Click the titles for more in-depth information!
Main sources / suggested readings
Let's do Diversity report by Gloria Wekker et al.
University of Color - Maagdenhuis (occupation) group from 2015
Read here their demands!
Antithese: Zine from Maagdenhuis occupation 2015
We write this manifesto with intention, with hope, with fear, with love.
We hope this document collects many of our values and visions, gathered and developed in the period of our struggles at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam. Our groups came together to fight for better universities, and to unite our voices for social justice on many fronts. We gather to learn, to create, to enjoy, to love together. The path for our coalition is not set in stone, but the manifesto offers a map to travel part of this path. We are deeply inspired by the previous occupations like the one at the Maagdenhuis (2015), Indigenous groups and leaders, anti-colonial groups and many other movements; we hope to honour their struggles as we build from their efforts and knowledge.
We recently liberated (“occupied”) the former Amsterdamse Academische Club at the UvA – Jan 16, 2023. We demanded to have that previously empty building as an autonomous space where we could strive to decolonize, democratize and decarbonize our universities. We also demanded that the UvA end the legitimization of Big Oil and their planet-wrecking ‘business’, and they give transparency in these collaborations with third parties. Within a few hours the administration of the university enabled the riot police to violently evict us, leaving people covered in bruises, broken bones and in need of crutches. Since then we have been organizing, protesting and experiencing much at the UvA. At this very moment we are working to reclaim our university again.
We aim for this manifesto to be a space for visions, which may inspire and assist us (and others) in efforts for transformation in universities and other institutions. This manifesto is part of a journey to find and build radical visions of change and points of connection between our movements. It is not a final destination: like freedom, it is a constant struggle. We struggled to write these words and visions, to feel entitled to them, to belong with them and we strive to fight for them.
We have antagonistic needs and visions compared to those of the administration of universities in a neoliberal capitalist regime. While university management aims to sell marketable education in ever-growing numbers at low investments with a superexploited workforce, we envision universities as spaces for care, mutual aid, solidarity, reciprocity. We want a place where needs are met and people’s well-beings are above profit and rankings. Management does not mind sending the riot police on us, but we want a place where people are not scared to protest and are not beaten by police or fired for doing so (see Täuber’s case at RUG). We want transformative justice and cops OFF campus, we want a university (and society) that does not rely on violence and (neo)colonial practices. A place where we can actively fight for social justice, fight against inequality, class exploitation and discrimination in all forms – based on race, ability, gender, ethnicity, nationality, appearance, religion etc. This reclaimed university is, necessarily, decolonial, feminist, accessible, free of costs, free of police, anti-racist, anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist. It serves communities and is run by communities. It is NOT a puppet for the market.
Even more, we want a university that is able to fight back. An institution that is not scared to reject planet wreckers and their money, a uni that takes a stance on social justice and takes the side of communities, not the ruling class. A university that does not legitimize abusers of human rights or Indigenous rights. That means, necessarily, a university that stands for a Free Palestine, and for the liberation and self-determination of all peoples around the globe, especially when that stance does not serve the interest of empires and violent military institutions. We want spaces that help dismantle empires, institutions that strive to end racial capitalism.
We want to decolonize, democratize and decarbonize the universities of Amsterdam.
Our manifesto attempts to illustrate our current visions that connect to these three principles (3 D’s). There are two layers to this manifesto, which are shown below: the titles under each principle (each “D”), and after that a more detailed set of visions for each of those titles.
These visions are changes we want to enact. They are meant as seeds, as visions – we hope they will blossom in the new worlds we are building. We are cultivating these visions to transform our universities and the systems they are part of. Will you help us?
Care, organize, build, disrupt, liberate.
Amsterdam Autonomous Coalition (AAC)
Activisten Partij UvA, Autonomous Student Struggle, Mokum Kraakt, ROOD Socialistische Jongeren, ROSA radical students, Students for Justice in Palestine (SRP), The Decolonization Club, University Rebellion UvA
Decolonize, Democratize, Decarbonize
Universities for communities, by communities
A manifesto by Amsterdam Autonomous Coalition (AAC) - May 2023