWE  and UEL go under.  After presenting a petition (already signed by over 30 academics and 700 students) to the Principal of the University, around 50 people occupied Lower College Hall at St Andrew’s in protest at the University’s complicity in the Israeli occupation. Details here, Indymedia article here. Also UWE’s blog and UEL’s.
  • 19th Feb: NYU in New York goes under. Details here! This is spreading… I’ll also link you into a message board post from my friend who was at NYU for a bit.
  • At the moment: a conference is going on called After Gaza: Continuing the Struggle on Campus (Where next for the Student movement for Palestine) at SOAS. We couldn’t send any delegates down (union elections this week stole our time) but we hope it goes successfully!

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