I just wanted to send a message of support for your actions. Where you
lead, hopefully the rest of us in higher education will follow.
Dr Andrew Cumbers
Reader and Editor in Chief, Urban Studies Journal
Department of Geographical and Earth Sciences
University of Glasgow
Hi UWE Occupiers,
Sending a message of solidarity from Southend, bloody good on you for getting on and doing the right thing. The fightback begins.
Chair, UCU South Essex College (Southend Branch)
I just heard about your occupation and wanted to say, "Well done, and the very best of luck!" I'll be joining you in the walkout tomorrow.
University of Bristol
Congratulations on your occupation.
David Cameron has boasted that Britain has the fourth-biggest army in the world. In the latest spending review £15 billion pounds has been set aside to pay for the war in Afghanistan for the next 5 years. This is on top of the almost £20 billion already spent on invading and occupying Iraq & Afghanistan. At the same time students are being forced to pay huge increases in tuition fees, tenants face cuts in housing benefit and people are told they must work longer before they retire.
Protests like yours inspire us all to step up the fight against the government's cuts on all fronts and to get the troops out of Afghanistan.
Bristol Stop the War Coalition
I just wanted to let you you know that I fully support your protest against the intended cuts and reforms at UWE.
Dr Casper Hoedemaekers
Lecturer in Organisation Studies
Cardiff Business School
Dear Students and Colleagues,
Your occupation and mobilization is showing us the way to resist the cuts not
only at the universities but also at the work places. Cuts in education and the
rise in tuition fees are neither neccessary nor rational from a social and
economic viewpoint. Education is a public good, should be free and has to be
financed by progressive taxes. You are now showing that cuts are also not
unavoidable, and we have an alternative.
Ozlem Onaran, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Middlesex University
Its brilliant to hear you are in occupation and that so many other Universities are following suit, as well as FE and school students planning to walk out tomorrow over the savage and unnecessary cuts that the Con-Dem government are trying to push through.
The money is there - in the bankers, politicians and prinicpals bank accounts, paying for the war in Afghanistan, bailing out Vodaphone etc. They say we are all in it together - a complete lie! Cameron and Osbourne were sipping Don Perignon the night before they announced the cuts and then they couldn't stop smiling when they announced the cuts!
We have to fightback and its good to see students leading the way. It is not inevitable that they will win, there is everything to fight for it is only inevitable if we sit back and do nothing. So hopefully, UCU will be on strike soon and bring on a General Strike!
(UCU Left Young Members Coordinator)
hi Fran from Ireland here ,we are all in this together so keep it up :)
We would like to congratulate you for taking a stand against the vicious cuts planned to funding for universities and to Education Maintenance Allowances. These cuts, if not stopped, will prevent poor people from going to university because we will not be able to afford it. The rich will not have the same problem. Therefore this is an assault on the working class.
Of course, it's not just education that's under attack. Masses of public and private sector job cuts are planned. Pay freezes are being implemented while the cost of living is rising. Pensions are under threat. At the same time, the Government is targeting unemployed people and punishing them in order to make them pay for the recession and for lack of jobs.
My trade union says it doesn't have to be this way. There is an alternative to the cuts. £120 Billion of tax goes avoided, evaded and uncollected each year. Simply collecting this tax would go a long way to tackling the budget deficit. The UK holds £850 Billion in banking assets from the bailout. We could use this money for the benefit of all of us.
Students, workers and all those opposed to the cuts need to support one another in order to ensure that we are not made to pay for a crisis that is not of our making.
Yours in Solidarity,
PCS DWP Avon Branch
I work in Student Support at UCP Marjon Plymouth – my husband teaches there and clearly as a small University with a strong remit to supporting Widening Participation we are at risk with the Condem policies…
Good luck to you all
Soli Greetings to you guys in England!
The students in Austria and in the whole world
are looking at your brave actions today!
We wish you big times success, our hearts and our feelings are with you!
Tomorrow, a big wave will spread the word all over England.
This is only possible because brave folx as you
are not scared to express your protest against
stupid and narrow-minded government policies.
All the best from Austria, we are big times supporting your efforts!
'Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number -
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many - they are few.'
Shelley, The Mask of Anarchy
Dear brilliant friends!
We congratulate you on your inspirational direct action and wish you every sucess in your righteous struggle against cuts. Billions can be found for banks and tanks, why not for education and the common people? 2009 saw the welcome return of an old tactic to the British political scene - the occupation. Student occupied, workers occupied against job cuts, parents, teachers and pupils occupied against school closures. All these little struggles are part of a bigger struggle for a more humane world that puts people before profit: The seeds of the new society are being sewn in the battle with the old . . . BRING ON THE WINTER OF DISCONTENT!
Dare to struggle!
Dare to win!
LOVE AND RAGE,
Cardiff Stop the War Coalition
Dear Occupying students,
Your actions are an encouragement to the millions who have heard about what you've done and are strengthened by the knowedge that people are fighting back.
All at Anticuts.org.uk
In support of your pain and acknowledging the poor regimes of punitive management of educational institutions globally - and in the fear that it will be us next!
Dr Jenny JOHNSTON
Lecturer in Primary Education
School of Education
Southern Cross University
Solidarity from a member of staff and UCU member at King's College London.
Keep it up guys!
Dear students at UWE,
You have my full support. Your struggle is inspiring and much needed for defending university education as a public good.
"Soyez réaliste, demandez l'impossible".
Dr Maria Rovisco
Faculty of Arts
York St John University
Dear Student Anti-Cuts Protesters,
Thank you. You are an inspiration. You have lit the blue touch paper. But now is not the time to stand back.
I was proud to be part of the tremendously successful Edinburgh University-led protest and occupation yesterday. There was a huge turn-out for an Edinburgh protest, and the sudden occupation of the university took everyone by surprise. I am not a student: I'm currently a benefits claimant, and was marching with the Edinburgh Campaign Against Poverty. One of the reasons I am most proud of the Edinburgh protest is that it made an active effort to work in solidarity with workers, benefits claimants, and all others affected by the cuts. As in London, we were all also delighted and impressed by the number of school students who came too. This is an aspect a number of the University anti-cuts campaigns are missing, and that's what I'm writing to you about now.
Your struggle is not isolated. You are not alone. All those affected by the cuts – workers, claimants, families, everyone – should be proud of you and impressed by you, because you have with rage and love and energy led the charge against these repressive and unnecessary cuts. Workers are being betrayed by the TUC just as students are being betrayed by the NUS: currently so many in Britain are waiting and hoping for organisations to work for cross-class struggle against the cuts. You can contribute to that.
This government, for all its flimsy rhetoric, is incredibly powerful. States are powerful. You do not win a fight against a state, with all its apparatus of power – from police who beat us up to teachers who punish schoolchildren for their brave protest “truancy” – unless you work across social groups, across classes, in solidarity with the huge diversity of people who are struggling with this government.
University student protesters, you are privileged. Many, if not most you, have far more financial freedom and time than many affected by the cuts (though certainly you will suffer terribly from them); many of you are white, or male, or have other markers of privilege. It is easier for you to protest and occupy than it is for many, because you will face less repression and have more freedom, and so you have a responsibility to use that power for others.
So do not let your struggle against fees be compartmentalised. Do not let the anti-cuts fight be divided. Go out and meet with trade unions, with workers and their councils, with disability and LGBTQ rights groups, with women's groups, with those fighting for their benefits, with everyone who is affected by the cuts. None of us will win alone. Together, we can. Do not be parochial. Do not let your struggle be the only reported struggle, and do not waste the power you have.
This is not to say that you must come and rescue the struggling poor or oppressed minorities. That would perpetuate structures of privilege and oppression. What I am saying is that you are organised, and that you are starting to be heard, and that all the other organised groups who have to struggle harder to be heard need you to work for them.
Be strong. Use your privilege. Extend your fight. Make it stronger. Show solidarity – but also be active in your solidarity. I say this without pretension or apology for sincerity: your country needs you.
This letter has been written quickly and not gracefully. It is propaganda. It is flawed. I am currently too busy working and fighting to spend much time writing the philosophical arguments and journalistic analyses. But you can find those elsewhere and I will link to as many as I can find as soon as I can; there are people struggling and writing on all fronts. I am not the only voice telling you this. I am not the only voice asking for your help.
We are already together. We are already strong. Onwards!
On behalf of the Education Activist Network, we would like to express our solidarity with your occupation. The student movement has a proud history of direct action and civil disobedience, and the attacks on our education from the Con Dem government require this on a scale.
We think it is important that activists involved in the different occupations – and in other actions such as the college and school walkouts – have a chance to compare their experiences and share ideas. More important still is that we have a chance to coordinate our resistance at a national level, to build a movement that can really threaten the government’s agenda.
To this end the Education Activist Network is organising a national student coordination meeting in London this Sunday. We very much hope that a delegation from your occupation can attend.
Education Activist Network
Hi you all,
Well done. We support you wholeheartedly and hope to visit soon with supplies. Please keep going - this fight isn't just yours - we are in it together.
All the best,
Bev, Jim, Ben & Harry
You have my sympathy and can only hope such actions as yours will make the government get their priorities right!
My support and best wishes to you all, on this cold night. You're doing the right thing.
Dear UWE anti-cuts students,
it is great that you are showing your support for future students in this
way. It is deplorable that the coalition is trying to eradicate public
higher education. I see your actions as a really positive and generous
action at a time where everyone is being asked to be self-interested. Your
actions are principled and look towards a future fairer society. Wishing
you well and thank you for fighting for all our futures.
Ben Highmore, University of Sussex
Dear UWE students,
I send this message in solidarity with your important action against funding cuts to higher education in your country. We are living during an extremely difficult time in which market logic is destroying much of our civil society, and these moves to make education a privilege of only the wealthy threaten to undo the political work of the past century. Your initiative and dedication in standing against these changes are greatly to be admired, and are the real source of hope for our future. My thoughts and best wishes are with you.
Sherryl Vint, Associate Professor, Brock University, Canada
As a professor of philosophy, film studies and as a researcher in the field of educational sciences, I am very much concerned because of what is happening at the universities all over Europe. Your protest therefore represents one of the critical points among efforts to preserve production of knowledge and a level of it’s transmission.
Prof. dr, DARKO STRAJN,
EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE
We, the individuals and groups listed below, offer our solidarity and support for the action(s) taken yesterday and the continuing occupations in Bristol and across the country.
The raising of Tuition fees, the cutting of Housing Benefit, Legal Aid and many other Social Benefits will cause hurt to many across the social spectrum. Mainstream Politicians and Media are already attempting to segregate and split an as yet unformalised, genuine coalition of the aggrieved.
One way to counter this attempt at division is if we refuse to criticise or condemn differing tactics, even if we privately disagree with them, and offer support to those arrested, suspended from university, or their jobs due to action taken.
Whilst many of the undersigned have doubts about the role of “The State” in our lives, we don’t seek to monopolise or take over protests to use as our own platform. Rather, we commit to engaging in spaces of protest and dissent as a means to debate and decide our common future(s).
We also call on those trade union members who are unhappy with their leaderships’ inaction on the cuts to engage with and support these protests which are currently the most vocal and visible challenge to the ConDem coalition.
Bristol No Borders
Cave Street Factory (Social Centre)
I'm writing to express my support and solidarity for your protest of the cuts to UK higher education. It's great that you're making your views known and sticking up for the value and necessity of affordable university education.
All the very best to you,
Professor Diane Negra
Head of Film Studies
School of English, Drama and Film
University College Dublin
I write to support the student protest of unreasonable university fees.
While there is of course no unequivocal way to reconcile budget deficits and spiraling expenses, the scientific data has shown time and again that the very best investment a culture can make in its own economic best interest is in education.
Small increases in fees might well be acceptable. Trebling fees is not.
Department of English
well done for taking a stand for the future of higher education; it is students like yourselves that make me think there is hope for us yet :o)
Simone Knox, Lecturer in Television at the University of Reading
Mark Bould has let a number of us know about your on-going occupation in protest of the severe and unnecessary public education budget cuts currently being proposed across the U.K. I hope you know how many people appreciate the work you're doing -- these sorts of cuts need to be opposed wherever they crop up, and the international academic community as a whole benefits greatly from local actions such as yours. There are a lot of us in solidarity with you.
I've forwarded news of what you're doing on to my own colleagues at Duke. Good luck with the occupation, and thank you.
Gerry Canavan, Program in Literature, Duke University, USA
To the Students at UWE:
I am writing this in support of, and solidarity with, your efforts to protest, oppose, and overturn the unconscionable cuts in support for higher education, and imposition of outrageously high tuition fees, currently proposed by the UK government. In working for the recognition of affordable access to education as a public good and a basic human right, you are not only seeking to assure your own futures, but also protesting on behalf of generations of students to come, and of students elsewhere -- such as in my own country -- who are threatened with similar prospects, if nothing is done to resist what is happening in the UK now. Be aware that the world is watching, and supporting your actions and your struggle.
Steven Shaviro DeRoy Professor of English
Wayne State University
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Dear UWE occupiers (and all the student protestors – the list of occupied unis keeps growing!)
I write in support of your occupation, and wish you and all the other protestors across the UK the best of luck with your campaign.
I’m old enough to have experienced a brief utopian space in Australia where, for a few years, higher education was totally free.
We won’t see that reality again, but we can still dream, and protest the continuing devaluing of our education, knowledge and the arts.
Continue to fight the good fight and keep your spirits up! If you need some good reads then your very own Gwyneth Jones offers up some revolutionary reading in her ‘Bold as Love’ series (and its free online - http://www.boldaslove.co.uk/). Crank up the Billy Bragg (who I understand has been in touch with student protestors), and maybe even some Hendrix.
I’m following and retweeting all the reports of occupations on twitter #solidarity and at http://anticuts.com/
Best of luck,
Dr Helen Merrick
Senior Lecturer, Department of Internet Studies
School of Media, Culture & Creative Arts
It is dangerous and difficult to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong. ~Voltaire
In solidarity with your struggle,
Duke University - Literature Program
Durham, North Carolina
I wish you all the best in your occupation of a university building in opposition to the potentially devestation cut-backs to the UK education sector. I understand that your protest is now into its second week, and I am sure you are all sick of the sight of the wallpaper by this point. However, I am sure that your efforts have been noted and I hope that a positive resolution will be reached if other student groups follow your lead and make their frustration heard in the same peaceful yet impassioned manner.
Dr. John Berra
I'd like to offer my support to your students. As a beneficiary - like almost all of the government - of subsidised, grant-supported higher eduction, it makes my blood boil that the current regime, like the last one, has striven to take away the opportunities they were able to take advantage of.
Someone has to stand up to the current dangerous, lunatic and frankly evil policies which are being deployed against people who are entirely innocent in the crisis that is supposedly being addressed. I'm sorry that it has to be this generation.
very best wishes
Congratulations and thanks for taking direct action to influence this critical moment in history. Your actions and all other actions like them cannot be understood except as part of a larger struggle—sometimes called globalization—which consists of an assault on all the democratic and progressive achievements of the past two centuries, instigated by a small fraction among us in control of a great deal of money and power. All of the so-called "austerity measures" we are seeing around the globe function to shift more control and power from public to private—they are attacks on "government of the people, by the people, and for the people," and need to be resisted as such. Nothing is as effective in this kind of democratic resistance as real people gathering in real places to practice civil disobedience or satyagraha in the tradition of Thoreau, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. Privatized power shivers in the face of such active popular resistance, because it demonstrates what could so quickly become a much larger phenomenon of resistance and change, created by citizens working for themselves and for future generations. Education is not a commodity but a human right. Best of luck to you all, I will be thinking of you, and if you need some paperback science fiction novels to occupy you during your time at work for us all, I have just the thing and can airmail a box of them to you.
thanks again, Stan
Kim Stanley Robinson
Dear UK students affected by the proposed education cutbacks in Britain:
I wish you all the best in your protests against these unconscionable and uncalled-for cutbacks in the higher education system. As someone who led the Teaching Assistant "revolt" at UCLA Film School back in 1979-80, I can only hope that you will achieve the same result that we obtained back then: the granting of all our demands.
Short of that happy outcome, I urge you to continue your efforts to inform the general public and concerned parents, students, administrators, law makers, and future students about the huge tuition increases on the horizon, and the short-term and long-term effects these actions will have on on the UK.
Here in the U.S.A., many public and private institutions have also instituted cutbacks and tuition increases, but none that I know of approach the scale mentioned in Mark Bould's announcement. In many cases, given these grim financial realities, the "best and the brightest" of Britain's youth may decide to emigrate abroad for their educations, and take their brains with them permanently!
Internationally, education often is one of the first items to be cut in "hard times," but it is not even "penny-wise" to do so, although it is certainly "pound foolish." I'm certain that I do not have to provide you with rationales and arguments to make a logical case in opposition to these education cuts and tuition increases.
What I can provide, though, is a morale boost of sorts from "across the pond." In my academic life and experience, I've won a few such battles (and lost a few) but I know this: if you relent and give up too soon, you will certainly not attain your goals, both for yourselves and for your posterity. As Winston Churchill famously said to the students at the Harrow School in 1941:
Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
Best wishes to all,
Frank P. Tomasulo, Ph.D.
Professor of Film Studies
City College of New York, City University of New York
To the students protesting budget cuts at the University of the West of England:
This is a message of support from California, where the state university system has been devastated over the past two years by budget cuts, service rollbacks, and fee increases. Our students have angrily mobilized against these wrong-headed initiatives that only serve to punish the future for the past's mistakes. In some cases (such as a recent protest of the University of California Regents' meeting in San Francisco), this has resulted in clashes with police, arrests, and charges. The media attention drawn by these protests has had an effect, however, and as a result of this pressure, over $300 million will be restored to the state education budget next year. While your actions may seem small and isolated, you are part of a community of young people who refuse to allow their horizons to be narrowed and their options foreclosed by shortsighted "austerity" measures. You are not alone.
Associate Professor of English
Coeditor, Science Fiction Studies
University of California
Good luck with your occupation in protest against these vicious cuts in UK higher education. It's a long time since I was last a student, even longer since I last occupied a university building. But I do remember how, after the initial excitement, there is a tendency for boredom to set in. Reading helps, in my experience. Iain Banks's short story, 'The State of the Art', should cheer you all up. Or anything by Kim Stanley Robinson. Dare to struggle, dare to win.
Professor Andrew Milner
Centre for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies
School of English, Communications and Performance Studies
I want to congratulate you on your occupation at UWE - let's hope that more students will follow your example around the country in the days and weeks ahead.
You are taking a stand in what is a fork in the road for HE - if the ConDem government gets away with its plans, it will destroy University as an affordable option for many many people for generations to come.
I hope that the example of students of all ages in not accepting this vandalism will help push the University and Colleges Union into a more robust defence of the sector than it has done so far.
thanks you and keep it up.
The British students resisting the savagely reactionary education cuts by the Cameron-Clegg government are among the heroes of the global fight against attempts to make ordinary people pay for the economic crisis caused by the stupidity and greed of the very rich. In 1968, protesters against the Vietnam War chanted, "The whole world is watching," as they were attacked by rioting police outside the Democratic Convention in Chicago. That is even more true today.
Professor of English
Faculty, Program in Film and Media Arts
c/o Department of English
Louisiana State University
Good on you all
Solidarity and warmest wishes to all students and supporters in occupation, hope you are keeping warm with lots of warm-blooded meetings and debates.
UNITED WE STAND. ALL THOSE IN OPPOSITION TO ALL CUTS. FIGHT ON
Keep it up! Well Done.
Dr Colette Balmain
I hear you’re entering the second week of peaceful protest at UWE. I can imagine that this is all very exhausting, so I just wanted to say WELL DONE for taking a stand for Higher Education, and please KEEP GOING! It is students like yourselves that make me think that there is a future for Higher Education in this country after all.
In solidarity and friendship,
University of Reading
Comrades, pleased to read of the action you have taken. Keep going as more and more people are supporting you.
Well done for the fantastic occupation, keep up the hard work!!
Love and solidarity from the Royal Holloway anti cuts alliance rhacc.wordpress.com
Please accept my good wishes in your struggle against the systemic attack on the university (and by extension the entire public sector) in Britain. I'm writing from the States where the recent national election will mean similar intensified attacks (even in the historically progressive state of Wisconsin where I worked for so long, and where I helped occupy both the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette University student unions in the long struggle against racism and imperialism); and this week I'll be returning to my home in Ireland where the new budget and EU strictures will catalyze similar public sector/education eviscerations.
You are not in isolation. We are all engaged in this together. There are alternatives to the reigning system. But you are on a front line, and I join with others in wising you courage and commitment. I agree with Frank Tomasula's advice, never give up, no matter what the apparent liberals may promise you to "diffuse the situation." You have more power than you may realize.
When I was in Milwaukee last month at the Society for Utopian Studies conference, I gave a paper on "The Milwaukee Movement as Concrete Utopia," in which I linked the movements of the 60s/70s with the current struggle. While I think Andrew Milner's recommendation of an Iain Banks short story may provide more compelling reading, I attach my paper for your interest, and in your support.
Emeritus Professor, School of Languages, Literature, Culture, and Communication
Executive Director, Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies
University of Limerick
Please express my best wishes to the students, and convey how gratifying it is that they are standing up for their principles and for the right of the next generation of students to study humanities. They are making a difference and sending a clear and necessary message,
Professor Diane Negra has made me aware of your struggle against the unspeakably awful cuts to funding for education that are being contemplated. I want to tell you that I support your struggle and hope that some accommodation can be worked out that will keep a reasonable amount of money available for allowing students to continue their higher education.
I am the author of five academic books about film and media, No End to Her: Soap Opera and the Female Subject; The Passion of David Lynch: Wild at Heart in Hollywood; Screen Couple Chemistry: The Power of Two; Dying to Belong: Gangsters in Hollywood and Hong Kong; and World on Film: An Introduction. I am now an Associate Editor of Cineaste magazine, but I spent over two decades as a professor of film and literature at New York University, and Mercy College and I know what you are up against. What you are doing is exhausting, but now is the time to fight, not after decisions are final. May you look back on a good fight well won.
I wish you success.
Martha P. Nochimson
Again we would like to reiterate how important these messages of support are to us. We recognise not only the national nature of this struggle, but the international level and in it we stand along side you all.
UWE Education Camp