Divestment Die-in Speech

17 May

Today Fred Spolier, one of our occupiers, gave this powerful speech at our die-in over the failure of University to withdraw their funds from from fossil fuels and arms. Supporters covered themselves in ‘oil’ and lay dead in the pavement while occupiers stood in the windows with tape over their mouths holding signs which read ‘Fossil fuels kill’ and ‘Edinburgh Uni is shutting us up’.

For five days now in this occupation, we’ve tried to make our voices heard. We’ve tried to represent the overwhelming consensus of students and staff that there is no ethical investment in fossil fuels and arms.

But the university seems to think that the voices of students and staff don’t matter: they’ve hit the mute button. For years they’ve refused to engage with People and Planet, and they still refuse to have an ethical dialogue about the issues we face.

And the fact is, people are suffering and dying in wars and environmental disasters across the world, and the university is complicit.

It’s no good hitting the mute button, it’s no good turning away. The people who’ve come out today and “died” have brought this reality to the streets of Edinburgh. It’s a powerful statement that lack of action on this issue shows a callous disregard for human life. We believe people should not be treated like ants, that you step on and feel no remorse.

We believe in duty. Education is about investing in the future, so let’s ensure we have a future!

That’s what all these amazing people have come here to show the blind money-grubbing bureaucrats: our demands are not requests! We are reminding you of your ethical duty!

If the University of Edinburgh wants to be known as the university of Hume, the home of rationality and the Enlightenment, let’s see a little enlightened and rational action: stop funding global warming and war!

At the current rate of carbon dioxide emissions, we will hit the 2-degree scenario of global meltdown within 30 years. There can be no more prevaricating, no more silence. Let’s set an example to the world, and share with Glasgow University the honour of taking the lead and saying what we all know to be true: we need change, and we need it now!

No more investing in murderous profiteering! Divest! Say no to fossil fuels and weapons, show us that the voices and lives of your students and staff mean something, and let’s start committing to the future of our wonderful planet!



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