Archive for the ‘solidarity’ Category

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 ^_^

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…

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!

MPs concerned about arms exports to Israel

February 4, 2009

It is not just students at Warwick that are concerned about the involvement of “British” companies in the recent Gaza conflict. In the past few days, it has been reported that MPs were shocked to discover that UK arms companies are supplying Israel with weapons for use in the occupied territories.

Guardian article: Israeli drones in Gaza may have had British engines, ministers admit

The same has come out in the USA as well: Guardian (blog). Numerous arms companies have been implicated in selling military equipment to Israel:

Confirmed:

Suspected:

  • Qinetiq: Parts for the Joint Strike Fighter, which Israel is a customer for
  • Rolls Royce: Engine parts for F-16 jets
  • Northrop Grumman: Has a close connection with “Israel aircraft industries”
  • GE Aviation: Cannons on F-15 jets and Apache Helicopter propulsion

One of the many reasons, that was noted in the Guardian article, for many being only “suspected” is because accurate information about these companies is very difficult to come by. For more info about exports to Israel, check out the Campaign against the Arms Trade website.

Background info:

In 2002 Israel was found to have broken its written assurance that no UK equipment would be used in the occupied territories, when it was disclosed that Centurion tanks had been converted by the IDF into armoured personnel carriers.

The UK continues to sell arms to Israel despite the UN stating that Israel “violates humanitarian law” and even though the UK’s own “Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria” are supposed to assess the impact on regional peace, security and stability and the human rights record of the recipient.

A call has been made by both the Liberal Democrats and Amnesty International (among other groups) for an arms embargo against Israel. Note, there is currently an embargo against the Palestinian territories. It is also illegal for any UK company to sell weapons to Hamas or related organisations anywhere under anti-terror laws.

More unis occupied, more unions support…

January 27, 2009

Queen Mary’s is now under occupation (leaving only UCL as a major London uni that’s not been), and the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees has come out in support of what we’re doing (look on our Flickr account for a copy)

BUT almost more importantly, we got enough signatures to call an EMERGENCY GENERAL MEETING for our union, which will be this Thursday at 6pm in MS.02. This will be a Union-led forum to discuss whether or not the Union should support our recent actions. The debate will not be about partisanship in the conflict (the Union will always remain neutral) but about our right to do what we have done, and the humanitarian demands that we have made. You need to be a member of our SU to vote, and we need at least 100 votes to make anything we decide matter. Come along to show people that students care about something! WE NEED YOUR HELP!

THIS THURSDAY

6PM, MS.02

Local support!

January 24, 2009

A member of our collective recieved a call from Councillor Rob Windsor (who talked yesterday). He’s at the peace walk in Coventry, and wanted to inform us that we recieved a round of applause and a pledge of support from all the “500-800” people attending. Thank you!

A Visit from Peter Tatchell

January 24, 2009

Peter Tatchell just dropped in to say hi and to wish us well. Very exciting! Pictures soon.

People are quietly working and talking, planning for next week. It’s nice and quiet, it’s been an exhausing week and people are enjoying the opportunity to recuperate some.

More messages of solidarity…

January 23, 2009

Solidarity greetings to you. Hope all is going well.

Everyone at my school is devastated by the aftermath of the 3 week invasion. We cannot ignore the plight of the millions of Palestinians but especially those still under seige in Gaza
In unity… Jane Nellist, Secretary, Coventry, National Union of Teachers

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The scale of the Israeli atrocities in Gaza has nauseated people the world over. It is only right at a time of crisis that students should respond by reviving the traditions of the 1960s and 1970s. Warwick students must be congratulated for making such a powerful statement against tyranny. You will be needed again and again in the many struggles for freedom and justice that lie ahead.

In solidarity

Dr Jonathan S Davies

Reader in Public Policy, Governance and Public Management Group, Warwick Business School

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Very glad to hear about what you are doing, and thanks for the invitation. I wish I could manage, but just can’t add any travel now.

Noam Chomsky

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I send massive support and solidarity for your action. The actions of the Israeli government are appalling but what you are doing not only represents real opposition to Isaeli militarism, it’s also a beacon of political hope sending a clear message that people round the world can and will act in defence of the people of Gaza.

For what it’s worth I’m a university teacher myself and I think it’s great to see students taking such decisive action – well ahead of lecturers in fact. I’m also an ex-Warwick student from the early 70s when we frequently occupied the university. Hail occupation (but without flares).

Jason Toynbee
Senior Lecturer in Sociology, The Open University (personal capacity)

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What’s going on in Warwick is fantastic. Do please pass on deepest sentiments of solidarity from the oxford university occupation!

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I have just heard about the sit-in from my friend Yael. Unfortunately I will be in London over the next few days, but wanted to send a message of solidarity and have emailed the Leamington Stop the War Coalition members to let them know about the sit-in.

In solidarity,
Claire Kime

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I was heartened to learn of the wave of occupations under way at a number of campuses across Britain. Congratulations to you all on your solidarity with the people of Palestine. I hope that many more students at universities across the country take your lead and join in and that the occupations are a resounding success.

While no longer a student myself, I support your demands that university authorities strongly condemmn Israel’s disproportionate violence against the innocent people of Gaza, that they condemn the blockade of Gaza, and that universities cancel all investments in arms firms that deal with Israel.

Keep up the struggle for justice! A luta continua!

Comradely regards
Paul Martin

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Well done and good luck with your occupation (with all your occupations!) in protest at the appalling slaughter in Gaza.

In the face of the continuing brutality of imperialism and war, acts of protest like these are vital to uphold simple human solidarity.

Good for you and keep it up ’til you win!

In solidarity,
Ben Drake
Steward, York City UNISON
(personal capacity)

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Miss Abbott wishes you the best of luck. Unfortunately she will not be able to come up to Warwick in the near future

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ISM London offers support and solidarity to the numerous student occupations and sit-ins around the UK in recent weeks. This response to the most recent Israeli onslaught on Gaza has been one of the most important initiatives in the movement. Generating pressure on our higher education establishments to take a stand against Israel and the war crimes it commits is vital. We stand in solidarity with the many Palestinians, students, activists, academics and members of the public who are now being more and more vocal about the boycott of Israel as a means of both exerting international pressure on the Israeli apartheid system, and standing in solidarity with the resistant Palestinian people.

ISM activists all around the UK are available to speak about their experiences on the ground in Palestine and are contactable via ISM London (i…@ism-london.org.uk). An ISM speaker will be at the Warwick sit-in tonight. For those interested in visiting Palestine, we can also organise training events around the UK if you can organise a group large enough (usually 10 or 15). Email training@ism-london.org.uk for more details.