Statement in solidarity with the occupation of Charles Stewart House

We the undersigned stand in absolute solidarity with People and Planet Edinburgh and the students of Edinburgh University, who for the second year running have occupied their finance building; Charles Stewart House, as part of their divestment campaign, which aims to get the university to withdraw all investments from companies which derive more than 5% of their profits from either fossil fuels or the arms industry.

We express both our sympathy with this noble aim, as well as unconditional support of the decision to occupy. It is only through fully utilising every tool at our disposal that we will succeed in enacting the changes we seek to make. We too want to see the university divest from these unethical ventures, and furthermore, to put the freed capital to use at the service of society – whether that be in sustainable energy generation, transmission and storage; or in retraining and employment opportunities for workers in transitioning industries such as the recently laid off coal miners of Kellingley Colliery; or even invested back into the cutting-edge research at the university itself. We resolutely believe in a society with fair and democratic management of not only its own collective resources but the social and economic systems behind them – and as such, we are glad to see students taking the policies of their educational institution into their own hands. Edinburgh Uni should aim to serve not only the wishes and best interests of students themselves but also humanity as a whole, and if they continue holding investments which are not conducive to the public good, then they are failing in their duties to the student body as well as the citizens who provide the public funding.

The university has no excuses in this regard – it is putting profit before people and therefore prioritising not only greater exploitation, which is broadly symptomatic of the increasing marketization in the education sector, but it is also a fatal flaw in reasoning – falsely placing a short term monetary incentive above a longer term responsibility to our shared environment and everyone living in it, whether that be those in the North of England whose homes are repeatedly flooded, the residents of Beijing suffering through smog daily, or the inhabitants of remote island nations whose very existence is threatened by rising sea levels. A higher quarterly return on paper will mean nothing if we have destroyed our planet in practice. More than anything else, it will be a missed opportunity. Change course now – and divest the rest!

This statement is co-signed by:

Edinburgh Student Left

National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts

Scottish Young Labour

Scottish Labour Young Socialists

Aberdeen Defend Education Campaign

Alliance for Workers’ Liberty

Another Europe is Possible – Edinburgh

Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh

Bollocks to Poverty Edinburgh (ActionAid)

Edinburgh Revolutionary Communist Group – FRFI

Edinburgh University Anarchist Society

Edinburgh University Amnesty International

Edinburgh University Feminist Society

Edinburgh University Marxist Society

Edinburgh University Scottish Nationalist Association

Edinburgh University Society for Economic Pluralism

Edinburgh Students for Justice in Palestine

Edinburgh Young Greens

Fossil Free Hastings

Fossil Free Strathclyde

Fossil Free Sussex

Fossil Free UCL

Fossil Free UEA

Frack-Free Hartlepool

Frack-Free York

Glasgow University Climate Action

 

Hartlepool Green Party

Hastings Anticuts

JJFD Photography

Momentum Edinburgh

Momentum Fife and Clackmannanshire

Momentum Hastings

National Health Action Party – North East

No Underground Coal Gasification North East (NUNE)

People and Planet Brighton

Real Democracy Now Edinburgh [GR]

The Norwich Radical

 

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