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(en) Britain, AUTONOMY & SOLIDARITY anarchist group On the occupation: a communiqué of a student anarchist group

Date Mon, 09 Feb 2009 12:03:27 +0200

This is the first of hoepfully many irregular communiqués by your favourite campus
anarchist group Autonomy & Solidarity - a newly formed university anarchist group - on the
eve of an SWP-called occupation of a university building in support of a campaign for
scholarships for Palestinian students. -- AUTONOMY & SOLIDARITY ON THE PROPOSED OCCUPATION
Dear fellow Goldsmiths student, ---- You may have heard talk of a proposed occupation of a
university building right here in Goldsmiths. The occupation – which now looks almost
certain to happen – has been called by a variety of groups, including the Socialist
Workers’ Party, the Palestinian Society, the Middle East Society and the Women's Society.
The intention is to exert further pressure on the College Warden so that he grants full
scholarships to two Palestinian students from Al-Quds University on the West Bank, with
whom Goldsmiths is twinned.

A&S support the occupation, not only out of solidarity with the plight of Palestinian
university students - who suffer incredible hardships in their attempts to educate
themselves in a warzone - but also because the act of occupying in itself is worthwhile as
a means of defending students and asserting our interests.

Goldsmiths will only be the latest in a wave of university occupations which have spread
the length and breadth of the country in recent weeks, from LSE to Strathclyde. The
success rate of this occupation movement in achieving its demands has been impressive; it
demonstrates the efficiency of occupation as a tactic. Indeed, it seems likely that the
Warden and Senior Management Team will eventually quit dragging their feet and grant these

However, as grand of a victory as this would be, A&S do not consider these two
scholarships to be the be all and end all of the matter. Unfortunately, Palestine is not
the only conflict zone in the world, and neither are Palestinians the only ones who are
denied access to a decent education. Here in Britain, 6th formers brace themselves for the
raising of the top-up fees maximum cap from £3,000/year to £10,000/year, whilst non-EU
students at Goldsmiths from October onwards are looking at annual course charges of up to
£13,700! This fact alone discriminates against all but the most privileged.

A&S call for a renewed discussion about Goldsmiths’ poor record on fees, both for British
and international students. We demand to know whether Goldsmiths – who lobbied Parliament
to introduce the £3,000/year fees cap before introducing it on campus - will do the same
with the £10,000/year cap. We also wish to know, in an institution that’s so confident in
its apparent lack of prejudice, why it is that economic factors are considered valid
recourse with which to deny education to willing but poor students.

A final point: with the occupation now imminent, we would like to cast the widest possible
net and include as many Goldsmiths students as possible in its realisation. This must not
just be another example of “the usual suspects” fulfilling their own fantasies and
predetermined political agendas. This occupied space is for all of us as Goldsmiths
students, and we want you to participate in determining its usage. We’re planning film
nights, free food kitchens, workshops; what ideas do you have? With your help, it won’t
just be another left wing talking shop. It is for this reason that we say:

TUESDAY 10TH FEB - 5.15PM - RHB142
A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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