Occupation Press Release 2/12/2010 For Immediate Release
At midnight tonight, the current occupation of Appleton Tower will come to an end. We are pleased to announce that we will leave of our own free will, not defeated but triumphant. Our decision to leave was a difficult one, motivated by our own particular situation. To remain in Appleton Tower beyond 9am on Friday would have disrupted next week’s exams and we all have exams of our own to prepare for. We have publicised our cause to the entire country and have forced the university to clarify their own position on the proposed education cuts. Finally, we have demonstrated the strength and unity of our movement, and solidified our resolve to continue campaigning and protesting. We continue to stand in solidarity with the ongoing occupations across the UK, and indeed the entire world.
This is only the beginning, and over the coming months this movement will continue to gain momentum and grow. The government of this country does not represent the people that voted for it, and is pursuing a course of action that we believe to be at odds with the good of its citizens. The proposed public sector cuts are not only regressive and badly thought out, but are driven by a corrupt ideology and will benefit nobody but a rich elite.
For too long, students have been accused of apathy; for too long, we have been politically marginalised. This generation has put paid to that myth; we can no longer be ignored. We are fighting for more than just education: a whole range of public services from healthcare to state pensions are at risk, and the time to defend them is now.
We have also been accused of selfishness; that we are only doing this to fight for a ‘privilege’ that we do not deserve. This is manifestly untrue. Everybody involved in the occupation will be personally unaffected by the fee rises; we wish to ensure that the opportunity that we were given is preserved for generations to come, and believe that it should be funded via progressive taxation.
Throughout the occupation we have organised ourselves through consensus decision making, a practice that has been rewarded with a high level of engagement and cooperation. It has fostered an open and friendly atmosphere, where any can make themselves heard, and none are left unrepresented. The non-hierarchical nature of this manner of organisation is of the utmost importance, and we hope that its use will continue to grow.
We would like to express our extreme gratitude towards all of those who have supported us throughout the occupation, whether through material contributions or messages of solidarity. In particular we would like to thank the Mosque Kitchen, who provided us with a number of delicious meals totally free of charge. Also we would like to acknowledge the patience and goodwill shown by the staff and students of Appleton Tower.
Next Thursday parliament votes on the Tuition Fees Bill. Another day of action, this time backed by the NUS, has been called for Wednesday 8th. We urge everyone to join this protest, so as to put as much pressure as possible on those MPs who promised to fight a rise in tuition fees. Our support has grown massively over the last week, and we know that it will continue to do so. When we first occupied, only two other universities had done the same; now there are nearly twenty. This fight has only just begun, and we call on all of those affected, students, workers and unemployed alike, to take to the streets and make themselves heard!
Edinburgh University Occupation