Friday, 27 February 2009

Excellent victory at SOAS general mtg-Israel IS an Apartheid state.

Full motions document can now be found HERE.

Yesterday's packed (although due to essay deadlines not quite as packed as usual) Union General meeting brought surprise victories for ALL the motions submitted. 

Interestingly, in the Make Apartheid History motion, someone proposed to take the 'resolves 3: 3) Affiliate our Union to the “Campaign for Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions” carried out in the UK by BRICUP and by PACBI in Palestine.' to discuss seperately. 

Which we did and it still passed almost unanimously. So, what this means is that the person didn't want to have the academic boycott bit in the main motion but would have been in favour of the motion if that part was removed. It wasn't so now we have policy on the whole motion.

Motions included:

  • Make Apartheid History; Israel is an Apartheid State, affiliate to BRICUP (for academic boycott of Israeli institutions)
  • Stop the BNP- On the Streets and at the Ballot Box: No Platform for Fascists
  • No Means No!
  • No to Commodification of Communism
  • Solidarity With Gaza
  • Mobilisation Against the G20 and NATO Conference
  • Working with FE Colleges on the Future of Education
  • Save Our Universities: Save London Met
  • Supporting Student Activism

Comrades spoke confidently and passionately. We had hardly any opposition. There is a slight issue with the no Platform for Fascists motion which i am trying to deal with. Will keep you informed.

Candidates who are standing for election passed some very important motions. Katie Boothby was brilliant. Clearly our approach this year has brought people closer to us and we are now planning how to maximise on this.

Another Education is Possible is a great campaign that can bring together forces on the left to fight for a united position on the 5 key points:

Free Education
Stop the War
Freedom for Palestine
Unite Against Fascism
Stop Climate Chaos.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Videos of Wednesday's student demo

Comrade Mark makes a fabulous speech

SOAS representing at London Demo against marketisation of education

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

THREE more UK uni's in occupation. Plus video from Manchester occupation

University of The Arts blog

Plymouth University and BAE Systems
BAE Systems have sold equipment to Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe and - more specifically - 236 F-16 Fighters to the Israeli state. In February 2007 it was announced that BAE contracts in 6 countries were under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office for "suspected international corruption."

Noam Chomsky has been a trooper keeping up with all the occupations and sending messages of support to ALL of's what he sent to Cardiff.

Cardiff Students Against War has just received a message of support from the legendary Noam Chomsky!!

I am very pleased to learn about the courageous and honorable actions of the Cardiff University students. These are particularly significant because of the Britain's role in arms sales generally, and it's contribution to the savage onslaught on Gaza and on the occupied territories generally, second only to the decisive role of the United States -- a disgrace for all of us. I hope you have the greatest success in arousing public opinion and bringing these crimes to an end.

Noam Chomsky

Obviously this is a massive boost to our morale after a rough first night on the cold, hard lecture theatre steps. Thank you Noam!

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Israeli Apartheid Week 2009

When i come back to full activity i will be re-arranging how this site is organised. Videos will be broadcast on SMTV rather than as separate posts.

I will uploaded this video on SMTV soon.

New York occupation needs your support-please contact their director

It is clear that the momentum on the side of student occupations and democracy was becoming too big a threat for campus administrations. The NYU administration this afternoon divided, detained, suspended and evicted students who had been occupying the student center at NYU.

This all happened without due process. John Sexton is using the NYU occupation to send a message to students across the country - that dissent and free speech will be met with repression.

But we have our own precedent to set: that the fight for campus democracy and divestment will continue in the face of intimidation. The more pressure the NYU administration feels (and the more our student occupation movement grows), the more likely we will win justice for students here and justice for the people of the Middle East.

In struggle,

Email NYU Administrators. Demand amnesty and no suspensions:

NYU President John Sexton:
John Beckman, NYU Spokesperson:
Office of the Provost:
Office of the Vice President:

For more information and great coverage:

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Internet for Activists conference at SOAS. All activists welcome

We would like to invite you to our conference on the 14 March entitled "The Internet for Activists 2009". We are students who have seen internet tactics build successful campaigns and gain publicity for important issues.

Our aim is to set up a free conference where advanced internet activists can share their expertise with others and different activist groups can meet to share their own experience, both
of the web and the street.

A one day conference on how to effectively use the internet for activism. Experts in their fields will give seminars, workshops, Laptop urgery and there will be stalls and food. 

Full programme to be published once it has been finalised.

To book a stall or for further details please email 

Another New York uni in occupation

Take back New York occupation blog

Birzeit University students would like to express particular solidarity with students of SOAS...who started this movement


The Right to Education Campaign and the students of Birzeit University would like to commend and express support for students worldwide who have taken a principled stance against the ferocious Israeli bombardment of the Gaza strip for 22 days between December 2008 and January 2009...

Read full article here

...In response to the Israeli attacks on Gaza, students at more than 20 (32 now i think) universities in the UK and so far 1 university in the U.S, have taken non-violent action in the form of sit-ins or 'occupations' of rooms in university buildings, with the aim of pressuring their universities to take action by cutting financial and commercial links with Israel, issuing statements in condemnation of the Israeli attacks on Gaza, and providing scholarships for Gaza students.

...Birzeit University students would like to express particular solidarity with students of SOAS, who began this movement, Edinburgh University, and Leeds University, all of whom are twinned with our Student Council. We deeply appreciate your ongoing efforts in refusing to be silent in face of the ongoing barbarities and crimes carried out by the Israeli occupation against Palestinian students and teachers.

In solidarity,

Birzeit University Right to Education Student Volunteers

Action Palestine conference at SOAS this weekend-support the student occcupations

Speakers include: Illan Pappe, Gilbert Achcar, Karma Nabulsi, Saleh Abdel-Jawad, Norman Finkelstein, and many speakers from Ben Gurion and our twinned uni Birzeit

The recent Israeli massacres in Gaza show the need for a sustained and unified movement for Palestine.

Whilst the past three weeks have seen unprecedented action in support of Palestinians, our campaign needs to focus on providing long-tem solidarity, even when the cameras of the world’s media are focused elsewhere. This is most relevant on the student level where a strong student movement for Palestine holds the promise of bringing energy and vibrancy to the wider movement.

Over the past year, Palestine student groups in UK universities have cooperated to run successful nationwide campaigns, bringing the Palestinian cause to the forefront of campus politics. Many twinning links with Palestinian universities have been forged, making the plight of Palestinian students more real and relevant to UK students.

These campaigns and others and have flourished. Sharing of knowledge and expertise between Palestine student groups has been central to expanding our capabilities.

Our last two conferences in June 2008 in LSE and Nov 2007 in Manchester were attended by over 15 Palestine student groups. Since June, several more Palestine student groups have been set up in different universities and this conference is set to be the biggest and most crucial in terms of building a strong student movement for Palestine.

This conference will not be a talking shop; we aim to come away from this conference with a concrete vision and to a coordinated a plan to build a strong movement for Palestine.

If you need somewhere to stay in London on sat night, please get in touch.

The deadline to submit motion is 11.59pm Sat 14th of Feb.

Tickets are £10 per person. Limited availability please book early. Priority given to bookings through Palestine student groups. To book a place please email:
(If you are unable to make it to the conference due to the travel cost or the ticket cost, please get in touch we might be able to sort something out)

The Conference schedule is below:
(Please note that three of the items below (clearly marked) belong to “The Nakba: Sixty Years of Dispossession, Sixty Years of Resistance listed below” conference organised by SOAS PalSoc and Nakba60 and our delegates have access to these sessions.

Day One Saturday 21st Feb

11.00am-11.30am: Registration and refreshments

11.30 – 13.00: Introduction to Action Palestine & feed back on the work of Palestine student societies

13.30 – 15.00: Workshops 1 (2 at the same time):
1. Strategies for Effective campaigning
2. How to run your society; internal structure, membership retention and external coordination.

15.15 – 16.45: Workshops 2 (2 at the same time):
1. Strategies for Effective campaigning
2. How to run your society; internal structure, membership retention and external coordination.

5.00pm-6.45pm: History of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (organised by SOAS PalSoc and Nakba60)
Chair: Gilbert Achcar (School of Oriental and African Studies)
Bashir Abu Manneh (Barnard College, New York)
Fadle Naqib (University of Waterloo)
Roger Heacock (Birzeit University)
Khaled Hroub (University of Cambridge)

7.30 – 9.30: Evening social

Day Two Sunday 22nd Feb

10:45am-12:45pm: Social and Economic History of Palestinian Resistance (organised by SOAS PalSoc and Nakba60)
Chair: Roger Heacock (Birzeit University)
Musa Budeiri (Birzeit University) (tbc)
Penny Johnson (Birzeit University)
Ahmad Sa'di (Ben Gurion University)
Lori Allen (University of Cambridge)

Refreshments 12.45 – 13.15

13.15 – (until close) Elections & Motions
Discussion about future plans and campaigns, as well as the general direction for the student movement will take place in the form of motions. Any delegate can submit a motion. The motions deadline is Saturday 14th Feb. Amendments will be accepted up until the start of this session. A copy of all motions will be distributed to all delegates five days before conference. The election of the National Action Palestine Committee will also take place.

(end of previous session) - 6:00pm Roundtable discussion: The Meaning of Gaza: History Reconsidered in Times of Catastrophe
(organised by SOAS PalSoc and Nakba60)
Chair (tbc)
Karma Nabulsi, Saleh Abdel-Jawad, Gilbert Achcar, Norman Finkelstein, Ilan Pappe

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Wes Streeting plays the race card-Dom Kavakeb responds

We would like to express our severe disappointment at the NUS President for his comments regarding the wave of student occupations that has taken place over the past month.

Thousands of students have been involved in these protests and the very breadth of the occupations serves to prove the wide support for these actions. Over 30 university campuses have seen some form of student action.

Any minor disruption caused by these occupations has to be offset against their success in highlighting the desperate humanitarian situation in Gaza, including the destruction of the Islamic University of Gaza.

The allegation that the occupations have fuelled anti-semitism on our campuses is as disgraceful as it is untrue. Thousands of students, many Jewish, have been involved in action to help rebuild the Gazan education system and support the right to education for Palestinians.

The NUS was founded, in 1922, upon the values of peace and international solidarity after the slaughter of the First World War. Surely, the President of the national Union of Students should welcome wholeheartedly the return of student activism and international solidarity amongst students.

Meeting on Thursday, everyone welcome:

This Thursday (the 19th), SOAS Stop the War are holding an activist meeting in the common room. The primary aim is to discuss upcoming actions and events in and around SOAS, and coordination for national and international events. Come along and help out!

Campaign meeting

Thursday 19th Feb, 5.30pm

SOAS Junior Common Room

FOUR more student occupations today.

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Sunday, 15 February 2009

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Saturday, 14 February 2009

Defend José Stalin Bermúdez! Victimised SOAS activist

His offence? Helping cleaners fight poverty pay

Join the solidarity protest on the 24th February!

SOAS Unison branch chair José Stalin Bermúdez has been suspended from his post and is awaiting a hearing that could see him sacked from his employment with the college.

Stalin's colleagues and other campaigners believe the move follows his role in leading a successful campaign at the University against poverty pay among cleaning staff.

Stalin, an Ecuadorian immigrant and himself a former cleaner, helped launch a campaign for the London Living Wage after Latin American SOAS cleaners approached him for support, as some of them had not been paid for 3 months by SOAS' cleaning contractor. Stalin, along with other staff and students, organised a series of protests which would see cleaners raise their wages from £5.52 to £7.45 per hour and gain trade-union recognition! This important victory has encouraged similar campaigns to be set up in other London colleges.

We believe that his suspension is groundless.

The Background

Over a year ago, a complaint against Stalin by a colleague was rejected after an investigation by the College. However no attempt was made to either reconcile the two employees or separate them in their duties (despite requests to do this by SOAS union representatives). This was particularly serious as both work in a very small workspace. The atmosphere was so bad that a third member of staff became ill. Still no action was taken. When Stalin did question behaviour on the part of his colleague, he received a further complaint. College management appear to have accepted his version of events over Stalin's.

A cleaner who witnessed events was then examined by college management. There are serious questions about the way this was handled. Firstly, a meeting was held in the presence of his cleaning firm's supervisor. Secondly, instead of being asked for an account of what he had heard, he was read a long quote that Stalin had supposedly made and asked to agree to it. Despite the fact that the cleaner did not speak perfect English, he was not shown the quote, which contained colloquial English expressions that the cleaner, who came to Britain not many years before, was unlikely to understand (and Stalin, who has English as his second language, was very unlikely to use). Under these conditions, the cleaner accepted the version of events presented. However, when he finally read the words, after the meeting, he withdrew his comments. Another member of staff has presented a statement also questioning the alleged version of events.

The procedure adopted to examine the complaint suggests that SOAS management have not been interested in giving Stalin fair treatment. Despite having no serious evidence of wrongdoing, SOAS management, nonetheless, are pressing ahead with a disciplinary hearing.

Stalin's treatment has been unanimously denounced by SOAS Unison and SOAS UCU branch passed a motion to support his campaign.He has already received messages of support from several other union branches and student groups.

Stalin has been working at SOAS for most of the ten years he has lived in Britain since emigrating. He has often showed his solidarity with people fighting for their rights, within SOAS, at neighbouring colleges such as Birkbeck, and elsewhere in London.

For committing these 'crimes' now he and his family of four are facing the prospect of unemployment in the midst of recession.

We need more people like Stalin that stand up against injustice. And we need you to support his campaign.

A solidarity protest for Stalin has been called to coincide with his hearing on the 24th February at 9.30 am at SOAS (main building entrance, Thornhaugh Street, near Russell Square). Please come and support him and ask union branches and campaign groups to do the same.

Also, send messages of support to Jose Stalin Bermudez and Sandy Nicoll, SOAS Unison Branch Secretary,

No to victimisation of union activists!

Join the solidarity protest on the 24th February!

Friday, 13 February 2009

UCL students fly Palestinian flag from main building

Hampshire College becomes first college in U.S. to divest from Israeli Occupation!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Although the college has also divested from other companies, it is pertinent that these 6 businesses are explicitly the first college to divest from South Africa 32 years ago, this divestment sends out a clear signal for a way forward.

Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, has become the first of any college or university in the U.S. to divest from companies on the grounds of their involvement in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

This landmark move is a direct result of a two-year intensive campaign by the campus group, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The group pressured Hampshire College's Board of Trustees to divest from six specific companies due to human rights concerns in occupied Palestine. Over 800 students, professors, and alumni have signed SJP's "institutional statement" calling for the divestment.

The proposal put forth by SJP was approved on Saturday, 7 Feb 2009 by the Board. By divesting from these companies, SJP believes that Hampshire has distanced itself from complicity in the illegal occupation and war crimes of Israel.

Meeting minutes from a committee of Hampshire's Board of Trustees confirm that "President Hexter acknowledged that it was the good work of SJP that brought this issue to the attention of the committee." This groundbreaking decision follows in Hampshire's history of being the first college in the country to divest from apartheid South Africa thirty-two years ago, a decision based on similar human rights concerns. This divestment was also a direct result of student pressure.

The divestment has so far been endorsed by Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Rashid Khalidi, Vice President of the EU Parliament Luisa Morganitini, Cynthia McKinney, former member of the African National Congress Ronnie Kasrils, Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, John Berger, Tariq Ali, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, among others.

The six corporations, all of which provide the Israeli military with equipment and services in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza are: Caterpillar, United Technologies, General Electric, ITT Corporation, Motorola, and Terex (see attached info sheet for more information on these corporations.) Furthermore, our policy prevents the reinvestment in any company involved in the illegal occupation.

SJP is responding to a call from Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) as a way of bringing non-violent pressure to bear on the state of Israel to end its violations of international law. SJP is following in the footsteps of many noted groups and institutions such as the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education in the UK, the Israeli group Gush Shalom, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, and the American Friends Service Committee.

As well as voicing our opposition to the illegal occupation and the consistent human rights violations of the Palestinian people, we as members of an institute of higher education see it as our moral responsibility to express our solidarity with Palestinian students whose access to education is severely inhibited by the Israeli occupation.

SJP has proven that student groups can organize, rally and pressure their schools to divest from the illegal occupation. The group hopes that this decision will pave the way for other institutions of higher learning in the U.S. to take similar stands.


NUMBER: 1-517-417-5200
CODE: 664146#

All students and student organizations are welcome to participate!

Since the invasion of Gaza on December 27, 2008, resistance to Israeli aggression and U.S. complicity in Israel's wars crimes have spread.

Almost immediately, thousands took to the streets in Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, Venezuela and various cities throughout Europe and the United States. Now more than ever Israeli foreign policy has been exposed for what it really is: a campaign of terror and brutality, both required to maintain an unjust occupation of stolen land.

The movement to free Palestine took a massive step forward as students began occupying universities throughout Britain, demanding university divestment from Israel, humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza and the admittance of Palestinian students into their universities. Currently there are 22 occupations taking place in Britain alone.

In inspiration, on February 6th, students occupied the University of Rochester with similar demands. To read more about this please check out:

While this was the first student occupation in the United States in response to the invasion of Gaza, it was not the only occupation in recent months. Last December, close to 100 student occupied the New School in New York City demanding the resignation of Bob Kerry, in addition to demanding more accountability amongst the administration with regard to investment and student voices. To find out more, check out:

Join the call to hear a full report of the student occupation of the University of Rochester. We are also working to get call-in reports from the New School occupation organizers and British students with occupations underway.

After reports, we will also have a full discussion of next steps for the student occupation movement in the United States: where is it possible next? What are our demands? What are the lessons from the University of Rochester and the New School?

ALL ARE WELCOME! Please spread the word!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

NUS President supports student occupations NOT!

Wes Streeting cries all the way back to NUS HQ after discovering that he was misquoted saying, basically, that he supports the student occupations!!

Damned journo's, how's he gonna get a job in the Labour Party now? Erm....sorry Wes for ruining your career!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Couldn't resist this one...University of Rochester in New York now in occupation

I know i'm supposed to be doing my essay but i can't resist this one: University of Rochester in New York in the US of flipping A are now in occupation.

Blog details HERE