OCCUPATION STATEMENT

Today we are ending the 6 day long occupation of Deptford Town Hall to join the hundreds of thousands of people marching on central London.

We are proud to have achieved our aims of standing in solidarity with our lecturers, both on the picket lines and through the occupation, and disrupting Goldsmiths’ Senior Management Team’s work by occupying their headquarters. The occupied space has been used as a incredible, productive space to mobilise and organise student support for the picket lines and for the anti-cuts movement as a whole. We have seen from the hundreds of people gathered outside the space today and from the continuous stream of messages and shows of solidarity with the occupation that our short-term aims have not only met our expectations but have exceeded them.

We understand industrial action  undertaken this week has caused disruption to students wishing to continue with their lectures without disruption. However, with the deep cuts targeting every section of our society, we cannot accept that those with the power to change the decisions being made should be able to continue business as usual. This is obviously of utmost importance in relation to the coalition government, but also extends to our University and the effects that their economic policies have on Goldsmiths students. Unfortunately, as a consequence of these policy decisions the UCU (and ourselves alike) have been forced to undertake drastic measures to ensure that their needs, specifically in relation to pensions, are recognised as legitimate and necessary. We therefore urge Senior Management at Goldsmiths and beyond to publicly oppose the cuts and to stand in solidarity with the staff and students  they are here to represent at this University.

We deplore SMT’s decision to attempt to undermine the strike action by encouraging lecturers to go ahead and students to cross picket lines. We are facing the most violent set of attacks on education and the public sector for many year. Crossing a picket line at this time to teach students is equivalent to attempting to fix the cutlery whilst the Titanic is sinking.

Our occupation successfully sent students out to the picket lines on both Tuesday and Thursday to support Goldsmiths UCU. We persuaded hundreds of students to turn back and not enter the university, and stressed the importance of not crossing a picket line as a political act. The occupation also sent a delegation to march and speak at the UCU rally in central London on Thursday night to express further solidarity with staff.

The occupied space has also been used to mobilise students for todays march, raising awareness of the devastating consequences that the government’s structural adjustment plans will bring not only to our futures, but to that of many generations to come. Today we will see huge numbers of workers, students, pensioners, unemployed and children come onto the streets to fight for their future. We will be with them, we urge you to join us.Occupy together, Strike together, march together. 

3 notes

Aims/Demands

The students listed their aims as:

We also stand in solidarity with all staff whose jobs are under threat, including the lecturers and porters at Goldsmiths and call on the management to make a statement guaranteeing job security.

We oppose the cuts to education and the rest of the public sector, which are an attempt to offset the financial crisis onto the living standards of ordinary people.

We stand in solidarity with other universities in occupation and encourage others to follow this example.

We demand that our management open the books and release all financial documents, making them accessable to students and staff.

We oppose the ongoing casualisation lecturers have suffered as a result of the marketisation of the education system. Part of this process has been the intoduction of the points immigration based system and shutting down of nurseries.

We support the student not suspects campaign demand that the university end co-operation with the UK Border Agency.

We call on workers, students, pensioners and the unemployed to come out onto the streets on 26th March. Time for bargaining is over.  

Deptford Town Hall occupied to enforce strike on management - Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

22nd March 2011

Goldsmiths students occupy university in solidarity with lecturers’ strike

Goldsmiths students occupied Deptford town hall on Monday night in solidarity with their lecturers in the University and College Union (UCU) who are striking on Tuesday and Thursday.

Students are calling on senior management to revoke previous statements sent to staff and students via email, which attempted to intimidate those taking action against higher education cuts.

This is the first national strike in higher education for five years and will be taking place two days before the March for the Alternative on March 26th. Students support this march and hope to use the occupation as a space to organize and build for it.

Goldsmiths has a tradition of strong solidarity between staff and students. In November 2010 when students were attacked in the press after protests against rising tuition fees, Goldsmiths lecturers publicly supported with them.

University College London went into occupation hours before Goldsmiths, following other UK campuses. Students hope to see a wave of direct action across UK universities.

Students said: “We will be enforcing the strike in Deptford town hall to express our solidarity. The attack on lecturers is only the beginning – we are showing this government that we will not accept the destruction of our public services and welfare state. Strike together, march together. ”

Goldsmiths students previously occupied Deptford town hall in November over the propsed cuts to education and rising tution fees.

Media contacts: 07826841330 (Jaz)

07905719806 (Soren)

email: goldsmithsfightsback26@gmail.com

twitter: @GoldOccupation

facebook: Goldsmiths Fights Back

blog: www.savegoldsmiths.tumblr.com

3 notes

Even More Messages of Solidarity

Dear Goldsmiths students,
My heartfelt admiration and solidarity with your protest activities,
resistance and display of courage.
A great many of us stand with you and
share your aims and wish for your generation
and those of the future to have what
we have so clearly benefited from with our own
educations.
We stand with you in our disgust at the
coalitions breathtaking arrogance and
deplorable lack of ethic in an opportunist exploitation
of economic recession to
dismantle our public education system.
We stand with you and object and denounce the catastrophic
 undermining of beloved
and esteemed places of learning, innovation and
profound contribution nationally and
internationally.
Best wishes,
Kira O'Reilly
ArtistCreative Fellow QMUL
____________________________________________________________________________________
The rich are trying to make US pay for THEIR financial crisis.
They make record profits and bonuses while we face cuts to higher education.
We are so glad to see you fighting back!
Soldarity from the Milneburg Hall occupiers at
 University of New Orleans, in
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.
We faced 5 arrests and suspensions, but we are
not giving up! Keep up the fight!
http://occupyla.wordpress.com
_____________________________________________________________________________________

I am writing to pledge my support to your cause.
My daughter went to Goldsmiths.
We must fight the destructive spending plans
of this government.
 
David Wheeler
_____________________________________________________________________________________


As an ex Goldsmiths student, (fully grant-aided),
I would like to express my admiration and support to the
students who have the courage to demonstrate
against this government's threats
to the future of education and indeed any
hopes of building a fair, just and equal society.

Irene M. Lomas
______________________________________________________________________________________
Hi guys I am a student from Zagreb(Croatia) and I completly understand your struggle
I will just forward you some links of the movement here,where you could read about
our methods and ways of resistance(we achieved that fees are banished for now) :
http://slobodnifilozofski.org/


if you need any help or advice just let us know
ONE WORLD;ONE STRUGGLE
EDUCATION IS NOT FOR SALE


3 notes

arfy:

Quick post!

The last 2 days for me have been hectic, I’d been on the phone to so many journalist, contacted many different press outlets with the media team, and when we managed to get a response especially thanks to the BBC producer I know that worked with me for the 2012 lives project

9 notes

More emails of support

Send to co901af@gold.ac.uk


On behalf of the University and College Union, I would like to send our

solidarity to the students taking action at Goldsmiths. Our higher education

system is under a sustained attack that will turn the clock back on

generations of social progress, democratic advance and educational

achievement. Under the Coalition government, our country looks set to become

the most expensive place to study in the world, while the cuts to public

funding represent an unprecedented attack on the fundamental basis of our

education system, an attack that may well lead to the closure of colleges

and universities. This government is in danger of setting new standards in

promoting social exclusion, cultural impoverishment and economic decline and

your action is a measure of the anger that is swelling up amongst staff,

students and increasingly from our communities. Our mass demonstration on 10

November will be the first opportunity to make the coalition feel this

rising force. I hope to see you there.

Sally Hunt, General Secretary, Universities and Colleges Union

Justine Stephens

Head of Campaigns

   _____________________________________________________________________ Your resistance is a beacon of hope in times of despair. By following your example and working together we can overcome these attacks on our education and public services. Strike! Occupy! Resist the cuts! Resist fees! Education for the masses - not just for the ruling classes! Heartfelt solidarity,

Syed Bokhari former student Sussex Uni one of the ‘Sussex Six’ suspended for occupying the managements building last year. ________________________________________________________________ Congratulations for taking a stand against the devastating cuts to university education that both students and staff now face. The rise in fees and cuts in funding announced by the government, pose a mortal threat to state education and the ability of working-class people to fulfil their educational potential, which is their right Let’s all work together, students and tutors, to build action for 10th November and beyond, that will show the Con-Dems that we won’t stop until we have won!’

  Clare Kelly, Maggie Pitfield, John Wadsworth, Claudine Kirsch, Dennis Atkinson Betty Liebovich, Rosalyn George, Tiffany Prince

UCU members, Department of Educational Studies ____________________________________________________________________ Dear Goldsmiths Occupiers, Solidarity from Kingston, and congratulations on an effective and disciplined intervention! The government’s proposals amount to nothing less than the wholesale dissolution of the public university system, and given the current political options you’re clearly right to assume that direct action offers the only realistic chance of blocking their implementation. If over the coming weeks and months mobilisation spreads across campuses and secondary schools then we can still save our university system, and prevent this government from condemning the future of higher education to the undiluted rule of market exploitation and class privileges.

Professor Peter Hallward, Philosophy Department, Kingston University. _____________________________________________________________________ Just a short email of support for the action you are taking from the Carshalton branch of UCU. We all need to fight to Defend Education. Well Done!

Martin Smith UCU Carshalton Branch Chair _____________________________________________________________________ Lewisham Unison Local Government Branch fully support community campaigns to resist the local government funding cuts that will have deep and wide ranging negative impacts across the borough. There is no doubt that these cuts will hit first and hardest the most vulnerable members of society. The student occupation will raise public understanding of how immediately services on the ground will be slashed or delivered to a lower standard, and this is a far cry from the ‘back office’ and ‘efficiency’ savings so widely reported in the media. Well done Goldsmiths students! Sadie King Equality Officer Lewisham Unison Local Government Branch. E

____________________________________________________________________

Edinburgh College of Art Students Union send their support for what you’re doing down there, well done guys! Excellent to see such action taking place against this issue, an excellent scene to see in such dire times.

Francesca Miller ECA Student Miller Student President _____________________________________________________________________ Hey, been given this email as an address to send messages of solidarity to in light of the occupation going on. Just want to say to keep up the good work, we’ve all got to fight this all the way and i look forward to seeing you all on the march on 10th november and any other campaigns against the ridiculous ideological cuts to Universities and the burden of an increased and unfair student debt.

Solidarity from Portsmouth. Matt Blackall _____________________________________________________________________ About a year ago the London College of Communication (University of the Arts London) was occupied by students in protest against the several departmental cuts taking place. We were few, but we stood tall and, despite outcomes, Oppose LCC Course Redundancies made a stand and caused a stir in a relatively apolitical college. SOAS, my current institution, is more of the beaten path when it comes to occupations. Yet, occupations, like many other direct actions through which students reclaim their universities and control over their education, are vital steps in the exercise of our rights as students and as citizens. I’ve learnt a lot a year ago, but I will join you tomorrow (so stay put!) because it always seems to me that there is something else to learn!

In Solidarity, *Joana Oliveira Pinto*

*National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts* and former general secretary of Oppose LCC Course Redundancies

___________________________________________________________________

The Six-Gun and the Fountain Pen

Someone remarked at the GUCU meeting yesterday that the coalition cuts constitute an “attack on thinking.” This is close but not quite bang-on the mark. The defunding of the arts, humanities and social sciences is an attack on a very particular kind of thinking, the kind which questions, for example, not only why public policy often doesn’t achieve its goals (an immanent critique), but why those goals are what they are to begin with, what agendas they embody below the surface, and how they might be different (a transcendent critique). That’s a dangerous sort of thinking, a threat to powerful people and institutions who benefit from the status quo and would prefer that people focus on the reasons for petty tick-box failures rather than threatening to bin the boxes altogether and replace them with something more humane.

So it’s no wonder they’re going after, by default, places like Goldsmiths, and all institutions which value creative, critical thinking. It’s not just that what we do here doesn’t make as much profit as, say, engineering or chemistry (though even that proposition is dubious given the enormity of the creative industries), but that what we do is potentially threatening. What they seem to be saying to us is: “You are useless.” What they actually mean is: “You are dangerous.” They are correct.

Woody Guthrie wrote in The Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd that “Some will kill you with a six-gun, and some with a fountain pen.” The assault on the arts, humanities and social sciences constitutes intellectual execution by fountain pen. But don’t ever forget that the pen is ours as well. Shoulders with you for defending it.

In solidarity,
Eliza (Anthropology)
_____________________________________________________________________

To the Goldsmith’s occupiers,

At this evening’s Oxfordshire Trades Council meeting a motion in support of your
action was passed unanimously. Your action’s are something to be proud of and a
great example to students, unionists and and the wider public of how concerned
citizens can take action to fight the damaging, radical alterations to our society
currently being undertaken by a government with no mandate to do any such thing.

We extend solidarity and wish you all the best in your future campaigning!
_____________________________________________________________________

Solidarity from the #savemdxphil campaign! Good luck with your occupation. (My best advice from our occupation is to drink enough water, eat some fresh fruit, get enough sleep and set clear end points to how long discussions can go on (taking a vote if consensus hasn’t been reached). The revolution can’t use you if you die of scurvy/dehydration/exhaustion ;))

_____________________________________________________________________

Solidarity from London Met Uni UNISON. Us support staff are opposed to these cuts as much as the lecturers and students are. Our union calls for free education: tax the rich not the students! We salute your ins

 As an ex Goldsmiths student, (fully grant-aided), I would like to express my
admiration and support to the students who have the courage to demonstrate
against this government’s threats to the future of education and indeed any
hopes of building a fair, just and equal society.

Irene M. Lomas

____________________________________________________________________

Just sending solidarity greetings and hope it goes well today. It comes at
an important time with the statistics on graduate unemployment and cuts to
HE as well as other public services. Our young members, many of whom are
looking to return to higher education in the next few years will be put
off from going and also face the prospect of mass job redundancies.
Apologies for not getting down last night but I was working. Anything I
can do to support the campaign let me know. I will try to get down this
afternoon if it’s still on.

In solidarity

James Kerr
Lewisham Unison Young Members Officer (Personal Capacity)

____________________________________________________________________

Hi James,
just wanted to send a message of solidarity to all the students involved
in the occupation. This is expressed in a personal capacity and as
President of Goldsmiths UCU.
Best wishes
John
John Wadsworth
Senior Lecturer in Education

____________________________________________________________________

LSE Students’ Union Members In Solidarity With Goldsmiths Occupation
Remember Remember the 3rd of November… On the day that the Tories & Lib
Dems announced their plans to increase student fees to £9,000 - Students
at Goldsmiths University have occupied Deptford Town Hall.
The Sabbatical Team at London School of Economics Students’ Union have
stated their unequivocal solidarity with the Goldsmiths Students’ Union
and their occupation against cuts and fee increases announced today by the
coalition government.
Ashok Kumar, LSE SU Education Officer, said “Members of the London School
of Economics Students’ Union have gone to the occupation in solidarity,
and we will continue to send members until the occupation ends. This is
the only way to react to this coalitions con. Their attempt to create an
atmosphere in which a cap of £9,000 is dressed up as a compromise is not
fooling anyone. Indeed, if yesterday’s welcome party by LSE’s students for
Chris Huhne is any indication, the Lib Dems are in for the worst nightmare
of their short lived and pitiful foray into the halls of power.”
Charlotte Gerada, LSE SU General Secretary, said “It is an abomination
that the government are unloading the entire burden of higher education
cuts onto young people, instead of realising that graduates are a true
investment to society. The government has its priorities all wrong -
telling some sections of the population to be financial prudent and not
incur unnecessary-debt, and to our young people, that it is totally
acceptable to take on mortgage-style debt before they even start out.”
Hero Austin, LSE SU Community and Welfare Officer stated, “The Goldsmiths
occupation will no-doubt be the beginning of larger and continued actions
around the country. Indeed, direct-action is a critical component in the
fight against today’s unconscionable attack on higher education.”
http://savegoldsmiths.tumblr.com/

____________________________________________________________________

Greetings from UEL and congratulations for taking the initiative and making a
stand. These cuts are an attack on the most basic of our rights. Occupation
of university building is a potent symbolic act which effectively reclaims
the university as a space for the development of oppositional ideas.
Hopefully this will be the first of many such actions across the country. In
solidarity.

Debra Benita Shaw
Senior Lecturer/Programme Leader, Cultural Studies
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
University of East London

____________________________________________________________________

I’d like to communicate the support and solidarity of the Hereford
College of Arts UCU branch for what you have done and continue to do.
I’m also a research student in the sociology department at Goldsmiths
and so your action is doubly significant to me, personally, keep
fighting the cuts!



Steve Hanson (UCU branch secretary, Hereford College of Arts)

_____________________________________________________________________ Read more here: http://savegoldsmiths.tumblr.com/post/1474933440/emails-of-support

1 note

2 notes

24 hours occupation comes to an end.

Occupation wrapped up came to an end, ended in a march back to the union. Many more emails and support has come through, will get them up asap! Much more media coverage too! Will be up soon!