Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Imprisonment of Ed Bauer

Letter to Guardian: Arrest Threatens Right to Protest

Edd Bauer, vice-president for education at Birmingham Guild of Students and well-known anti-cuts activist, was arrested on 16 September for suspending a banner protesting against university fees and education cuts above a public highway during the Lib Dem party conference. He was refused bail and has been held in Winson Green prison since last Monday. His detention for a minor act of civil disobedience represents yet another attempt to criminalise peaceful protest and to dissuade other young people from taking part in movements to defend education, services and jobs. At a time when prison governors are complaining that they cannot cope with the huge increase in custodial sentences after the disturbances of the summer, what purpose is served by locking up Edd Bauer?

If the objective is to frighten others, Edd’s detention has enraged and mobilised a new layer of young protesters. If the plan is to “take out” key individuals to disrupt protest movements, the result has been to give a new set of activists a crash-course in campaigning against injustice. Edd Bauer will appear in Birmingham magistrate’s court on 26 September at 3pm. We call for his release – and the right to hang our banners in peaceful protest whenever and wherever we choose.: baseline;"

Prof Gargi Bhattacharyya UCU NEC
Clare Short
John Smith General secretary, Musicians Union
Michael Rosen
Paul McNab Public Interest Lawyers
Mark Thomas
Michael Chessum NUS NEC and NCACF
Prof Bill Bowring
Dr Sue Blackwell Birmingham UCU
Zita Holbourne Co-chair BARAC
Daniel Guedalla Birnberg Peirce
Leslie Manasseh Deputy general secretary, Connect
Prof Alex Miller
Manuela da Costa-Fernandes NUJ Black Members Council
Prof Avtar Brah
Lorna Campbell PCS
Prof John Gabriel
Wilf Sullivan TUC
Bethany Shiner Stop Kettling Our Kids
Dr David Bailey Birmingham UCU
Dotun Alade-Odumosu GMB
Dr Sarah Amsler Campaign to Defend the Public University
Mohammad Taj Unite
Prof Les Back
Freddie Brown Prospect
Winston Phillips Bectu

Statement from Edd regarding his suspension from work today
Thanks so much to everyone who showed their solidarity and support for me over the last week, hearing you all on the street outside, your chanting filling the court room, was one of the most moving moments of my life.
But, unfortunately not everyone has shown solidarity to me. I came back to work this morning at the guild of students to find I have been suspended. This is a undemocratic suspension and I will continue with my work campaigning to defend education at the University of Birmingham, which continues to face grave difficulties .
The current suspension against me has been called undemocratically and unjustly before any investigation has taken place. It currently “indefinitely” bans me from using my work phone, e-mails or even entering the guild of student premises.
However, it is important we don’t lose sight of what really matters; not me keeping my job but carrying on campaigning and representing students in matters concerning their education. Being suspended massively undermines my ability to fulfil the pledges that I was elected on; ensuring that the guild organises for the NUS backed national demo on November the 9th, building the postgraduate association, reforming and empowering the student representative system.
I’m still a student at the University of Birmingham and I will continue to campaign for these causes and believe that students coming together to campaign and reform collectively are infinitely more powerful than one sabbatical officer in office can ever achieve alone.
I will willingly submit to any vote of no confidence in student council. I’ll only stop campaigning and fighting if I’m removed by the same democratic structures that put me in place.
We have let democracy in the guild slide out of the hands of students and currently the appointed; majority non- student trustee board can remove me without any vote at guild council and the current investigation against me will be reported to the trustee board not guild council for a decision.
There are three fights we now face. Firstly, the on-going campaign to defend education against fees and cuts. Secondly, the battle to democratise the guild of students and put decision making powers back into the hands of the student body. Thirdly, the battle to ensure that the decision whether I should be commended and kept on or condemned and removed is made by students at the first guild council of term, not by the unelected and unaccountable trustee board.
Myself and friends will be door knocking and petitioning all week organising campaigns to 1, defend the university against cuts 2, democratise the guild of students, every night. Join us, sign up to the phone tree, text “no fees” to 07988056967
We are meeting next Monday at 5pm in the Nuffield Learning Centre (R28 on campus map) to discuss the continued campaigning. Please spread the word.
Please support Edd by signing this petition calling for his reinstatement
You can also keep in touch with campaigning on campus by joining the Stop Fees and Cuts Birmingham Facebook Group

acknowledgements to  Roy Sandison

No comments: