Following three days and two nights of peaceful protest, we are being kettled round all sides and know that we are being served in the near future with an injunction, and so we are leaving. We are incredibly grateful for the level of support we have received throughout the duration of this occupation. Students, staff, union members, the Guild, other Occupy groups and people involved in the larger movement have shown us continued kindness, encouragement and solidarity, and we appreciate it greatly.
Sadly the same cannot be said of University management, who have refused to negotiate with us and have purposefully taken the decision not to support their students but to employ underhanded intimidation tactics that respect neither the aims of our occupation nor the general right to protest, and undermined our basic human rights. The fact that kettling is preferable to further attempts of negotiation is a direct show of how management feels about its students. The little contact that we have had with them has confirmed to us definitively that as far as the higher-ups are concerned, this University is not primarily a place of education but a business.
There are three main components to what we intended to achieve here: to put pressure on the University, to achieve collective autonomous learning-based goals within the occupation and to take a committed stand against the ongoing privitisation of higher education. In terms of pressure, we feel that we have largely fulfilled that aim to the fullest extent that we can. The University have been forced to acknowledge that the issues raised in previous statements have not gone unnoticed and that they cannot rely on a culture of political apathy to push reforms that are not in the best interests of their students and staff.
Our learning-based goals have set the foundation for a consistent broad left movement within Liverpool, with many people from around the city expressing an interest in regular meetings at our own space. The active learning that has resulted from peer-to-peer learning and skill-sharing is something that we intend to replicate as frequently as possible with anybody who cares to join. Education should never be the domain only of those rich enough to afford it.
With regards to taking a stand, the location of the occupation combined with the attention we have received from national and local press has resulted in an undeniably effective visual representation of protest. The right to protest becomes more important every time it is threatened, and is in itself an integral part of student politics.
If the University insists on creating an ‘us vs. them’ rhetoric, then our place falls squarely into the united ‘us’ of workers, students, academic staff, union members and all people that believe in an education system that should be more than a profit-making factory. We stand with the unions, other Occupy movements, and any group that opposes the privitisation of the education system and our public services in general.
We will continue to support and show solidarity with the Occupy movements across the country.