Open Letter to the Public, May 24, 2009

Last night, after 34 days, the plenum decided to stop the occupation of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. We are aware that it is a decision long wished for by many in the administrative and governing structures: from the Faculty level, through the University, to the Ministry and the Government. The public will undoubtedly have an opportunity to witness a showy triumphalism of those who have been declaring the action illegitimate, inarticulate and absurd from the very beginning. Those who have been refusing to acknowledge the purpose of the occupation explain its termination with the supposed fact that it „became an end in itself”.

We resolutely refuse these interpretations. The decision to terminate the occupation is not an act of capitulation or giving up. Nor is it an act of a supposedly long delayed coming to senses and accepting the default political and social impotence, presented to us from the first day in the formula of a necessity to consent to the present state of things, even if such a consent would imply the abolition of fundamental rights without public discussion and against the will of the majority. The decision to terminate the occupation is a tactical decision, and not a relinquishment of our demands due to weariness or resignation. If we are tired of something, it is primarily the self-will and cynicism of the authorities, which, up to the beginning of the occupation, had meant „democratic normality“ and the only possible reality. The occupation is an act of refusing to accept such logic. It is the first step undertaken in the struggle we will continue to fight.

Refusing to accept the game of setting maximalistic demands which would then be given up in backroom consents to false compromises, we were fully conscious that we are entering an open and potentially long conflict with all the guardians of the present state of things, in which the only position acknowledged to us is that of passive observers. To terminate the occupation does not mean that we accept to be reduced to passive observers. Our understanding of democracy excludes the possibility to accept that kind of passivity.

The fact that the demand for free education is not fulfilled is primarily an accusation against those whose nominal mandate is to serve public interests, but who are doing something else. The open refusal to guarantee the realization of a right they are obliged to take care of clearly shows the degree to which they departed from their mandate. A public official who does not serve the public interest is betraying and abusing his mandate. Our actions, both past and future, represent a clear refusal to accept that abuse as self-understandable normality.

We are terminating the occupation at this moment because we do not wish to expose fellow students who are worried about finishing the semester to further pressures and threats of sanctions. The price of the self-will and incapacity of the authorities should not be paid by those who are exposed to it anyway on a daily basis and on all levels. We repeat, however, that this is not an act of self-abolishing the initiative, or of giving up. Our demands remain, so does the plenum as the body that will decide about further actions in the fight for their realization.

This occupation was not an act of a one-time discharge after which students will sink back to apolitical resignation and reconciliation with the abolition of fundamental rights and equality. In the fall at the latest, along with the students from other universities, we are going to take active steps which will unambiguously underline this fact. The new higher education law will not be inflicted on us against our will.

We do not accept the licitation of rights – equality is not for sale!


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