Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Updates and events

What we have been doing:

On Thursday, a member of the boycott and divestment group spoke as part of a panel at the War on Want talk 'Banking on Bloodshed' updating us on progress relating to the occupation demands.

Last Friday we were honoured to have a talk from 19-year old Israeli student and war-refuser Tamar Katz, who was jailed several times for defying military conscription. She spoke of the incredible difficulties of political dissent including widespread social stigma, estrangement from family and friends, lack of organisational support due to the illegality of political criticism and media complicity in maintaining the occupation.

On Sunday a group of Sussex students blockaded the main depot of Carmel-Agrexco, which imports agricultural produce from illegal settlements in the West Bank to supply supermarkets across the UK. Several people blockaded the gates, locking themselves to ladders, and one person superglued themselves to the tarmac. Several trucks were unable to deliver produce to the depot, and no arrests were made. This direct action was carried out in solidarity with the students of Jayyous who were arrested when the Israeli military stormed their village on 18th February and who have called for a boycott. Since then, the village has been invaded two further times, with a curfew imposed on the town and residents also threatened with home demolitions.

Also on Sunday a representative from the occupation spoke on a panel at the Oxford Radical Forum with students from other occupations about the national wave and the potential for a new radical student movement. A national congress is planned for April 18th. To get involved in organising this event, contact the national liaison working group at sussexnational@gmail.com, and add your name to the organising list at studentcoordination@gmail.com.

We have also written an update for our fellow students on the progress that has been made on the implementation of our demands so far, which you can find here, or pinned to the door of Arts A2.

Don't forget to vote in the referendum to get rid of the military from our campus! Voting tomorrow and Thursday in the library.

What we have planned:

Tomorrow (Weds) there will be a party at the Cowley Club to raise money for the Brighton-Tubas twinning group. There will be cheap vegan food and drink from 7pm and an open mic...

This Thursday, the Women’s Delegation from the West Bank of Palestine will be visiting Sussex University, to relate their experiences as women living in the occupied territories. The speakers are Sirien, a student from Al-Quds University, who has been closely involved in the twinning project with Sussex; and Ghada, a member of the Patients and Friends Society in Jenin. Entrance is free and there will be time for questions and answers. (Pevensey 2, Rm 5A17, 4-5:30pm).

Meetings this week:

Weds 3pm - Boycott and Divestment group meeting. Meet Falmer common room, or library square if the weather is nice.

Weds 4pm - General organisational meeting, meet Falmer common room.

A Statement from the Sussex Occupation - An Update on our Current Action

Sussex students occupied lecture hall Arts A2 from January 21st to January 28th to show their support for the sufferers in Gaza and to call upon the University to take positive action. In this week we gathered a lot of support within and outside of the University Community, and most importantly raised awareness about the diabolical actions of the Israeli Government; which unfortunately continue almost two months on. Though the Occupation of Arts A002 has ended, we wish to update you on our current actions in terms of following up our demands and showing continuing solidarity with the people of Palestine.

1. That the University of Sussex issue a statement condemning the recent and continuing atrocities perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza strip.

The University not only condemned the Israeli Government's breach of UN Human Rights Law; but also called for the Government to retreat to its 1967 borders and condoned the suspected use of war crimes including the murdering of innocent citizens.

2. That the University of Sussex cease to invest directly or indirectly in companies complicit in human rights abuses in the Gaza strip and internationally.

Some excellent research has been done and it is now broadening to ethical investment more generally (which everyone seems to agree is a natural progression). We are assessing the companies which the university invests in, and how best to pressure the university administration to form an ethical investment policy.

3. That no Israeli goods or goods produced by companies that have directly funded the State of Israel be sold on campus.

4. That the University of Sussex provide complete financial scholarships for three students from Al-Quds Open University in Tubas with which USSU is twined and three students from Gaza University which has been bombed by the Israeli military.

We are working co-operatively with the university to help Palestinian students as much as we can; several delegations have been going back and forth between universities on occupied Palestinian Land. Hard work is continuing though, and we are determined to honour our sister University.

5. That any surplus educational resources available to the University of Sussex are provided to Gaza University and that the shipping of these resources be fully paid for by the University of Sussex.

We are imminently in negotiations with the IT Sevices and the library as to how to secure and send off resources. We would like to thank everyone who donated clothes and art supplies to the Palestinian Convoy a few weeks ago, they are being sorted through in preparation for being sent.

6. That there be no legal, financial, or academic measures taken against anyone involved in or supporting the occupation.

There have been no repercussions for any of the 80 students involved - for this we are grateful, and we are continuing the hard work.

We always welcome new, enthusiastic members to help us achieve our demands so please feel free to come to one of our weekly organisational meetings at 4 o'clock Wednesdays in Falmer Common Room.

In continuing solidarity,
The Sussex Occupation