What’s next? SOAS post-occupation meeting THURSDAY 4pm

Even if we have temporarily left the Brunei Gallery’s occupied space, this by no means signals the end of our movement here at SOAS and beyond.

Indeed, to keep the momentum up and be ready to start again in January with a bang, we have decided to hold one last meeting before the Xmas break TOMORROW (Thursday 16th) at 4pm in the SOAS JCR. We are inviting all the occupiers, their supporters, all students, staff, members of the public, and all those who want to take part in the future steps of our struggle to come along and bring ideas, projects and visions for our actions in the new year.

Please spread the word and come along!

Soon we will also be posting on here videos from Monday’s beautiful Occupation Leaving Rally, as well as infos about any future events. So watch this space!

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Occupation Haiku

Sleep in Brunei Suite

walk out take it on the streets

Paul and Lib Dem bleed


Occupations came

Colleges Trade Unions

we’re alle the same


World media from

France Norway Spain Deutschland

and more to come


MP’s came to speak

Tariq Samir british Steel

real ’68 feel


Music, creativity

Fuck Camerons big, we are

small society




Students and workers unite

a red charity


Teach out walk out run

our anger power hasn’t gone



After three weeks in occuptaion 13th of December 2010

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Occupation Leaving Rally.

After nearly three weeks in the Brunei Suite, we have decided that the SOAS occupation has almost reached the end of its current stage.

During our time in occupation, the political landscape in Britain has changed dramatically. Our occupation has triggered a national wave of student occupations that have been successful in building a united student movement against fees, cuts and the abolition of EMA.

At SOAS, we have gained the support of a huge number of staff and students, and created a strong sense of a community committed to working together on the issues that face us all. Lectures, discussions and entertainment have been widely attended and have made the occupation a viable space for action and learning.

This occupation has shown itself to be a legitimate form of protest that is both effective and constructive. Management has in effect recognised this by failing to enforce a misguided school policy.

Yesterday’s vote, in which the government’s majority was reduced by three quarters, reflects the crisis that we have contributed to creating for this government. The vote signals the beginning of our struggle, not the end. We will push on to campaign for an open, equal and diverse education system in the same spirit as has been the nature of the occupation so far. Open and inclusive meetings, actions and protests, demanding an engaged and vibrant education for everyone, are under way.

We encourage students and staff to inaugurate mass departmental/faculty meetings to discuss our education together, and to join with the future activities of the occupiers.

To wrap up proceedings in the Brunei Suite, we hereby invite you to:

Monday 12.30pm (in Brunei Suite)
Leaving at 1pm sharp

Come along and share your experiences, show your support, and prepare for the next step!


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Staff & Students UNITED

We, the undersigned members of staff at SOAS, wish to express our strong support for SOAS students’ peaceful direct action against the planned cuts to the higher education budget, increases in tuition fees and the abolition of EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance). These policies, together with proposals that effectively limit the number of overseas students, are highly damaging to the future of higher education in the UK. They will contribute to already rampant social and economic inequalities and undermine prospects for a more favourable response to the current economic, and potentially social, crisis. Instead of this destructive agenda, a growing, more egalitarian and internationally open higher education sector should be an absolute priority. Not only can this be financed, but dedicated public investment into higher education is central to an enlightened and far-sighted response to the current economic crisis.

We urge the School to support our students’ protests, and the SOAS Director and Vice-Chancellor of the University of London to express stringent and unequivocal opposition to the current government’s plans for higher education.

See signatures in the “Comments” section.

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Wednesday Events: The Big SOAS Teach Out!

Come all ye minds of intrigue. After a very successful teach-in day, it is time to once again break out of the university bubble. This time we take to the streets in a form of protest quite different than the usual. Our message that education and access to knowledge should be open and accessible to all will be made all across London, as lectures and discussions erupt in train stations, museums and shopping centres…

9-11am: St.Pancras International Station, in front of Pain Quotidien – Trevor Marchant is holding his lecture on The importance of Vocational Education and Craft Training in Africa and the Middle East.

10-11am: Meet on SOAS steps for a lecture by Laleh Khalili in the British Museum. Followed at 11am by a lecture by Whitney Cox about “Why should anyone study Sanskrit?” highlighting the importance of one of our courses that might be cut next year… again, in the British Museum!

11-12pm: Meet at SOAS steps for a lecture by Stephen Chan in the Brunswick Centre

12.30pm: Meet outside Birkbeck for mass school-sweep around Bloomsbury area. Organised by UCL & UCU. Come and make some noise!

1.30-2.30pm: Meet on SOAS steps for a lecture by Phil Clark “African Transitions: Why Democracy Means More than Internationally Sanctioned Elections” in Russel Square Tube Station.

2.30pm: meet on SOAS steps for a lecture by Polly Pallister-Wilkins and Giovanni Cozzi in a bank branch near Russel Square (tba)!

3pm: Meet on SOAS steps to take over tube carriages for mini-lectures and shout-outs about the state of Higher Education!

4.30pm: Meet on SOAS steps to go to Euston Station for the MASSIVE SYMBOLIC LECTURE by all and for all, for free and universal education. We will be joined by UCL, LSE, and Kings Students for this one.


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Teach-in this Tuesday

SOAS Occupation proudly present a teach-in afternoon this Tuesday 7th December. Many thanks to all the lecturers who have given their time and effort to put this on. Bring on the Free University!

1pm-1:30 – Laleh Khalili (Politics): “The experience of privatized education and its effect on citizenship & activism in the US”

1:30pm-2pm – Subir Sinha (Development Studies)“Opposing neoliberal reforms in higher education: what has and has not been said, and a comparative view”

2pm-2:30pm – Adam Hanieh (Development Studies) “The economic crisis and the global south – linking our struggles”

2:30pm-3pm – Paolo Novak (Development Studies) “Scaling up, localising, or cutting across? Scalar debates and resistance to neoliberal development”

3pm-3:30pm – Gilbert Achcar (Development Studies)“The present neoliberal onslaught in historical perspective”

3:30pm-4pm – Rahul Rao (Politics) “Solidarity and Criticism: notes from James Joyce, Rabindranath Tagore, Edward Said and Frantz Fanon”

4pm-4:30pm – Nadje Al-Ali (Gender Studies)“Why Gender Matters: Public Policy & Activism”

4:30pm-5pm – Stephanie Blankenburg “Why we are NOT (all) “drowning in a sea of debt”.

5pm-7pm – Development Studies Seminar Philip Golub (IEE, Université Paris 8)“Power, Profit and Prestige. A History of American Imperial Expansion”

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Update on events TODAY in the occupation

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Upcoming Events in the Occupied Brunei Suite! Monday 6th December

As we enter our third week of occupation of the SOAS Brunei Suite, we are happy to announce our exciting program of events for Monday 6th! Please come along and get involved!

12pm: Professor Paul Gilroy (LSE) speaks in the Occupied Brunei Suite!

2pm: Film showing: ‘A History of Student Revolt’ – A documentary by John Rees : charting the political history of student movements, from volunteer strikebreakers in the 1920s to their role as a catalyst for mass movements of radical social change

2.30pm: speaker TBC, “From May ’68 to Millbank Tower: a discussion of the history of the
student revolt and the current student movement”

3.30pm: The Edukators 2.0 – A feature film based in Austria that documents over a year of occupations and protests in the education movement

5pm: open planning meeting for Wednesday’s National Day of Action against fees and cuts on the eve of the Parliamentary vote. come and decide what will SOAS do!
facebook event: www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=182354165108330

8pm onwards : an Italian Evening at the SOAS Occupation! Featuring:

  • play-reading of Italian dramatist Dario Fo’s works
  • sing-around of Italian songs of struggle
  • showing of one of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s short movies
  • discussion of ideas emerging from the Italian Movement – Antonio Negri, the multitude, immaterial labour and cognitive capitalism
  • …and much more!

Bring panettone, pizza, pasta, mandolinos, wine, friends and lovers. All welcome!!

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Students and London Underground Workers: Statement of Mutual Solidarity

We the undersigned representatives of student campaigners and London Underground workers wish to publicly state our support for each others’ current struggles against funding cuts, tuition fees and Tube staffing cuts.

We are fighting to defend two essential public services – education and transport – which we believe should be publicly-provided, fully funded and accessible to all. Both services face intense attack under a government hellbent on vicious public sector cuts.

Students, together with other public transport users, believe that Tube stations should have enough staff for us to travel easily and safely around the capital. London Underground workers support the principle of access for all to further and higher education, and know that many working-class people – including our own kids – will be unable to attend university or college if to do so means taking on a massive debt.

London Underground workers have now taken four days of strike action against the loss of 800 jobs, mainly on stations, as well as other industrial action. Students have repeatedly protested against cuts and fees, walking out of schools and colleges, demonstrating in huge numbers, and occupying universities. Both groups know that if we do not defeat this round of attacks, there will be more to come.

As we fight these cuts, we take inspiration from knowing we are not the only ones taking action. We encourage students and Underground workers to send each other messages of support, and to visit and support each others’ pickets and protests.

In particular, we encourage everyone to attend:
– protest against cuts and fees, Thursday 9 December (the day of the vote in Parliament), assemble 10:00 at ULU, Malet Street – rally at 15:00, Victoria Embankment
– protest against London Underground job cuts, Wednesday 15 December, 09:30, City Hall (as Mayor’s Question Time takes place)


  • Janine Booth, Secretary, RMT London Transport Regional Council
  • Steve Hedley, RMT London Transport Regional Organiser
  • Simon Hardy, National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts
  • Joana Pinto, National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts
  • Manuel Cortes, Assistant General Secretary, TSSA *
  • Ed Maltby, National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts
  • Vaughan Thomas, President, RMT London Transport Regional Council
  • Adrian Rowe, Chairperson, RMT National Young Members’ Committee
  • Brian Munro, Secretary, RMT Bakerloo branch
  • Bob Sutton, Merseyside Network Against Fees and Cuts
  • Malcolm Taylor, RMT Staff Side Secretary, London Underground Stations and Revenue Council
  • Owen Jones, Labour Representation Committee / UCL Occupation
  • Brian Whitehead, Relief Regional Organiser, RMT
  • Mac McKenna, RMT rep, London Underground Stations & Revenue Council
  • Sean Rillo Raczka, Chair, Birkbeck Students’ Union; NUS NEC Mature Students’ Rep
  • Stephen Read, RMT health and safety representative, Bank stations group
  • Gary Lazell, RMT rep, East Ham stations group
  • Clare Reilly, RMT rep, East Ham stations group
  • Adrian Finney, Chairperson, RMT Stratford no.1 branch

* personal capacity


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SOAS management threatens staff with disciplinary action if they enter occupation

This threatening email was sent just sent around to all staff at SOAS. Apparently the management sees any staff failing to comply with this order to not enter the occupied space as ‘a serious issue’ and will take ‘appropriate action’.

The School recognises that many staff support the wider aims of the students’ campaign, and it shares concerns about current developments in higher education policy. It also recognises that staff and students have a right to legitimate protest. However, we would remind staff that the occupied space in the Brunei Suite is causing disruption to the activities of the School and is subject to a court order. People entering the occupied space are putting themselves at risk of being in contempt of court.

We are also increasingly concerned about Health and Safety risks arising from the 24-hour use of the building and the large numbers of people going in and out of the space, many of whom are not from the SOAS community.

Consequently we ask that staff do not enter the occupied space in the Brunei Suite. We hope you will understand the reasons why we need your urgent and immediate co-operation with this request.  If staff fail to co-operate then the School would regard this as a serious matter and would have to consider appropriate action.

Discussions are ongoing between the School and students to bring the occupation to a conclusion.

Peter Mitchell
Human Resources Director

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