I'm writing to send you not only my solidarity and support, but also my thoughts and encouragements, as you must be getting tired by now. Stay strong and hang in there--you're doing the most important work there is at the moment, and so very many students and staff around the country and the world are really behind you!
Lots of virtual strength and pizza and whatever else you need,
University of Liverpool
Twenty years ago I remember the protests at top private universities in the US for 'need-blind admissions'. The idea then was that if the universities were to maintain their status, and thus produce the newest knowledge and best leaders for the US, it could not make wealth a requirement for entry. Now, sadly, need-blind has to be a call for every and any university student. The best state/public universities have been raided, defunded, cut back. A new crop of 'technical colleges' subsist on the backs of students who cannot afford their loans. And the US is behind every other Western country in terms of the production of knowledge. Its leaders that benefited from need-blind access are in the process of eliminating the benefit for the future generation.
Certainly, this is not a history we need to relive elsewhere? I support the students occupying the building to prevent the fleecing of affordable education for all.
Dr. Vicki Mayer
This is a short message of support for the student occupation taking place in protest over education funding cuts.
With non-violent protest like yours taking place I think it’s impossible for the government to ignore the genuine anger we’re all feeling about the cuts. Along with the massive public demonstrations it’s amazing and inspiring to see how much some people are sacrificing for their beliefs. You’ve all got my support and I’m sure I’m just one of many, many thousands of people around the country who feel the same way – fantastic stuff.
University of Liverpool
I know you must be tired but we all appreciate what your doing.
Be realistic, demand the impossible.
North East Shop Stewards' Network
I'm a grad student in the History Department at Duke University, in North
Carolina, USA. Just wanted to offer some words of support for your worthy
cause. Education must be affordable in order for it to be democratic, and I
admire your act of protest in response to the dramatic educational cuts going
on in the UK. There are many people supporting you and confident that your
efforts will be effective. Keep it up.
Hello to all occupiers!
You are doing a great job and offer messages of solidatry. If we keep going like this we can stop these education cuts and break the weak collision that has been forced on us
Plymouth Students Aganist Cuts
I want to express my support for your courageous and inspiring action of resistance against the university cuts and the government's campaign to destroy the very notion of a public good and intensify the already intolerable inequalities that structure our society. Keep up the struggle!
Department of Sociology
Goldsmiths, University of London
I wish you all the best with your struggle against the cuts in education funding in the UK. I was educated in the UK undergraduate system in the 1980s (University of Nottingham) and was also involved in union action for graduate student work benefits at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. I hope your occupation highlights to the general public and media the longterm social costs of this government's assault on the public sector.
Dr Nabeel Zuberi
Department of Film, Television and Media Studies
University of Auckland, New Zealand
I send my support to you in your occupation. Your fight and that of students and anti-cuts activist around the country will succeed. We are many, they are few.
Keep up the occupation for as long as you can.
Former President of the NUT (2001-2002)
Hi I an writing to express my support. I am a member of the UCU committee at Liverpool and delegate to the Trades Council, which also passed a policy in November to support the student actions. As you mention other countires you may be interested in round up of international student actions from Argentina to the US and Europe - http://lavozlit.com/?p=1380
As you have asked for messages of support internationally I have sent your email to the student movement in the US, Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Italy where I have contacts.
Hold on! I wish my students were doing what you're doing... I've heard so many terrible things about students being just a bunch of whingeing privileged brats who protest cos they think it's cool, and you have to continue doing this to show these people that there's more to this than smashing stuff and being cool, more of us must occupy and stop these profoundly ideological cuts from wrecking our education system! I'm a PhD student/Teaching Assistant, did my UG in Italy, fully funded, and I simply could not have gone to uni had I been born here, not even under the current system - let alone with the fees they're trying to introduce... - so I'm personally as well as politically grateful for those who are protesting against this, because this is the time to stand up and say no, not to keep calm and carry on!!
Keep at it, this will spread and the ConDem won't get away with this!
I understand that students at Bristol UWE are still in occupation. If so please pass on this message of support to all concerned and I hope the next day of national protest helps keep up the pressure on this disgraceful ConDem administration. Good on you all.
Sent in a Personal Capacity
National Union of Teachers; National Executive Committee member representing South Yorkshire
This morning I received a message from your lecturer Mark Bould asking for our support of your protest. I can tell you that everyone I know at the University of Liverpool, all those who protested and marched last Wednesday and those who are still protesting are completely behind you in your campaign. You have shown enormous dedication and effort to continue your stand into its second week and I hope the widespread opposition to the education cuts will continue around the UK and stop this huge mistake.
I am in my second year of studying Music/Popular music at the University of Liverpool and I do not wish future students to be unable to have the wide amount of opportunities that I have had and be burdened with an even greater debt. Thank you for all of your efforts and keep going!
We may be jealous of your snow Bristol but we are united in our fight against the government’s education cuts.
I would like to express my support and solidarity with the occupiers at UWE. I side with everyone who stands peacefully but firmly against the cuts in education spending and against a rise in the tuition fees.
As in the opening statement of our campaign Never send to know for whom the bell tolls. PhDs unite against the cuts!:
"We can, must and need to SAY NO to the cuts. And we have to do it together with all the other groups which will be hit most by the cuts – women, ethnic minorities, disabled people, workers in the public administration, undergraduate students. The more of us will express their dissent, the more effective our protest will be.
We reject the logic which sets education against health care; science against humanities; intellectuals against the working class. The real choice is between a fair and safe society, which values culture, solidarity and variety, and a greedy and unsafe world, in which no real space for free education and research is given.
We are for more public spending in research, tuition-free universities, freedom of thought and research, public welfare and more social fairness.
IF WE UNITE, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE."
PhD Student at the University of Reading and co-founder of the campaign Never send to know for whom the bell tolls. PhDs unite against the cuts
I'm writing at the suggestion of one of the lecturers at UWE to offer what support I can from up here in sunny Liverpool. It's all words, I know, but I do think you're doing an extremely important job in what you're undertaking. You all must be feeling pretty battered by it all, but it's genuinely crucial work, so please please keep going as long as you can. I imagine you could also be feeling a little isolated too, but I know that many many people are behind you in this one; based on my recent emails, I know that people from around the world are as outraged as you about the cuts, so please know that you're representing a massive populus.
I'll try and post you some snacks...!
Dr Freya Jarman-Ivens
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Music
University of Liverpool
Greetings from the Leicester branch of the National Union of Teachers. Congratulations on maintaining your occupations in Bristol and in Leeds. The fight to stop the increase in tuition fees and defend the EMA is the same fight that we all have to prevent widespread, unnecessary cuts. I'm sure you'll agree that the continual sound of old Etonian millionaires telling us that we're all in it together is sickening. Well we are all in it together; we're all in the fight to defend state education. Good luck with your continued occupation and keep up the good work.
With best wishes
Education and Health should be free! You are doing our best defending what rightfully belongs to you and to all future generations. Governments in Greece have backed off such changes after mass demonstrations and occupations!
Dr. Christina Adamou
Lecturer in Film Theory
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Congratulations on your occupation. Keep up the fight against the cuts,
against the abolition of education and the abolition of youth as we know
it. History will damn us if we don't.
National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts Co-founder
UCL Union Education and Campaigns Officer (pc)
On behalf of Leicester National Union of Teachers, can I offer our support in your fight against the government's attack on higher education.
The raising of tuition fees, removal of EMA and the scrapping of Aiming Higher are designed to ensure that Higher education becomes the private preserve of the wealthy. We cannot allow that to happen.
Peter Flack (Assistant Secretary, City of Leicester NUT).
Just wanted to send you protestors a message of support - what the government of the UK is doing to higher ed is a disgrace. Keep on fighting the good fight, you've got Canadian academia with you in spirit. And if you need an air-drop of maple syrup (or any other more practical help), just say the word.
- Jessica Langer (Canadian, but with a UK PhD)
I'd just like to express my support for your efforts in nonviolent
protest in response to the completely wrongheaded government policies
over universities. It is so typical to see politicians denying
opportunities to others that they themselves took for granted, and
there is no doubt that these measures will roll back social mobility
to where we were in the 1970s.
Dr Andrew M Butler
Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies
Canterbury Christ Church University
I have hesitated to write to you because I have seen my colleagues around the world write stirring letters of encouragement based on their battles from the past, and I have no such stories.
But I realize this morning that I do have one word of encouragement for you: not a word of proof that these fights get won, but a word of your importance to the next round of fights around the world. Take heart not only because these fights have been won in the past, but also because the rest of us will soon be fighting these fights ourselves, and we will look to your efforts as inspiration. Fight to win now; fight to show us how to win tomorrow.
Joe Sutliff Sanders
Department of English
Kansas State University
WELL DONE! Two weeks is a fabulous achievement, lots of strength to you all and keep in there! It is only gestures like this that could save us all.
Dr HOLLY ROGERS, School of Music, University of Liverpool.
Hi people, I think it's great what you are doing, I know that with all of the student protests, we'll make a difference!
Don't give up, know that every student in the country is behind you,
unlimited admiration from Liverpool
Dear occupying students
I am writing to express my support for your stand and the occupation. I am a lecturer at St Matts (Media and Cultural Studies). Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.
Dr Seth Giddings
Dept of Culture, Media and Drama
Dear Mark and Students:
I would like to put in a good word as well. I taught at University of London from 89-91 so I know the UK system and have been horrified to hear that yet more cuts are in the works.
I would like to recommend a wonderful Japanese animated movie by Hayao Miyazaki, arguably the worlds greatest living animator and, not incidentally, a man committed to ideals of political fairness and collective action. The movie is “Porco Rosso” and it’s about a former WW1 pilot who is so disgusted with humanity after the war that he turns into a pig. Yes—a pig. As Porco says about his transformation--”I’d rather be a pig than a fascist.” The movie is lighthearted, beautiful, and funny but it has a poignant subtext, summed up in the beautiful song his love interest sings at the heart of the movie. The song is “Les temps de Cerise” and it was the theme song of the Paris Commune in the 1870’s. Inspiring song. Inspiring movie.
Good luck and best wishes to all.
Dear Mark and students:
Affordable higher education is under siege throughout the English-speaking world. The drive to "privatize" public education, to turn it more into a for-profit enterprise, has continued to erode the ability of working-class families to send their children to college, and for working-class parents to attend college themselves. I am the product of the public school and university system in California, and I know the opportunities I enjoyed as a young man would now be beyond my reach financially. The struggle in which you are engaged is crucial for your own futures, but it is also the front line of a battle to keep education affordable for the generations yet to come. Conservatives in Britain and the United States keep on cutting back, and cutting back, and their goal is nothing other than the elimination of affordable education and the destruction of disciplines and subjects that teach students to think critically. There is nothing more dangerous to powerful elites than educational opportunities for the working class. Please carry on with this important struggle, and know that the thousands of students and hundreds of professors here at California State University, Los Angeles are behind you.
And if you get bored, try acting out scenes from Doctor Who or Being Human. Or maybe just sing nasty songs about the PM. That guy does seem (from this side of the Atlantic) to be quite the douchebag.
Dr. Patrick B. Sharp, Professor and Chair
Department of Liberal Studies, CSU Los Angeles
I had the privilege to visit the occupation at SOAS on Friday and want also to pass on my support and solidarity to Leeds and Bristol.
Your actions are helping to inspire an older generation to take action too.
Communities, students, youth and trade unionists acting boldly together can make this Government think again!
Member of the NUT National Executive for Inner London
Dear University of the West of England Occupants,
Haringey Solidarity Group supports your struggle against the cuts and rise in tuition fees.
The bankers and the rich created this crisis, yet the government are making the rest of us pay for it. Education should be a right for all, not just to the rich.
Keep up the good work!
on behalf of Haringey Solidarity Group
In the 1980s, you had Thatcher, and this was the beginning of the world's decline into neo-liberalism. In the 1990s and 2000s, in Australia, we had Howard, who put in exactly the same bunch of policies. What happens in the UK will generally happen to Australia a little while after—we are still a little colony stealing ideas from the northern hemisphere. We were shocked to hear of the reforms over here, not only because we know what it means for the education system and the entire culture there, but because we know that it will take place here if our government can get away with it
It has long been our mistake to negotiate and accept a conversation with bureaucrats in the pay of policies made by the elite. Too much! Bomb the fuckers with flowers, may their pores be full of the stench of capitalist corruption and the victory lie in the hands of people who care. Education is one way out ofallowing a country to becoming another victim to this corruption.
I know that sometimes from the insider, protests can be exhausting. But the bonds you are forming now will go on, your actions are all too rare and thus will be remembered, every strike action goes straight to the heart of the problem—you are making something that cannot be unmade.
With sincerity from Australia,
Lecturer, art history
University of Western Australia
Good luck with your occupation and I hope it makes some difference to the threat of cuts. I work at a regional university in North Queensland, Australia, where we've suffered cuts of course, but nothing like what threatens you.
As an old activist from past student days I'm thinking of you all.
And say hello to Mark Bould for me.
I really admire what you guys are trying to achieve, keep on it and hopefully this ridiculous error will soon be corrected.
Just a quick note of thanks and best wishes before I go to bed on a cold Sunday night. Hope you are all well and in good spirits.
I just wanted to add my voice to those supporting the student occupation at UWE. If the cuts proposed by the coalition go ahead, they will cause massive and lasting damage to our universities, and to our cultural and artistic landscape. I think it is vitally important that people let the coalition know that their proposals are unacceptable. I have been very encouraged by the student display of solidarity and determination, and I can see the positive effect it is having on the political discourse. There is a backbench rebellion amongst lib-dems and the more the protests continue, the further this is likely to spread.
You have my full support.
This kind of open, peaceful demonstration draws vital attention to the inequalities that the proposed plans will exacerbate - my congratulations!
Dear Act at UWE
A message of solidarity from the undersigned at the University of Leicester School of Management for all your fantastic work to resist the invidious and outrageous activities of the university's senior management.
Please do let us know if there is anything more concrete we can do to help
Maria Puig de la Bellacasa
Juan Felipe Espinosa Cristia
City and Islington College
UCU Camden Road Branch
UCU Camden Road Branch sends a message of solidarity and support to occupying students as well as congratulations to all school, FE, and HE students for their magnificent demonstrations across the UK.
We demand the immediate withdrawal of these gross attacks on post-16 education and stand shoulder to shoulder with students who have once again demonstrated they are the conscience of the nation.
Andrew Strouthous, Branch Secretary
Sean Vernell, Co-ord Secretary
I would like to commend you for protesting your government's cuts to education funding. You have the right to an affordable education and so do the generations of students coming after you.
As we know from the American example, cuts to education can only weaken a people's ability to strive for a better life. I thank you for trying to stop this situation from happening in your country.
Curiously enough, I just happened to finish an article on the necessity of "real" activism--the kind you are doing-- versus the wishy-washy activism spurred by Twitter and Facebook. Perhaps its description of the commitment of the civil rights activists in Greensboro will inspire you. If not, it could make for interesting reading while protesting (??): http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/10/04/101004fa_fact_gladwell?currentPage=all
Hoping that you win this battle,
I'd like to congratulate you on occupying the building at the UWE and pledge my full support for your fight against the cut backs in education, that unfortunately are being run all across the board. I have listened to people wondering why we don't fight back more in this country, especially when we see pictures of the people in Greece and France seeming so determined to defend the rights that were won by our forefathers in the working class. However, the student protests have been an example to all workers and certainly an inspiration to myself. When I have seen and read about how young people are responding to the cut backs that are to pay for the financial crisis caused by the bankers I feel reinvigorated and I know others feel the same. My Mum whose 50 years old was even asking when the next demonstration was in Manchester so she could take part and she has never taken part in political action before. Of course we know demonstrations are only the start and the anti-war movment has taught us that if that is where the action ends we will fail. More direct action, like you yourselves are taking is required and also for the fight back to be connected to the trade union movement and wider community. You people are leading the way and it is your example that others will be inspired to follow that will ensure we defend our hard fought benefits and begin to change the world for the better where profit will not be more valuable than people.
Yours in comradeship,