Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Direct action gets the goods: student occupations can win!

One of the main criticisms that's been leveled at our action is that it's futile and can't possible achieve anything. This, to be blunt, is a total lie. Every significant piece of social progress in history has been won off the back of radical direct action, and the recent wave of student occupations has also resulted in some pretty serious achievements and victories.

We list here the achievements of the other student occupations as proof that direct action gets results and to give our supporters hope that ours can win too!

Bradford University

  • Investigate into the investment of banks used by the University.
  • Investigate twinning with the University of Gaza.
  • Organise financial help for students affected by the conflict.
The University of Cardiff

  • Undertake an ethical investment policy.
  • Disinvest from BAE Systems and all other arms companies.
  • Distribute surplus computers and equipment to Gazan educational facilities.
Edinburgh University

  • Put an end to the sale of unethical bottled water Eden Spring.
  • Consider an ethical investment policy.
  • Scholarships for 5 Palestinian students.
  • Transport excess/old materials to the University of Gaza
  • The University host a series of lectures and debates about the issue.
The University of Essex

  • Send educational materials to the University of Gaza.
Glasgow University

  • Send academic resources to the University of Gaza.
  • Consider whether it is ethical to stock Eden Springs bottled water.
  • Review the ethical investment policy.
  • The vice-chancellor to open a DEC fundraising campaign event.
  • Consider offering additional scholarships to Palestinian students.
Goldsmiths

  • 4 Scholarships for Palestinian students until 2018.
  • Twin with the University of Gaza
KCL

  • Send academic resources to the University of Gaza.
  • Consider and ethical investment policy.
  • Write to Shimon Peres expressing concern over the situation.
  • Work with the SU to raise funds to help with the humanitarian crisis.
Leeds University


  • Send academic resources to the University of Gaza.
  • Review their current ethical investment policy.
The University of Sussex

  • Review their current ethical investment policy.
  • 5 scholarships for Palestinian students.
  • Send academic resources to the University of Gaza.
LSE
  • Review their current ethical investment policy.
  • Waive fees for current Palestinian students.
  • Send academic resources to the University of Gaza.
Newcastle University
  • Issue statement in support of Gaza and recognising the humanitarian crisis that the people of Gaza are now facing.
  • Send academic resources to the University of Gaza.
  • Enter into discussions concerning disinvestment from the arms trade.
  • University will actively support the SU in campaigns and projects.
  • Enter into partnership with the University of Gaza
  • All members of occupation bought lunch by vice-chancellor as a goodwill gesture.
Plymouth University
  • Offer 6 scholarships to students affected by conflict; 3 of which for Palestinian students.
  • Send academic resources to the University of Gaza.
  • Start an ethical investment policy.
  • Disinvest from BAE systems.
  • Boycott all Israeli goods.
Queen Mary University
  • Disinvest in all unethical investments.
  • Send academic resources to the University of Gaza.
  • Discuss Scholarships
Further, at an AGM the following were passed in direct response to the occupation:

1. To support a day of fundraising for humanitarian relief for Gaza, with all proceeds to be given to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).

2. To pressure the university to send surplus equipment and to organise, through the Union, to provide logistical support for the collection of this aid.

3. To join the global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement by
divesting from Israel and boycotting all companies that support or benefit from
the Israeli occupation and lobbying the University to adopt a similar BDS policy
towards Israel, and to build links with student unions and other trade unions who
adopt a BDS policy.

4. To condemn the University for its lack of progress in divesting from arms
companies and ending all research in weapons manufacturing. And to adopt a
stronger approach with the university on this issue.

5. To send a letter to the BBC condemning their refusal to air the DEC appeal for
Gaza, and to place the appeal advert in Cub, QM Messenger and on the home
page of the QMSU website, until the appeal is closed.

6. To send a message of support to occupations around the country that have
shown solidarity with the people of Gaza, condemned the Israeli attacks and
opposed the siege of Gaza.

7. To send a public message of solidarity to the Islamic University in Gaza, whose
campus has been virtually destroyed, and publish it in Cub and QM Messenger.

8. To pressure the university to provide 5 fully paid scholarships for Palestinian
students in recognition of the complete destruction of many educational
facilities in Gaza as a result of the Israeli bombing campaigns.

9. To declare unequivocal support for the occupation and Queen Mary Stop the
War Coalition so far as it keeps the current demands, remains non-violent and
maintains its intention not to disrupt the education of peers. To support and aid
Queen Mary Stop the War Coalition in its negotiations with the university. To
support all students and staff so far as they face any repercussions.

Rochester University
  • Send academic resources to the University of Gaza
  • Commit resources and infromation to help fundraising.
  • Provide scholarships to Palestinian students.
  • Move toward ethical investment.
SOAS
  • As a result of the occupation...
St Andrews
  • End ties with the unethcial bottled water company Eden Springs by 2010.
  • Push towards ethical investment.
  • Scholarships for those whose studies that have been interupted by conflict and natural disasters; also looking into long term support for Palestinian students.
  • Look into developing links with the University of Gaza.
  • Send humanitarian aid, and support the DEC appeal.
Strathclyde University
  • End ties with the unethical bootled water company Eden Springs.
  • Offer 1-3 scholarships to Palestinian students.
  • Allow the DEC campiagn on campus.
  • Reiterate the relationship with the University of Gaza.
  • Consider disinvestment from the arms trade.
UAL
  • Condemn the bombing of educational institutions in Gaza.
  • Set up links with educational instituitions in Gaza.
  • Support actions for fundraising.
  • Look into offering schloarships for Palestinian students.
UEL
  • Promote the DEC campaign on campus.
  • Disinvest from Israeli companies.
  • Take up an ethical investment programme.
  • Offer 6 scholarships for people affected by conflict; 3 of which are for Palestinian students.
  • Individual schools to collaborate with their counterparts in the University of Gaza.
  • Send academic supplies to the University of Gaza.
  • Create a DEC collection day on the 19th of March.
UWE

  • Offer scholarships for those affected by the conflict.
  • Consider an ethical investment policy.
  • Send a letter of support to the University of Gaza.
  • Criticise the BBC and Sky for failing to show the DEC appeal.
  • Send academic supplies to the University of Gaza.

So, occupation as a tactic does not work? I think not.

21 comments:

  1. "occupation as a tactic does not work? I think not."

    In all fairness, it didn't pan out too well for the nazis in the end, did it?

    ReplyDelete
  2. if you have had success at other universities, it is all the more important that this university draws a line in the sand and says enough is enough.

    If you give in to bullies they always push for more. This is what happened with Nazi Germany and "Peace in our Time".

    ReplyDelete
  3. Who's bullying? We're merely exercising our right to protest.

    ReplyDelete
  4. right to protest, no right to illegally occupy and bully people to agree to your demands or else you won't move.

    That is bullying, blackmail and pathetic

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Who's bullying? We're merely exercising our right to protest."

    you are not just protesting. You have illegally occupied someone else's property and are refusing to vacate until your demands are met. If that's not bullying, I don't know what is!

    ReplyDelete
  6. www.afed.org.uk18 March 2009 at 17:05

    This isn't imtimidation, it's a last resort responce.

    Sheffield uni recieved over 50% of it's budget from the Amrs Trade, so when Israel bombs the shit out of Gaza, causing it's economic infrastructure to crumble and thousands of Palestinians to die - then sheffield university is complicit in that murder.

    This occupation, like the many others around the country will do small, but effective things that will really make a difference to the devastated Palestinian peoples!

    ReplyDelete
  7. If its true that Sheffield uni recieves 50% of its its budget from arms trade I doubt their going to stop because of your protest. I mean how exactly do you propose they get a new income overnight?

    Not support that way of getting income just pointing out the obvious.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "Sheffield uni recieved over 50% of it's budget from the Amrs Trade"

    This can't be true. The majority of the uni's total income is from teaching, and the majority of the uni's research income is from the research councils.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "Sheffield uni recieved (sic) over 50% of it's budget from the Amrs Trade"

    This comment alone speak volumes about how little you really know about the rhetroric you spout. Anyone who understands University funding - and you clearly don't will know that this comment is so far from the mark that it's laughable.

    Your action is NOT supported buy the Students' Union and the above quote proves that you haven't got a real clue what you're talking about.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm not just saying this but I don't entirely see what is wrong with the arms trade anyway. I am aware that the products of the arms manufacturers are instrumental in killing, but as painful as it is to say it every nation needs an army and an army would be pretty useless as a deterrent if it didn't have guns. I realise in your idealistic world we wouldn't need armies, but it is totally naive to think this would ever happen.

    You all seem to have far too much time on your hands. I suggest knitting or perhaps some other constructive past time rather than inconveniencing everyone else, and don't say it is for a selfless cause because it is blatantly for your own sense of self satisfaction.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Perhaps the Uni should invest in the drugs industry instead?

    The oil industry?

    The building trade?

    Or maybe just tuck all of it's money underneath the mattress where it's out of harms way.

    Still, they've got one lecture theatre less to maintain in the short term at least.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It has to be said that comparrisons between the occupation and the Nazis are quite simply rediculous. Surely protesting against death and destruction by occupying several lecture theatres is quite different from the military takeover of Europe in the name of labensraum and racial theories. Some people have no sense of reality nor the balls to stand up against what is wrong.
    solidarity!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I figured that the intelligent people of Sheffield University would be above petty Godwin's Law adulation. Chalk up another one for cynicism.

    ReplyDelete
  14. "It has to be said that comparrisons (sic) between the occupation and the Nazis are quite simply rediculous (sic)"

    The comparisons were made in the context of the effectiveness, or otherwise, of occupation as a tactic - see the final line of the post "So, occupation as a tactic does not work? I think not."

    If you want to boil it down to labensraum and racial theories, help yourself.

    Occupation is a petulant, short termist and immoral act which is commonly the refuge of those who can't articulate their opinion effectively by any other reasonable means.

    If you can't have influence democratically (and by now we must be agreed this entire farce isn't democratic outside of the occupation party itself), you have no right to take unreasonable and disruptive action towards the University or your fellow students. Either that, or perhaps you'd like to emigrate and live within a socialist dictatorship you clearly crave (which, incidentally, wouldn't have put up with this kind of behaviour for more than 5 minutes before hauling the lot of you to jail for a considerable amount of time)

    All said, you can have your opinions and I'll have mine - but lets agree that there's only one of us here forcing their opinions on others through the disruptive and illegal occupation of University property.

    ReplyDelete
  15. In the face of a nationally, indeed internationally sucessful campaign, what do those politically opposed to humanitarian aid for Gaxans do? They resort to negative comments on websites. Quite sad really.

    Well done Shef!!! #Keep it up!! We are all proud of you!!

    From an ex- Nottingham Occupier

    ReplyDelete
  16. "We are all proud of you" no I am not. I'm disappointed in you.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Who ever said people were opposed to humanitarian aid for Gazans? I haven't read one comment on this blog disagreeing with the notion of humanitarian aid.

    You're ignoring the points being raised which surround the appropriateness and negative side-effects of your actions. It's the methods that are the problem. Perhaps taking a more measured and inclusive approach might win you more friends.

    As for "We are all proud of you!!" - I'm not.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Re: 10:29

    Bravo!

    ReplyDelete
  19. It seems as if there are a few (very sad) people constantly watching this blog just so that they can write negative comments.

    While we are out there actually raising money for people who need it, raising awareness and positively contributing to the world in which we live, they are sat in front of their computers trying to delegitimise an internationally sucessful movement using angry blog comments. Quite pathetic when you think about it.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm sorry, but very few of the posts I've read here are angry - they are a clear attempt by individuals who do not believe that direct action such as this is an appropriate or fair means for a small group to make a 'statement'

    It appears supporters of the 'movement' are keen to ignore any conversation based on legitimacy of the actions, including more agreeable alternatives not involving blackmail or illegal occupation of University premises.

    There are 2 issues - the first being humanitarian aid for Gaza (and, while we're on, how about support and aid for the rest of the suffering people of the world too).

    The second is your arbitrary, undemocratic, leftist occupation of a University building which appears to have fundamentally questionable political motives which are quite irrelevant to the plight of Gazans.

    Please continue to accuse the detractors of as much negativity as you want, you're only serving to undermine yourselves further and devalue whatever cause it is you claim to stand for.

    I can only hope the senior management of the university are reading these comments and understand the level of ill-feeling towards your behaviour and attitude.

    ReplyDelete
  21. If you disagree with the occupation of Gaza by the Israelis, do you also disagree with the occupation of Northern Ireland by the British?

    ReplyDelete