The suspended "Sussex Six" are now allowed back to campus under conditions
The students campaigning against fees & cuts at Sussex university don't like draconian measures: Despite the suspension of six activists (following an office occupation on 3rd March) and in defiance of a High Court injunction banning ‘occupational protest’ on the campus, not only they mobilised this Thursday (11th March) an unprecedented 500 strong demonstration for the reinstatement of their excluded comrades, but they have staged subsequently a snap occupation of the university's main lecture hall. Already at around 5pm the university issued a partial climbdown and announced that the six would be allowed back on campus under certain restrictions. Because this would mean the "Sussex Six" continue to be singled out and victimized, the occupation of the hall is still ongoing. It is now on its third day - an impressive response to the management's & state's repressive attempt to nip each direct action in the bud.
On Friday also the Sussex staff publicly defied the court injunction to come to the occupation and show their support for students. Moreover, the occupiers received also a written statement of support from a law professor, Marie-Bénédicte Dembour, and even a moving solidarity address from the occupiers of a hotel in Karachi, Pakistan (documented below) !
On Saturday the Campaigners staged a new demonstration and marched to the building where an open day was held for visiting prospective students of Sussex. Solidarity comes now also from the "National Convention against Fees and Cuts" in the UK: At the London and Southern Regional Meeting on Wednesday, the Campaign decided to issue a call for further action in the week 13th- 20th March to support the lecturer's union 'strikes at Leeds and Sussex Universities on the 17th and 18th, and to support the calls for the re-instatement of the "Sussex Six".
* Statement of the Occupiers on Thursday 11th March:
"At 14:30 today 300 students and staff occupied the Lecture theatre Arts A2 in defiance of the high court injunction placed upon all persons entering or remaining on Sussex Campus and involved in the vaguely defined act of ‘occupational protest’. The occupation is in protest against the suspension and exclusion of six students involved in the previous occupation of Sussex House calling for their unconditional reinstatement.
We, the occupiers, stand in solidarity with all staff and workers facing compulsory redundancy, and all other areas on campus affected by the devestating cuts implemented by management.
We, the occupiers, have unanimously decided to remain until our demands are met. Until they are met this space will be open to all students and workers. We will use it for educational lectures, talks, critical debates, film screenings and to create an environment where the university community can come together to educate one another in an environment determined by us and for us.
We call upon students, workers and the wider community, locally, nationally, globally, to join us in the fight against educational cuts, job losses and the cuts in the public and private sectors.
Strike! Occupy! Resist!"
*Solidarity Address from PC Hotel Workers, Karachi, Pakistan
These 150 workers at Pearl Continental Hotel Karachi are protesting against the sacking of 4 union and over 98 other workers. In protest they have occupied the basement of the 5-star hotel for the last 9 days and despite police raids and bullying and threats by security guards they have not left the site of occupation (more on this action here):
"The PC Hotel Worker’s Union Pakistan and PC Hotel Worker’s Solidarity Committee Karachi express solidarity with the Sussex University students occupation against suspensions and false cases. The fightback by Sussex University students is a solid example for all those who say that it’s not possible for students and workers to fightback or make the capitalists pay. Your struggle, like ours, shows that it is possible to fightback against big bosses and the might of the state and together we will show that it is also possible to win.
We also recognise the parallels between hotel workers and the students struggle. Both of us suffer from the exploitation of the capitalists and the big bosses. Both of us are made to pay for the crisis of the capitalists but we never shared the gains when the bosses rake in billions. Your occupation is a becaon of hope for the millions of students fighting in Britain as well as an example to emulate for other students and workers across the world. We are fighting the same enemy and in this case with the same tools too. We know how difficult it is to sustain an occupation. We know how the bosses bring pressure on the occupiers by slamming false cases, injunctions and suspension and terminations. We know how difficult they make it for us by using the might of state to suppress our voice and to gain any form of solidarity. But we know we dont have an alternative. Its either our jobs or their sackings, there isnt any other alternative. So it is for you. Your occupation is an expression of solidarity for six, ours is an expression of solidarity for four. You have occupied in your hundreds, we have occupied in our hundreds. We have nothing to loose but our chains, you prove you have a world to win.
Long live the struggle for emancipation of working class of today and that of tommorow. Long live the struggle of workers and students across the world.
PC Hotel Workers Occupation"
The Students' Letter of Reply to the Hotel Karachi Workers is here.