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
Hello once more! After a night’s sleep interrupted by the police wandering in to check the windows for damage (there was none, we’d arrest ourselves if there had been) at around half past eight, this is how things are. The University continues to refuse to allow access into the building for either people or food. The heating has been cut off and the room is pretty brass bloody monkeys. There’s also no access to the internet, I am typing this in the library having broken occupancy to get to a tutorial. The University refuses to allow people to re-enter the occupation even if they have left to go to class.
The University issued an offer to re-allow heating and internet if we agreed to a date to leave, facilitated by Owen Wilson and Sienna, who are wonderful people in our eyes. This offer was respectfully rejected, unless the University allows free acess for one hour a day. If this is allowed, it will be up on here, Facebbok and Twitter, so if you want to come join in this evening if it is permitted, KEEP CHECKING! If they carry on refusing to let people in, I’m sleeping in the corridor outside, or the goddam quad if they make me.
The messages of support are making us feel all warm and happy – solidarity is coming in from as far as Greece and Peurto Rico, where students have been occupying for two months! Amusing conversations in a mix of Spanish and English, but love transcendends the language barrier, and indeed all things. My Martin Luther King poster was stolen from the doors of the occupancy, presumably by Estates, at some point in the night, but I leave you with what it read – “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” On Thursday, thousands of students will be standing in opposition in Edinburgh, and there may be a bus going from here if you want to get involved. I’ll keep you posted!
Siena Parker and Owen Wilton both visited our occupation earlier to talk about how cold it was. After they left a thing happened:
We figured out how to get around the University’s closed doors policies. As we were making our way around their arbitrary decision, Estates, who have been ordered by the Principal’s office not to let students in. Estates had already built a barricade to stop students coming in the back, but we found more ways into the building.
When Estates realised the jig, one barged into the occupation, shoving those guarding the door to the floor. He then continued to push people away at the window, and almost pushed someone out the window they were coming through. He then called for support and the police. The police came, and after brief negotiations with hastily called back Siena and Owen, they ostensibly left again.
We kept on trying to get in because the University’s policy is unreasonable. We felt strongly enough about our freedom of access, and because the University has refused to discuss this essential point. we will continue to call for support. Spread the word, and come by and see the occupation. Call the official phone to get in touch, send us support, get in touch with management and the Student’s Association to express support.
The situation inside the occupancy is now returning to jolly equilibrium. Nothing broken, the building or more importantly people. Shortly be preparing for bed. Nighty night, in the morning we’ll be just where you left us!
Oh, and James? Noone’s saying yah. 😉
Students have been attacked attempting to enter the building. A student was almost pushed out of a tall window as Estates was trying to regain control. Owen and Siena are here. Discussions ongoing.