Edinburgh University Occupation was invited to sign a national "occupation manifesto" at the start of December 2010. As a non-hierarchical collective, we explain why we are stronger without centralised leadership.
Edinburgh is a non-hierarchical occupation. Entirely leaderless. And as such have decided that we cannot back a national occupations manifesto. I’ll explain why we have taken this stance.
The occupations have formed a swarm network. This network is very hard to destroy. For every occupation that is forcibly evicted, five more have sprung up. We do not rely on leaders or student unions. And in doing so we lack weak links. We can afford to lose connections and nodes in this network, for new ones are continuously forming in their place.
An overarching manifesto is one such weak link. It is easy to discredit a document, and in doing so, discredit all the signatories. We have to remain unquantifiable and chaotic. We act independently, and are hard to track definitively. We can leak rumours, and form truths.
In 1960, 4 black students staged a sit in. Within two months, the Southern states had seen the birth of an inspirational, powerful student movement. The first significant student movement in the US. They’d previously, similarly, been apathetic. Unlike the civil rights movement of the mid-50s this new movement was not borne of existing organisations or established groups. These students acted entirely on reports they had read in the papers, heard on the radio. They were hard to keep track of. They spawned random. A true grass roots movement.
Greensboro was arguably the spark that set off the symbolic civil rights movement of the 60s and the activism we so associate with the 60s and 70s. It was going to happen. It just had to find its spark. Millbank, whether you support it or not, was our spark. I witnessed the first window being smashed. Something changed that day. That moment.
I believe we are such a movement. As a networked, chaotic group we can act powerfully and unpredictably. We can appear larger than we are. More powerful than we are. From our nodes we can mobilise, organise. Entirely chaotically. We are inspirational. These are not my words. Our movement have been receiving global solidarity, and global coverage. Internationally similar protests are spawning. And they are looking to us for that inspiration. They are looking to us for methodology.
As such we must remain independent. The NUS is easy to attack. We are not. Student unions are easy to attack. We are not. Politicians are easy to attack. We are not. Any action against us, fuels our cause. Every act of police violence, fuels our cause. We must remain confusing and vocal. We must shout louder than we are. In doing so we will magnify our numbers. In doing so, more will join us. In doing so, more will listen.
It’s easy to ignore one voice. You cannot ignore a million.
The government is shifting. And this is only the beginning. We are leading the way. Our cause will succeed, no matter how long it takes. But we have to take action now!
The modern age of apathy is over.