Our Manifesto.

6 May 2024

We, Oxford Action for Palestine (OA4P), are a collective of members of the University of Oxford community who are dedicated to Palestinian liberation.

We have established a Liberated Zone in solidarity with Gaza. Our encampment sits on the lawn of the infamous University of Oxford Pitt Rivers Museum, a disturbing display of artefacts stolen from colonised peoples across the world.

We join over 145 universities across the globe who refuse to continue business as usual while our institutions profit from and facilitate genocide. We will continue to follow the lead of the people of Palestine, and we will continue to take action until our demands are met.

The severity of israel's genocide in Gaza cannot be overstated. Over the last seven months, israel has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians in Gaza, including 14,500 children, 8,400 women, and 12,100 men. Mass graves have been discovered at hospitals with evidence of torture, and hundreds of thousands of people are injured or missing, feared dead. Two million have been displaced, living in tents and shelters across Gaza, with 1.4 million sheltering in the city of Rafah alone. israel's assault on Gaza is the most visibly broadcast genocide in human history, and yet the scale of the devastation is unfathomable. These figures are gross underestimations, in part because israel has been intentionally targeting journalists and health officials responsible for counting the dead.

These atrocities โ€” israel's 75-year history of settler-colonial violence, genocide, occupation, and ethnic cleansing โ€” compel us to act.

We will see a free Palestine within our lifetime.

The Oxford encampment sits in front of the Pitt Rivers Museum, a materialisation of the relationship that Oxford has to colonial projects throughout human history. The museum, which "acquired" items from across the globe through imperial expansionism, displays the erasure, dispossession, scholasticide, epistemicide, and cultural pillaging that define Oxford's legacy. These processes are mirrored in the ongoing struggle of the Palestinian people and connect us to colonised peoples everywhere.

We are here after exhausting every other means of protest at our disposal. We have organised demonstrations and marches, signed countless petitions, and made all possible efforts to work with the Administration in realising our demands. We have been met with inaction. We have escalated accordingly.

At camp, we have established a political-educational space for everyone to engage freely in learning oriented towards liberation. We welcome all to engage in discussions, teach-ins, poetry readings, and artistic performances as we learn from and care for one another. We convene in a space that, unlike our classrooms at Oxford, engages in social discourse about what this university largely avoids โ€” its hand in settler-colonialism everywhere. We invite you to struggle with us. Join us in our library, in our study space, in our protest, in our call for Oxford to sever its institutional relationships that facilitate the genocide and occupation of the Palestinian people.

Palestinian liberation concerns all of us. As we all bear witness, we are compelled to act. We are members of an institution that makes this suffering possible. There is no university in the history of human civilization that is more complicit in violence, dispossession, and the building of destructive colonial empires than the University of Oxford. The UK government and the University of Oxford, through its investments, assets, academic partnerships, institutional relationships, and alumni are all complicit in facilitating the current genocide, occupation, and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people for the past seven months.

And for 75 years.

Oxford men orchestrate occupation.

Alfred Milner, Oxford graduate and former trustee of the Rhodes Trust, fiercely championed Zionismโ€™s aims within the British government. He was chief author of the landmark 1917 Balfour Declaration, alongside Leo Amery (another Oxford graduate), and two Cambridge graduates, promising Palestinian land to the Zionist settler-colonial project. Milner and co-conspirator Cecil Rhodes โ€” infamous Oxford graduate and coloniser โ€” were both Governors of the Cape Colony that laid the groundwork for the exploitative Apartheid system of segregation in South Africa. The same oppressive logics that underpinned that system in South Africa now inform the genocidal Zionist nation-building project that is israel.

Oxford men facilitate genocide.

Jake Sullivan, Oxford alumnus and Rhodes scholar, and current National Security Advisor of the United States, enables israel to wreak havoc on Palestinians with impunity. Sullivan reports directly to Joe Biden, and together, they have refused to draw red lines for the United States' material and rhetorical support for israel's present genocidal siege.

As current Oxford University students and community members, we inherit these legacies of past and present. This history is not abstract, it is intimate. The onus is on us to confront our complicity in the empire-building projects from which we benefit. We care about Palestinian liberation because violence against Palestinians is our history.

We stand in solidarity with Palestinians' right to resistance, self-determination, and return. israel's atrocities are enabled by the participation of governments, corporations, and universities around the world. We are observing transnational Palestine solidarity movements implode the purported moral fibres of the academy at the heart of empire. We join students across the globe standing against this genocide. We stand proud in our solidarity with them. And we rejoice in resisting with them.

From CUNY to UCLA, from Trinity College to Sciences Po, from Newcastle to Goldsmiths, from Toronto to Mexico City, our peers have acted with bold commitment to a shared humanity for people in Gaza. We follow in the footsteps of students before us, those who rallied for RhodesMustFall, who occupied the Radcliffe Camera, who protested South African Apartheid. Our resistance is not unprecedented. These students, once ostracised by the university, are now proudly memorialised as part of its history. Their legacies are assimilated by a university apparatus that, ironically, refuses to learn from its students. Universities are architects of the status-quo. Seeking justice is always countercultural.

Who calibrates the moral compass of resistance and survival? Is it western governments, who reap stability and wealth garnered from slavery and colonial projects? Is it israel, who uses precious human life to colour the rubble of Gaza red? Is it corporate executives and investment managers beholden to their shareholders on penthouse couches? Is it you, whose comfort is cushioned by imperialism?

What is the cost of your silence?

We have launched camp because we believe another world is possible. We insist on it.

ุงู„ู†ุถุงู„ ุงู„ูู„ุณุทูŠู†ูŠ ูƒุงู† ูˆุณูŠุจู‚ู‰ ุงู„ู†ุถุงู„ ุงู„ุฐูŠ ู†ู‚ุชุฏูŠ ุจู‡ุŒ ูˆุณูŠุญุฑุฑู†ุง ุฌู…ูŠุนุงู‹

The Palestinian struggle was and will always remain. We look to the Palestinian struggle; it will free us all.

The ethos of our Liberated Zone is rooted in the Arabic word Nidal, embodying and describing Palestinian values and struggle. Nidal, to persevere, to fight for freedom, and to defend with pride.

We do this because we believe another world is possible. We insist on it.

We have had enough. We are escalating in response to israel's genocide in Gaza to reassert our call on the University of Oxford and its constituent colleges to promptly end their complicity in israel's systemic crimes against the Palestinian people by severing all ties with israeli occupation and apartheid โ€“ both financial and academic.