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Cambridge occupation latest photos

manos (IMC Cambridge) | 26.01.2009 22:39 | University Occupations for Gaza | Education | Palestine | Cambridge

Lots of changes today at the occupation, that got visited by the proctors, and where people not belonging to the university see their access blocked again. Check the blog for details at:

An open letter was sent to the occupation a few days ago about guaranteeing access to all people that the assembly wants to invite:

Matrices of control
(An open letter to the Cambridge Law School occupation)

The suffering of the people of Gaza and Palestine is not limited to direct military occupation and rule. As the excellent film by John Pilger illustrated, even regions under the Palestinian authority's control, are separated by military checkpoints, where people are IDed, delayed, sorted, humiliated, and denied access. This "matrix of control" maintains the effective rule of the state of Israel over the notionally autonomous territories, ensuring that at any moment resistance can be quelled, simply by blocking off access. The humanitarian catastrophe ensuing is at the heart of why the Cambridge Law School is occupied today, and we have to stand with solidarity first with Palestinian people, and second those who dare to speak up for them through demonstration and occupations of schools.

The struggle for solidarity with these people, must make us reflect about the social control measures we experience every day in Cambridge, as students and residents. The occupation of the Law School was done in an exemplary manner, both in terms of democratic participation, and thoughtfulness for those who might be affected by it. Yet the university authorities at times imposed terms upon it that are politically unacceptable: the restriction of who can enter, the threat of doors being shut making exit difficult, as well as restrictions on materials that can be brought in. Most interestingly the access to the action is guarded by university staff through a "checkpoint" at the entrance of the building where arbitrary rules, beyond the democratic control of the occupation assembly are imposed: identification is required, and people are being denied access to this political space.

Addressing politically this issue should become a priority for the occupation to last, or be seen as a credible pressure upon the university. It simply shows as a lack of resolve for the tens of students inside to not take upon themselves the safety of the space, both in terms of building and people, and not be be able to guarantee access to those that they wish to invite in. Furthermore accepting the imposed dichotomies, between members of the university and other (who are denied access) and requiring people to identify themselves to outside authorities, only neuters the political strength of the action, and perpetrates the image of Cambridge University as an ivory tower.

People who speak up against injustice are very courageous, and put their livelihood on the line to ensure a better tomorrow for all. People in Palestine and Israel challenge walls, checkpoints and tanks with rocks and their bodies, at great cost; people demonstrating weekly in London face riot police and horses to give a clear message; students face disciplinary committees to stand next to those who are voiceless. All sacrifices are commendable, but lets not forget that as students we only make the lightest ones -- the risks to ensure that the political spaces are open for all to participate in, livable and free from surveillance are worth, to attain a minimum political standard that should be guaranteed.

I sincerely hope these issues will be addressed by the assembly of the occupation, and a statement will be issued on the matter.

Yours in solidarity and struggle,

One of the Cambridge Action Network

manos (IMC Cambridge)


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