An open letter to the academics who signed the Solidarity statement with Jan Goodey

To all the academics who signed the ‘Solidarity statement with Jan Goodey, academic, activist and political prisoner’,

We thank you for the letter of solidarity. Supporting those in resistance is imperative at this time. But it is not enough. Our response comes from a place of love for the academic community and a love for the countless millions whose lives have been and will be destroyed. 

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We no longer have time to stay in the comfort of self-imposed inadequacy. It is dishonest to tell yourselves that you need to speak out from “whatever limited platforms we may have”. The far more difficult thing to accept is that we have awesome power when we overcome our fears and enter into civil resistance.

“Prioritising raising awareness” in your teaching is imperative. But consciousness raising alone in the face of genocidal governments is radically inadequate. The last 20 years have shown us that an academic community that writes statements of solidarity with the few in resistance, and continues to publish articles merely urging action, is entirely compatible with the death project marching on. More carbon into the atmosphere, more death warrants of your own students signed, facilitated by the academics who continue to issue only words and not deeds.

What does it mean to be an academic, with an understanding of the impending tragedy, in 2023? What does “putting words into action” mean at a time of mass slaughter?  What is ‘solidarity’?  The academic community has one option left: to put your bodies onto the machine, and force the death march to a halt.

Jan Goodey showed us what resistance looks like by stopping the UK’s largest motorway and forcing Britain to engage with the imminent horror of the crisis. He now sits in Wandsworth prison. Students as young as 19 did the same and await similar sentences.

We urge you to step up and join us. This means standing up in your universities and treating the genocide project for what it is. In the face of mass murder, the brave go beyond signing letters of solidarity; they act. So how are you going to use your privilege?

We invite all the signatories of the solidarity statement to attend a public meeting with Just Stop Oil representatives at 7pm on the 11th January 2023. In this meeting we want to discuss:

  1. Enabling academics to join our community of civil resistance and support in the face of these dark times
  2. Opening up lecture theatres/halls at universities across the country for students and staff to openly communicate about the resistance project

P.S. We are right behind you in your fight for fair pay and conditions against rampant employers, and we’ll see you in February on those picket lines.

Meeting Link for signatories of the solidarity statement.

With love & solidarity,

Just Stop Oil Universities

[email protected]

22nd December 2022