Day 6, without a hitch

January 27, 2009

Today went well, despite not going as initially planned. Lectures resumed in the liberated space and, as planned, we were very accommodating, maintaing only a symbolic presence during this time, to which the lecturers were very receptive. Some even announced their support during the course of their lectures.

We  have been in constant communication with One World Week and their hosting of the Greenpeace talk was highly successful. Nick Hildyard gave a great forum discussion on student activism, the current political climate and the financial crisis. Jim Hensmen, from Coventry Socialist Party, gave a speech about the Black Panthers, including first-hand experience. This was followed by an interesting discussion on racism and institutional poverty.

As usual, we have recieved many great messages of solidarity from fellow students, academics and political activists. Particularly exciting was a vist from Dr Vandana Shiva, renowned human rights activist who told us to keep  going and told us that she would join us and sleep over if she didn’t have to leave. =D

We finished up the day deciding on how we want to respond to the University’s most recent communication, and making sure we were working towards our goal of supporting those affected by this conflict.

We also managed to collect the 104+ signatures needed to call an Emergency General Meeting to discuss the Union’s policy towards the conflict in Gaza and our demands relating to it. This will be delivered to the Union tomorrow morning, and the Union should have a meeting taking place before this week is over.

We will continue with this struggle for as long as it takes until we feel we have received a sufficient response from our University. Solidarity!

What The BBC Doesn’t Want You To See

January 26, 2009

BBC Headquarters Occupied in Scotland

January 26, 2009

(from LSE’s blog)

BBC HEADQUARTERS OCCUPIED IN SCOTLAND

Over 100 supporters of Scottish Stop the War Coalition and Palestinian groups have occupied the BBC headquaters in Glasgow. They say they will not end their occupation until the BBC has reversed its decision not to broadcast an emergency aid appeal for Gaza. The protestors are demanding to meet with a senior representative of the BBC.

Keith Boyd, one of the protesters occupying BBC Scotland’s HQ, can be contacted on: 07912348366

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Andrew Burgin

07939 242 229

Press Office

Stop the War Coalition

27 Britannia Street

London

WC1X 9JP

http://www.stopwar.org.uk

An analysis of BBC’s biased coverage of Israel/Palestine: http://www.glasgowmediagroup.org/content/view/4/2/

Still going strong (with schedule for today!)

January 26, 2009

Surprising the university, we are still here after the weekend! We kept up a constant presence, maintained a good level of debate, and kept up the mission of education and solidarity.

Today, we’ve decided to start the week off with a bang. Here’s the schedule:

12-1pm: Solidarity lunch! Bring and share, for food and ideas, everyone welcome
3-4pm: A Director of Greenpeace International is giving a talk here: it is a OWW talk that has been moved here to show solidarity
4-5pm: Nick Lawrence from the English department on US and state-sponsored terrorism
5-6pm: Nick Hildyard Q&A
6-7pm: Nick Hildyard (founding member of the NGO Corner House) on “The Financial Crisis: Holding Them To Account”
7-7:30pm: Break
7:30pm: Jim Hensmen on the Black Panthers and other pressure groups (a Socialist Students talk that has been rescheduled for solidarity)

We will also be having a meeting later to discuss where this protest is going. See you in S0.21!

Video of some chill-out time (more pictures on the flickr soon)

January 25, 2009

We are still here…

January 25, 2009

We’re running a pared-down operation over the weekend, but we are still here. Yesterday, people mainly popped in to ask questions about what the protest is for, and otherwise we tried to get on with work so we can hit the ground running on Monday.

On Monday night, we’ve got a bring-and-share lunch from 12 til 1 – bring along some food, or even if you don’t still pop by, say hi, and eat! We’ve also got Nick Lawrence (English department, works on post 9-11 literary and graphic culture) and Nick Hildyard (a founder of the NGO Corner House, who will be speaking on BAE Systems and the crumbling financial system) already confirmed for the evening, keep checking back to hear about what else we get planned.

Finally, thanks to everyone that’s dropped in to give us snacks or moral support. We’ve been told by fellow student occupiers that the weekend can be quite draining due to a lack of in-and-out visitors, but you guys really have helped keep our spirits up!

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.

Summary of yesterday

January 24, 2009

We’ve had some press in the Socialist Worker:

“Around 150 students have been in occupation at Warwick University since Wednesday 21 January. Students have taken over a lecture theatre and are holding meetings, film showings and debates about Gaza.

Speakers have included a member of Jews For Justice For Palestinians and supporters from the lecturers’ University and College Union.

Warwick University has strong links with the arms trade. One of the student demands is that the university cuts all ties with BAE Systems and other companies that supply arms to Israel.”

Yesterday was a slightly more laid-back day than Thursday. During the day, we made banners and wrote a group letter to send out to Palestinian universities, asking what they need in terms of aid. At 2pm, we had a theatre workshop that moved to create a Temporary Autonomous Zone outside the library.

Later on, we had a talk from socialist councillor Rob Windsor, who represents St Michael’s ward in Coventry. He said he would come out and oppose the University’s statement that there were only 14 people in here on Thursday, as he was here, with us. He vocalised his support for our campaign, and made clear his resources were at our disposal. He also emphasised the need of staying united after this occupation, and after this campaign.

The main task for yesterday afternoon was responding to the University’s statement about our demands. Before formalising this, our projector went down (probably a blown bulb, but we can’t get into the room to check) so we went on to just casually debate and relax after a stressful few days.

Also yesterday, we had some interesting talks with people that accused us of being too pro-Palestinian. It seems our message of being for the victims of both sides is not getting across clearly. We know that now and are working hard, with some of our critics, to make sure our dedication to both Israeli and Palestinian victims is clear.

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.