We write to express our support for the marvellous actions of students occupying their universities in Amsterdam and London and in many other cities around the world. These actions are an inspiration. The students and members of staff who support them rightly demand an end to the managerial takeover of universities, to the ever-growing burden of student debt, and to the precarity of university labour.
But these demands are not the whole story. By occupying their universities, students and staff have also taken tentative steps towards the creation of completely different places of learning. They have taken steps towards the achievement of a university system which is no longer ruled by money and where education takes place beyond neoliberalism’s confines. Students in Amsterdam, London and elsewhere have put the democratic self-determination of their education at the forefront of their demands. Crucially, in their protests and assemblies they put into practice – they prefigure – this directly democratic alternative. They set out to show something of what autonomous and non-marketised education may mean.
We wish the occupiers every success in their struggle and recognise the key role such struggles play in battling the wider neoliberal assault upon society. The students of Amsterdam, London and elsewhere are actively building a democratic new world and deserve our fullest support.
Dr. Sarah Amsler, Reader, School of Education, University of Lincoln
Gordon Asher, Learning Developer, University of West of Scotland
Dr. Ana Cecilia Dinerstein, Department of Social Policy Sciences, University of Bath, U.K.
Richard Gunn, Lecturer in Politics (retired), University of Edinburgh
Prof. Richard Hall, De Montfort University, U.K.
Dr. Joan Herrmann
Prof. S. J. Hogan, University of Derby
John Holloway, Professor of Sociology at the Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades in the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico
Dr. Les Levidow, Open University
Dr. Brian McGrail, Associate Lecturer, Open University
Dr. Mike Neary, Professor of Sociology, University of Lincoln
Dr. Michael Ott, Associate Professor of Sociology (retired), Valley State University in Michigan
William Outhwaite, Professor of Sociology, University of Newcastle
Jerome Roos, PhD researcher in International Political Economy, European University Institute (and founder of ROAR Magazine)
Umut Sahverdi, University of Sussex
C. Smith, Director and Editor, Heathwood Institute and Press
Dr. Simon Susen, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, City University London, UK
Thomas Swann, University of Leicester School of Management, U.K.
Dr. Steve Tilley, University of Edinburgh
Dr. Adrian Wilding, Institut für Philosophie, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Dr. Joss Winn, Senior Lecturer, School of Education, University of Lincoln