Thursday, 22 January 2009

Update Thursday afternoon

Sussex university management have opened engagement with the occupation and negotiations have begun. The liaison team have received a letter from the vice-chancellor's office which will be presented at today's general meeting at 7pm following the rally at 5pm with talks from Andrew Chitty and Jeremy Corbyn, MP. Please come along to discuss our response.

Two delegates from the occupation, Bushra and Riya, today attended a national press conference and have been interviewed by Al Jazeera television and Iranian TV channel Press TV.

A banner was hung on the front of the Arts1 building last night. The banner reads: 'End the siege of Gaza now'.

10 things that you can do...

Yesterday in the meeting somebody raised the issue of decentralisation. This means that rather than having one central organising committee who decide matters and then delegates out tasks and responsibility, everybody can contribute creatively according to the time and means at their disposal in accordance with the decisions made collectively (we use both consensus and vote) at general meetings. In this way our power is spread out across people, maximising our abilities and resources. Arts A2 is the organising hub and spirit of the occupation, but our action extends into classrooms and the rest of campus and beyond. We are all the occupation! Here are some ideas for ways in which you can contribute:

1. Sign the petition. Spare paper copies can also be picked up from the infostall in Arts A2 to gather more signatures from your classmates and friends.

2. Write a letter or email to the Vice-Chancellor's office informing them of your support for the demands of the occupation and your desire to see them met immediately. Send statements to and please copy in the occupation email address too. If you need help or motivation then the University's Amnesty International Society are also holding group letter-writing sessions.

3. Raise awareness. Discuss issues with your friends, and take a few minutes at the start of your lecture (with permission from the lecturer of course) to inform your classmates of the occupation and the reasons behind it. Or email your lecturers and department urging support for the occupation. A template of key points that you might like to raise can be picked up from the infostall in Arts A2.

4. Come to the meetings! They are totally open and accessible to all, and everybody can have a say. You can get involved in one of the working groups, put yourself forward for tasks, take inspiration for solidarity actions, or offer suggestions and ideas.

5. Show your support at the organised events. There is a rally and speaker session tonight in Arts A2, poster/banner-making sessions, music and film, and more events are being scheduled throughout the occupation. There is also a national demonstration in London on Saturday for which we will be organising transport.

6. Send a statement of support to the occupation's email address. You could also write a letter or article to the local media or to the Badger. If you belong to a group or society then pass a resolution of support. These can be used to show strength of feeling for our campaign and demands.

7. Publicise. Flyers, stickers and other materials can be picked up from the infostall in Arts A2 to be posted or distributed around campus and beyond. Or make your own banners, flags etc! Also invite all of your friends to the facebook group and send them details of this blog.

8. Occupy! We have a symbolic silent presence of 15 people at the back of Arts A2 during daytime lectures and need a minimum of 15 people at all times in the room and at nights (there is food and sometimes entertainment, and an agreed lights-out quiet period). There is a timetable to which you can add your name, or just come along when you have a bit of spare time.

9. Fundraise or donate. We are fundraising for Gaza, and also are collecting contributions for food, materials etc. for the occupation. Any donations of equipment, food, art materials etc. are also very welcome.

10. Organise an action or event. Either come and get people on board at a collective meeting, or do it in solidarity with the occupation. Socials, film screenings, banner drops, awareness-raising actions... whatever you fancy. Be creative!

Events today...

Unfortunately, because of the weather, we have decided not to hold an outdoor rally and march at lunchtime today as planned. Instead, we will be holding an indoor rally and speaker session at 5pm in our liberated space, Arts A5. MP Jeremy Corbyn will be coming to speak to us, and then the different Union leaders and other members of the community. See you there.

(There is also an info stall being set up at the front of Arts A2 where you can pick up petitions, key points for raising the issues in your class, and other information. Scheduled lectures will be occurring throughout the day until 5 with a symbolic silent occupation at the back of the hall so please come in between classtimes if you wish to visit the stall).