Guiding Principles

by warwickoccupypress

We have pitched our camp outside the Arts Centre as part of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts.

We stand in solidarity with the many similar student occupations that are occurring nationwide, and will support the waves of public sector strikes on the 30th.

We are thankful for the Occupy movements everywhere, in that they are keeping an essential argument alive – our desire is to question accepted wisdom; our objective is to celebrate the alternative.

We are, above all, a place for education. Our information tent is a point for discussion, for learning and for teaching. We hold talks with academics, lecturers and friends, with topics ranging from higher education funding to the tenets of capitalism.

We maintain an open forum for discussions of ideas and free debate. Our most concluded free debate is for free education; we hold an unequivocal and unassailable belief that education should be accessible to all, publicly-owned, democratically run, and funded by the taxation of those that can afford to be taxed.

We condemn the on-going marketization of education. At a time where every other OECD nation but Romania is investing in higher education, the Coalition is making deep and savage cuts into funding, transforming students into customers and blocking access from the poor. We have asked the Vice-Chancellor to sign a pledge to guarantee the following basic tenets of a functioning education system. We call on Nigel Thrift…

1. To publicly condemn the White Paper and call for it to be withdrawn, to condemn the increasing marketisation of education, and to back the Alternative White Paper.

2. To guarantee no course closures.

3. To guarantee no job cuts and no adverse changes to academic and non-academic staff terms and conditions.

4. To provide bursaries for all international, home and EU students who need them – not fee waivers.

5. To guarantee no cuts to library, student support or learning resources.

6. To guarantee no cuts to access schemes or foundation courses
7. To guarantee that the university will remain public, and a not-for-profit body.

8. To guarantee that no student or member of staff suffer repercussions for their participation in this peaceful movement, and to condemn the University of Birmingham administration for violating its students’ right to express their views.

We have demanded this of the Vice-Chancellor, and consider it his duty and responsibility to hear the views of his students. We have invited him to come to speak at the camp and justify his recent actions, and demand an answer as to when and why his university stopped focusing on the students.

Occupy Warwick is an expression of our ideal of university education, a truly public experience where anyone can learn, anyone can contribute and everyone does both. We do not discriminate based on wealth, background, belief or opinion – no one can control where they come from, and too few can influence where they end up.

Many of our group argue that the problems of our society are a result of the inherent contradictions of our economic system. We are not happy with the state of the world into which we have grown – in which a crisis caused by the few is used to punish the many; in which austerity measures that we can see failing every day still attract the blind faith of the powerful; and in which we are quickly spiralling into an environmental catastrophe created by a culture of greed, consumption and waste.

At Occupy Warwick, we value people over profit, humanity over currency and consider ethics and equality more natural and more necessary than competition and want.

We have no leader. Everything is governed and managed by consensus and contribution, with neither hierarchy nor stratification. We work together, and the camp is run by the contributions of everyone and the skills and efforts of a community.

We will be here until we feel that our views have been expressed. Join us, Warwick. We do not have to accept the way things are.