As most of you probably know by know, the occupation ended at 2pm yesterday as many of us boarded the bus to demonstrate outside Holyrood.
We’ll be releasing a more detailed statement soon, detailing what we feel we achieved from the past four days. For now it remains only for us to thank all those that supported the occupation, in whatever form. I’d estimate that over the course of the occupation we saw more than 100 friendly faces come and go- pretty good considering we had no freedom of access. Thanks to those who brought food and blankets- we would have been in a bad way without that support. Thanks, too, to those who did publicity for our cause whether it was leafleting for the rally on Wednesday in St Andrews, or helping us get the word out about the situation in the occupation while we were cut off with no internet.
Finally, I’ve just checked our email address – which has been a little neglected in favour of twitter and the blog- and found more messages of support and solidarity, which reminded me to thank you all for those too. We got so many texts, tweets and calls over the time we were in occupation from staff, students and members of the public all around the world and it was so crucial to keeping up morale. One final thankyou to everyone that got in touch.
That’s all for now, but in closing I’d like to say two things, which were the most important talking points at our final meeting:
1) Come along to the meeting on Tuesday, if you live in or around St Andrews. 7.30pm in School 1 on 14th December. It’s a big meeting between staff and students to talk about how we can all work together to make this movement as big as possible and take it forward in the new year. More details on the facebook event here:
2) This is most definitely not the end!
At 1PM today over 50 students and staff gathered to show opposition to tuition fees and to the support the occupation of Lower Parliament Hall which has been going on since Monday morning.
Two of us from the occupation were invited out to address the crowd, and we spoke about the demands and purpose of the protest. I affirmed that the university had refused to negotiate on rescinding their positive assessment of the Browne report and the possibility of greater consultation with students before cuts. Pleas for respecting education were also denied, when we were refused the possibility of leaving briefly to attend to tutorials. It was stressed that we would not now, nor ever, give in to the University’s bully boy tactics such as denying us heating, freedom of movement and internet access. We emphasized that aside from our two principle demands, the university should also develop its widening access policy. On no grounds should Student Support Services be targeted in a moment when, according to studies by NUS Scotland, 68% of students already work more than the recommended 10 hours per week and 36% of students considering dropping out because of financial worries. Alex Bennett read out messages of support that we had received from all over the world, including an occupation in Puerto Rico, a host of English Universities, and Greek activists.
Students on the outside asked what they could do to help (we were giv en bread and chocolate!) and one suggested that passing cars beep their horns in support (many beeps have ensued!). But it was lecturers who were the most outspoken. One affirmed that the University had already threatened that there would be less staff here next year, whilst another said that he would arrange extra tuition for any of his students involved in the occupation. One professor has agreed to participate in a teach-in before we leave tomorrow. Following the rally, students from the occupation met with concerned staff and agreed to the establishment of a broad anti-cuts group here which would hopefully involve broader community organizations like the church. Its inaugural meeting will be next Tuesday at 7:30PM, venue TBC. We will be leaving the Occupation tomorrow, Thursday 2PM in order to attend the national demonstration in Edinburgh for which the Student Association and the UCU have put on a bus. But we have vowed to stay vigilant!
“Norman Baker has just told LSE occupation representatives that all lib dems will vote for the fee rise. Retweet everyone needs to know.” said @LSEOCCUPATION just now.
Hopefully Ming Campbell will keep his promises and vote against his party. The resistance is far from abated, as more and more of the country occupies. Bigup to Leeds who’ve occupied a Santander on Campus, and Glasgow who’ve just occupied today. Occupations are popping up faster than i can mention, and there’s been a flashmob at Euston The vote tomorrow is the beginning of a broad resistance, and we’ve seen throughout the day that the country will not take this lying down. Join the mobilisations in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London and visit a local University occupation!
Firstly, many thanks are due to Peter Walker at the Guardian for giving us some much-needed publicity in his liveblog of today’s student protest actions.
Secondly and most importantly, the rally arranged by UCU delegates is going on outside, but it’s slightly too far around the corner for us to see how many are attending. Two of our number have been permitted to go out and speak, though, so we’ll publish a fuller report when they return (hopefully to rapturous applause from the assembled hoards.)
It’s still pretty cosy in here, and thanks to our lovely supporters, we’ve still got plenty of food. Hopefully we’ll see some more of you during our final amnesty hour this evening at 7pm- if you haven’t come down yet, you should!
Central to today’s efforts to challenge the mean and overbearing government and their spineless lapdogs is the RALLY with the UCU in St Mary’s quad at 1PM. Come along and make some noise, and bring your friends!
Bring them tonight to, as entrance will be allowed between 7-8PM as yesterday. This may be you last chance to spend a night in LPH, and the atmosphere in this room is awesome.
They say CUT BACK, we stick our tongue out and make a rude noise.
Open Hours & Rally
Well good morning rebellious youth. The Occupation slept SO soundly last night – all warm and well fed. Thank you so much to everyone who brought food, music and came to join us on the inside. After being starved out by the University’s management, cut-off from the outside world and dealing with lots of men with authority (nothing new there though) it was a lovely break.
We decided this morning, or I thought we did as I was really too sleepy to tell what was happening, for our open hour – the pathetically small time slot that the Uni has offered to let people in – to be at 7 to 8 this evening. We expect the same as last night: cigarettes outside, long lines to get in, lots of food, loud music and big smiles all around.
”What the f**k?” you say? ”What happened to the rally? Can’t we come in then?”
Well…the University said we couldn’t have our open hour during the rally as too many people would come in. How insane! Its an admission that they know that we have support and that those at the raly at 1 can’t join our occupation. Still, we’ve all got a lovely show planned for you with the University and College Union giving a few kind words, two ‘delegates’ from inside the occupation to rally support and everyone else who has given us solidarity. Some folk on the inside have just left to hand out leaflets so you might catch them at the Library handing them out.
This certainly doesn’t mean we’re not trying/ will try to get you in during the rally. The great smuggling continues!
Rally – 1pm St Mary’s Quad
Open Hour – 7pm-8pm Parliament Hall
The Occupation continues,
P.S. How much of murderous Field Marshall Haig’s painted stare can we endure?
The doors are open! So many people are in Lower Parliament Hall now, it’s clear to us just how much love was being kept at bay by the black suited minions of authority, subservient to the gnarled whims of their covetous masters.
No, that’s hyperbole, I’m too glowing now the doors are open, the heaters are on and I can post freely to muster the requisite righteous anger. Getting hugs and chocolate is a massive boost to the chilly occupiers who have been here for the last two days.
Just a note to some of the negative mutters I have heard about myself and my merry comrades. Look, even if we knew in advance that the University would not budge on a single point as a result of this occupancy,(though negotiations will continue) we would still be just where we are now. Why? Because we know the stand the student population across the country is making to defend the noble ideals of Education and the rightful futures of young people five or ten years hence, and we would have felt cowards not standing with them. The message is being made loud and clear to the government and their supporters that they cannot act without reaction, cannot push without us pushing back. Even here, in this privileged bubble, our voice joins that message and becomes a shout. A shout with a slightly poncy accent maybe, but then Mr Cameron understands slightly poncy accents.
Secondly, this occupation is the start of an angry and motivated anti-cuts movement. Around me now is not the dry discussion of the policy room, or the euphemism of compromise, but hope. The people here are those who hold their ideas in their hearts and vote with their feet. Politically dead? Suck my alternate manifesto.
We keep true to our principals and ideals, true to our comrades, whose solidarity lifts us so high we know we can never be brought down, and true to the hope that things can be changed for the better.
With so much love, the LPH occupiers.
Today was a strange day at occupied Parliament hall.
After a long day of discussions in the cold, with Steve MaGee and Peter Clark, we finally gaine dthe basic right of warmth. We also got some internet and an hour amnesty to enter and leave once a day. This victory has come on condition of leaving the occupation on Thursday.
This bitter-sweet victory was only made possible by the huge amounts of solidarity and love we’ve been receiving from as far as Puerto Rico and Greece, as well as from all the occupations in the UK.
After yesterday’s confrontation and stand-off, we decided to concede to these conditions. The University, in all its dealings, reaffirmed its intransigence when it comes to negotiating about the cuts, and the Management’s stance on the Browne report. Despite having claimed they were entering negotiations with an open mind, we found they couldn’t accept any of our pettitions.
They skirted around issues of accountability. They reiterated that we were in no way entitled to make claims about their policy, owing at least in part to how few of us there are. They failed to notice this may have been the result of their closed-door policy. When pressed, they couldn’t tell us how many students it would take to move their position.
After these meetings with those at the top of the University food chain, many of us are keen to conclude that true negotiations will only arise of further and sustained direct action on the University. This is a time to begin building anticuts resistance, and we will keep up pressure on the University with a deiversity of tactics. Our experiment in occupation will happen again, and we will have learnt from our mistakes. This University administration is no longer unaccountable, and this student body will be alert, ready and able to resist when the neo-liberal axe finally falls.
Tomorrow the UCU has helped call a rally outside the occupation at 1, which we may coincide with our amnesty hour. We will also try and get involved with action in Edinburgh.
We’ve finally finished our negotiations- some 5 and a half hours later- and amnesty hour goes ahead at 7pm tonight.There are a couple of conditions- there’s a cap of 30 people allowed in the room at any one time, but during the hour, there’s a one-in-one-out policy in operation so it’s worth dropping by. Even if you don’t want to stay for long, drop by and say hi! Food and blankets are always useful, too. Just saying…
In other good news, as you can probably tell, the internet is working again. The heating is going to be back on soon, too, which will hopefully mean my fingers will thaw out a bit.
The final bit of news is that there will be a rally outside Parliament Hall on Wednesday 8th December at 1pm- come along and show your solidarity, it’s much appreciated. We’ve had dozens of messages, from as far away as Greece and Puerto Rico, and that has helped keep morale up during cold nights and protracted discussions.
Contrary to earlier statements made on this blog, we wish to state unreservedly that no assault took place and no students were attacked on the night of December 6th.
We apologise to any member of University staff who may have been distressed by this false allegation.
The night in question was heated for all concerned, however legal assault is a misused term for the actions we witnessed. We, the Occupiers, do not believe in police repercussions for ourselves or any member of University staff.
Since having our internet access cut, outside suporters relayed messages from ourselves to the outside world. Naturally, there has been miscommunication both between the occupiers and those outside sources, and within the outside world itself. Greater clarity is possible now that the internet access has been restored.
We still welcome discussions with the University regarding the issues that took us to Occupation.
No To Cuts!
The Occupiers December 7th 2010