The University of Birmingham’s senior management continue to refuse to negotiate with the occupation, and to use heavy-handed intimidation tactics. The issuing of an injunction against the students within the occupation demonstrates the management’s contempt for productive discussion and, as such, we feel that we now need to take further action in order to make them listen to our demands which they have yet to even acknowledge. The occupiers believe that their demands are legitimate, workable and in the interests of both students and workers. The management are clearly hostile to our reasonable demands and therefore require encouragement in order to take them seriously. In light of this, the occupation has decided that its only option is to escalate, and to call a demonstration for next Tuesday 3rd December, 2pm at the clock tower. The most recent stage in our escalation strategy is defiance of the injunction. We aim to stay in this occupation, using the space to organise future actions and engage with the student body, both at Birmingham and across the UK. We have further stages planned, and continue to use our time in occupation productively as a means of furthering our campaign for a democratic university which pays a living wage to staff and student staff. Escalation will continue until our demands are engaged with, taken seriously and ground is made with respect to their realisation.
UCU have called for strike action on this day, and as illustrated by the statement of solidarity issued by the Birmingham UCU branch, our aims are aligned with theirs. We seek, as do they, a more democratic university that values education over profit, fair pay and good working conditions for its workers.
Over the past week we have seen a phenomenal amount of support from students, epitomised by the storming of the occupation seen yesterday where vast numbers of students joined their fellow occupiers in the Senate Chamber and voted to remain inside long after the injunction came into force.
We have seen an ever-growing interest from both local and national media, which is proving valuable in uniting students and workers across the UK. We have seen solidarity action from student groups and unions, which strengthens our resolve to continue with our campaign at Birmingham. For example, Leeds University are demonstrating today in support of our occupation. Additionally, a national demonstration has been called which will take place on the university campus. We are also using this opportunity to build alliances across campuses in order to unite the struggle against the privatisation of higher education and student loans, as well as put the issue of democracy (or the lack thereof) in the corporate university.
The campaign is growing, and growing fast – and as long as it continues to grow, the university management will either seek to intimidate us into submission or be forced to negotiate. The pressure must be maintained. We demand open access to the occupation so that more students can come together in order to help realise a better university. This space may be closed, but the horizon is open for continued struggle.
We refuse to be intimidated.
Tuesday 3rd December, 12pm, at the clocktower.