Relocation, relocation, relocation

3 Dec

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.

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