Thursday, 5 February 2009

Manchester Uni Occupied, Strathclyde and Queen Mary Victories, and Sussex Updates

Over 150 University of Manchester students have occupied the main university administration building in a demand for a stronger and more proactive position from the university on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, as reported on Indymedia. This is wonderful news and we wish them all the best in solidarity!

Please follow their blog at:


Congratulations to the Strathclyde University Occupation, whose overnight occupation of the registry hall in McCance Building ended today in victory. They have issued the following statement:

"Following the overnight continuation of our occupation and a hugely succesful solidarity rally on the steps of the McCance, University of Strathclyde Principal Andrew Hamnett has conceded the following:

“1. We will not place any further orders with Eden Springs for operational reasons.

2. Funds for 1-3 scholarships.

3. Co-operation between students and management in posting Gaza Appeal on campus. Link on Uni website advertising Gaza Appeal.

4. Press Release reiterating Strath Uni longstanding relationship with the University of Gaza.”

We have also secured the uni’s commitment to a public debate between representatives of BAE Systems and anti-war student activists, on the weapons manufacturers’ ethical credentials and whether the talents of our engineering students should be used for BAE’s benefit.

We consider this a victory and have already done a lap of the uni in celebration. We are simultaneously elated, exhausted and looking ahead to the battles to come. The struggle must continue until BAE is evicted from Strathclyde and freedom and justice is secured for the people of Palestine.

Today we have taken a tiny step towards the final victory.

Solidarity forever,

The Strathclyde Uni Occupation"

There was a report that the police had been dispatched to remove the students last night, but a member of the occupation has sent out the following clarification:

"To clarify, the police were called (we believe by a member of the Estates Management security staff), only to be turned away immediately by the Secretary to the University. We are assured that the uni authorities will not engage in ‘provocations’, to use their words."

Victory also came yesterday to the Queen Mary occupation who, after eight days in occupation, were succesful in negotiating most of their demands, including the donation of surplus resources, and divestment from Cobham and a co-operative review of the university's ethical investment policy. They say

"Though the Occupation has ceased, the cause has not. We will still fight for freedom for Palestine."

Congratulations and solidarity to all involved

Keep up to date with national occupation news at


Here at Sussex, we are still going strong, with well-attended meetings on how to continue the movement. We had an amazing panel on Tuesday, featuring the Palestinian Ambassador, and we hope to have a video from that up soon. There are also other events being suggested and some currently being put together, so we are nowhere near being out of ideas and nowhere near allowing the atrocities in Gaza to become ignored again.

As a reminder to those on-campus and in the Brighton area, we still have two more events for Palestine Week:

TONIGHT: The Palestine Monologues - 7pm in Arts A 103 at the University of Sussex. An informative but emotionally charged live drama performance, The Palestine Monologues explores the day to day experiences of life under Israeli occupation and also highlights some of the turning points individuals have had when they have seen past the dominant and conflicting narratives perpetuating the conflict. Entry by donation.

FRIDAY: Film Screening of Occupation 101 - 4pm in EDB 121 (between Arts B and C). 'Occupation 101' presents a comprehensive analysis of the facts and hidden truths surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and dispels many of its long-perceived myths and misconceptions. The film also details life under Israeli military rule, the role of the United States in the conflict, and the major obstacles that stand in the way of a lasting and viable peace. The event is free and will be followed by discussion and refreshments.

Click to view the trailer for Occupation 101 on YouTube


The final point is to draw attention to some new links in the "Media" section on the right hand side of the blog: the Emancipating Education for All website, which follows worldwide events and actions to make education available for everyone. Also, there are two articles from The Socialist Worker on the UK university occupations, featuring quotations from Sussex students!