The Goldsmiths Occupation of the Whitehead Building has now relocated. We planned to stay for ten days, although the manipulative behaviour of the Goldsmiths management made us want to stay longer. We are now seeking a more permanent (and warmer, cheers for the ‘broken’ fan) public site. It is important that this new space is an autonomous one, especially at a time when our universities are becoming more and more enclosed, corporatised and policed.
The experimental, collective space of the occupation has allowed us to organise and create together outside of the logic of atomised production and alienated existence that is increasingly the day-to-day mode of the university. As well as the process of deciding collectively how to inhabit the space, we enjoyed: talks with Cedric Robinson, Sara Ahmed, Becky Beasley and Neil Transpontine, among others; a rap from US war vet Darnell Summers, written by a friend who died whilst fighting in Vietnam; numerous art events; a discussion on education and with members of the education department; discussions on the intersections between gender, race and class; deconstructions of discourses around multiculturalism; and many musical sessions including acoustic punks, Cosmo and DJs. When we arrived the space was cold and vacant. We were able to liberate it from this misery with karaoke, sleeping-bag film nights and trolley rides. In support of the N30 strike we prepared banners and a Goldsmiths counter-marketing campaign, telling it as it is. We also used the space to provide free tea, coffee and biscuits outside, where we were able to have important debates with fellow students, staff and local residents, as well as learn new swear words from Linda Pring.
Despite having acknowledged at first that we are a peaceful occupation, management then tried to portray us as potentially threatening and violent. We don’t mind a smear campaign, as we know most students and staff can see through this. Management weren’t content with this though, and actually closed the (unoccupied) cash office , apparently because it was next to an occupation, saying that it ‘made staff uneasy and uncomfortable’. They denied emergency loans to students and told members of staff that they wouldn’t receive their Christmas pay. It is totally unacceptable for management to play with the welfare of vulnerable students and staff, while the Warden and other senior members of management are paid such excessive salaries. Their manipulation of perceptions about the occupation continues the vilification and repression of legitimate protest. We are left asking ourselves who will stand with us in our fight against the destruction of the university and everything we stand for.
Here’s the office they didn’t want you to know about…
Below is an email the Goldsmiths Occupation received earlier today, via a pawn/cover/proxy, from Hugh Jones. This is the man who is clearly too important to speak directly to the people paying his ridiculous salary with their fees. Here is our response:
Despite various petty, tactical deceptions attempting to smear us, we are of course not putting the staff or students at Goldsmiths in a vulnerable position by illustrating the location of the cash office. The college is more than capable of doing this themselves, already having made the location of Goldsmiths’ Cash Office public knowledge. The location of said office can be easily discerned through the college website, a short phone call, or a chat with one of our more than amenable college staff. As a result, we find the request to remove our video ridiculous. This must be regarded as no more than a nakedly political move, because the video provides contradictory evidence to the management’s patently fallacious position: accusing us of being responsible for the Cash Office’s closure.
On top of this already obscene behaviour, the despicable actions of arch-scab Hugh Jones at the picket line on November 30th lead us to believe that he brings the college’s reputation for excellence into disrepute and call for his immediate resignation as Registrar and Secretary of Goldsmiths. In direct opposition to the lecturers fighting for their pensions and the students supporting them, he violently forced his way through the picket outside the library. He then proceeded to photograph its members claiming they were being aggressive, which was an unacceptable intimidation tactic during a legitimate strike. He proceeded to state that he did not care about the strike. He knows on which side his bread is buttered.
Until such pointless and damaging bureaucrats have the guts to stand up for the interests of staff and students, and indeed the university itself, we can only conclude that they should be regarded as both useless and dangerous for the education of their students. Hugh Jones does not act for the interests or the welfare of vulnerable students or staff, and is not fit for the position he holds.
PS. An anonymous source informs us that Hugh is a massive Top Gear fan.
To whom it may concern:
I am concerned about the video published on your blog <https://occupygoldsmiths.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/important-statement-video-evidence-regarding-goldsmiths-cash-office/> regarding the closure of the Cash Office. Our concern is that the video highlights the location and security surrounding the Cash Office and in the future could put our staff and students visiting the office in an unnecessarily vulnerable position. We ask that you please take this down with immediate effect both from the blog and the vimeo site. I would be grateful if you could respond to this email at your earliest convenience.
Registrar and Secretary
Vice, alt-jock magazine turned FHM for people who feel really strongly about bicycle colours, wrote an article about us. The magazine who brought us the totally ironic “American Apparel Fashion Shoot In A Kettle” during January’s demonstration against the privatisation of education (featuring models giving the glad eye to cops), sent one of their unpaid groupies deep undercover as a party snitch to a small gathering of acoustic punks. In the old days they might have been at the Cedric Robinson talk across town, like a lot of us were. The article has quite a few lies and a coupla funnies, and finishes with the author having his mind blown by a security guard knowing about politics. The whole ‘we are cooler than you could ever be’ thing is pretty tired these days when the magazine is written by diligentrifying media comms interns and no one has read it for five years because it’s shit. Reasonably dick move to publish photos and names of people without their permission, especially in an occupation, (considering how many students have court dates coming up). Run back to your hot’n’not column, tittballs.
Important Statement & Video Evidence Regarding Goldsmiths Cash Office: 01.12.2011
This short statement is to address and refute claims currently being made by the Goldsmiths’ management regarding the Short Term Emergency Loan Payments and other payments currently not going out to Goldsmiths students.
We are not occupying, have never occupied and have no access to the Cash Office. Our video evidence shows clear access to the Cash Office from other entrances to the Whitehead building, yet the university decided to close it. Shamefully, this means students are prevented from getting their emergency loans and other payments. This situation is disgraceful and must be rectified immediately. It saddens and enrages us that management would use our fellow students’ emergency hardship funds as a weapon in this way. We have never had any intention of disrupting the Cash Office that is so important for our fellow students – this is precisely why we didn’t occupy that part of the building in the first place.
The university cites a security threat of our presence next door to the Cash Office as the reason for keeping it closed. There is absolutely no basis for this claim. The occupation has for a week been safe and peaceful: no damage has been done to the university property and there are no incidents that would suggest any possibility of a ‘security breach’. Indeed, there is already an increased security presence around the building, including two security guards outside the Cash Office, at present in grave danger of being bored to death.
What the management are doing is a blatant attempt at creating a division between students. This false antagonism between students is a familiar tactic in attempts at discrediting student occupations and a diversion of attention from the management’s collusion in the marketisation of our university. In the same spirit, the Psychology Department has been moving its lectures to other spaces around the campus, despite the Ian Gulland lecture theatre being open and many lectures taking place there all week. Manipulating students in hardship like this is despicable, as is management’s attempt to misrepresent a non-violent student occupation as potentially threatening and in need of extra policing. This sadly reflects a broader climate in the UK, where all forms of dissent are criminalised.
We call on the university management to immediately re-open the Cash Office and issue students with the financial support that they are desperately waiting for.
Sort it out.
After today’s excitement and the N30 build up we’re having a quiet day tomorrow.
THURSDAY December 1st
10.00am Very special guest! Professor Cedric Robinson at Occupy Gold today!
2-4pm Postcolonial Policy
5.30pm General Assembly
And of course free tea and biscuits all day.
Follow us on twitter for updates during the day @OccupyGold Meet back at occupation space after the demos