Goldsmiths occupied, twinned…

goldsmithsGoldsmiths Students Occupy Deptford Town Hall!

The occupation comes after the college refused the provision of
scholarship programmes for Palestinian students…
Please offer messages of support or join the fray!
Regards, Luke
See a commentary here. And a first blog post here.

There is a facebook site as well. See here.

And tomorrow a union meeting to endorse the twinning of Goldsmiths With Al Quds University in Palestine.  Some discussion from Canada of Boycott politics here. Includes some strange associations in terms of signatories, but the tangentially relevant Banksy graffito that heads the piece deserves a nod.

10 thoughts on “Goldsmiths occupied, twinned…

  1. sorry…was it this part: “the names of scholars that I recognized are internationally prominent and respected ones such as Ernesto Laclau, Etienne Balibar, Eric Hobsbawm, Slavoj Zizek, Paul Gilroy, and John Hutnyk; anthropologists such as David Graeber, Alexander King, and Martha Mundy; and Caribbeanists such as Diana Paton and Paul Sutton”?

    I was singling out the name that were most meaningful to me given my own research and reading interests.


  2. …hopefully the rest of the piece deserves much more of a nod than the graffiti, please, if one has anything positive to say in favour of a boycott. Now, I will stop spamming your blog, apologies.


  3. max, the piece is excellent, and we are all for more. we meet tomorrow to twin our uni with Al-Quds in Palestine, our students in occupation in support of scholarships for al quds students.

    the list of names did, of course, surprise me. such company! beam.

    both david g and i will give talks at the goldsmiths occupation, alongside many others I expect.

    please tell a little more about actions in canada

    red salute


  4. Many thanks John, much appreciated.

    The movement, or movements (there seems to be a different one for each province) are starting to gain momentum. In Quebec, College and University Workers United is developing a great organization, and you should be hearing more from us soon.

    Apologies again for the spam, I tend to think and write in installments.

    Until soon, very best wishes to you, to all of you.


  5. Open Gaza Borders!
    Call from International Solidarity Movement, Gaza, to social movements and No Borders networks

    4 February 2009

    We reiterate the existing call from Palestinian community based
    organisations and the over 130 grassroots NGOs in the Palestinian NGO
    Network for an immediate opening of all border crossings currently
    controlled by Israel and Egypt.

    Gaza is in the grip of a man-made humanitarian crisis. Thousands of tons
    of food, medical and emergency shelter aid including blankets and
    mattresses, donated by countries including the United States and aid
    organisations, is being denied entry through crossings by both the
    Israeli and Egyptian governments.

    The United Nations has stated that 900,000 Gazans are now dependent on
    food aid following Israel’s 22-day assault on the tiny coastal
    territory. Only 100 aid trucks are being allowed into Gaza each day – 30
    less than were being brought in last year and substantially less than
    before Israel’s operation ‘Cast Lead’: an attack that has left over
    1,300 Palestinians dead, the vast majority of them civilians massacred
    in their streets and homes. With over 5,000 injured and 100,000
    homeless, admittance of aid is crucial at this time.

    This is a fraction of the estimated 500-600 trucks deemed necessary to
    sustain the population of Gaza according to the United Nations.
    According to UNRWA, food trucks are delivering enough food to feed just
    30,000 people per day.

    Hundreds of medical patients, the injured from this war and Israel’s
    previous invasions, are being prohibited from leaving Gaza for
    indispensable medical treatment. Over 268 people have died of
    preventable and treatable conditions after being denied access to
    treatment since the beginning of the ongoing siege two years ago.

    Israel and Egypt have designated February 5th as the final day for all
    foreign nationals to leave Gaza through the southern Rafah border. Egypt
    has said it will close the Rafah border indefinitely. Despite a
    statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Health that humanitarian cases
    will be allowed through, many patients have already been turned back,
    before the closing of the border. Hundreds of patients and some of those
    wounded from ‘Cast Lead,’ are still waiting for permission to exit Gaza
    through Rafah for medical treatment.

    The Gazan community is concerned that Israel will be stepping up its’
    economic, political, cultural and militarised stranglehold on Gaza in
    the upcoming weeks.

    Post Israeli elections, Gazans fear the Israeli government will conduct
    extra judicial killings and continue their deadly strikes on Palestinian
    governmental figures, targeting of social and economic infrastructure
    and indiscriminate killings of civilians in the process. Actions that
    have proven to not only end lives but successfully cripple Palestinian
    development including reconstruction of homes destroyed by Israeli
    bombings and bulldozing during and before Operation ‘Cast Lead’.

    Thousands of internally displaced people face an uncertain future
    residing in flimsy canvas tents reminiscent of the mass dispossession
    through the ethnic cleansing of 1948 when the state of Israel was first
    established on Palestinian land.

    A de-facto land grab and re-colonisation of Gaza is underway, with the
    demolition of hundreds of homes and destruction of farms in the Israeli
    defined ‘buffer zone’ areas of Rafah, Eastern (Shijaye) and Northern
    (Beit Hanoun) areas of Gaza. Killings, shelling and shootings of farmers
    and residents in border areas are continuing.

    The ‘buffer zone’ has been expanded to cut into Palestinian lands by one
    kilometre. Israeli occupation forces have shot at residents that have
    attempted to retrieve their belongings from the bombed and bulldozed
    remnants of their homes along the border of Beit Hanoun. The army also
    continues to fire at farmers planting their fields in village areas such
    as al Faraheen near Khan Younis.

    The Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture says Israeli occupation forces
    have destroyed 60% of Gaza’s agricultural land during this winter’s war.

    Effective international direct action and an escalation of the Boycott,
    Divestment and Sanction campaign is necessary to resist the
    intensification of the collective punishment, imprisonment and ongoing
    war on the people of Palestine.

    The situation is worsening: the stranglehold on the people of Gaza is
    tightening, humanitarian relief is being deliberately choked, trauma is
    deepening, people are being humiliated on a daily basis and development
    is not just blocked but in the process of being actively reversed.

    We call on social movements, particularly No Borders networks, and
    people of conscience to target Israeli and Egyptian embassies,
    institutions, and corporations. Particularly in the coming days of
    intensified border closure, we must work to pressure both governments to
    abide by international law and open Gaza for the free movement of aid,
    goods and people.

    End the collective punishment of the Gazan people, NO BORDERS!


  6. > Today the occupation of Deptford Town Hall escalated when this morning
    > students barricaded the corridors leading to Senior Management
    > Officers.
    > At 1pm Goldsmiths Staff Union (UCU) passed a motion in support of the
    > occupation at their General Meeting.
    > This evening Senior Management gave in to our demands and granted
    > us in
    > writing 2 scholarships for Al-Quds Open University Students and
    > also a
    > further 2 scholarships allocated for students coming from any areas
    > acrossthe globe under humanitarian crisis. This scheme will run for
    > the next 10
    > years and then a review be conducting entirely by students as to
    > how it
    > should continue.
    > We will vacate the Town Hall tomorrow morning after a celebration
    > partytonight! Cultural Studies lecturer John Hutnyk is at 8pm
    > giving a talk
    > entitled ‘The politics of institutions, role of Goldsmiths, knowledge
    > industry and war-commerce’ – drop by if you can make it!
    > This success is a fantastic culmination of our 2 year Twinning
    > Campaignand has demonstrated just how quickly college is ready to
    > respond to
    > collective action.
    > Signed: The Palestine Twinning Campaign
    > Jennifer Jones
    > Campaigns & Communications Officer
    > Goldsmiths Student Union
    > Dixon Road
    > New Cross
    > SE14 6NW
    > “We are all murderers and prostitutes –no matter to what culture,
    > society, class, nation one belongs, no matter how normal, moral, or
    > mature, one takes oneself to be.” – and lots of others by R. D Laing


  7. yes indeed the occupation achieved its aims and then some. Here is the text of Hugh’s letter:

    Goldsmiths proposals for humanitarian scholarships

    Goldsmiths will establish 4 scholarships, covering the cost of taught postgraduate tuition fees, to be awarded to students who come from all and any part of the world which is affected by oppression, persecution, political or military strife such that their human right to education is denied to them.

    Goldsmiths will work with its students and other interested parties to establish a charitable trust to raise funds to support the costs of these students’ study – accommodation, travel and living expenses. In the early years of the charity’s operation, if it cannot raise sufficient funds to cover the costs, Goldsmiths will provide funds to enable the students to study at Goldsmiths.

    Two of the four scholarships will, for the ten years from 2009-10 until 2018-19, be reserved for students from Palestine. Before the 2019-20 scholarships are advertised, there will be a review, which will include asking the student body (and making its assent a necessary condition) to determine whether and for how long the reservation of 2 scholarships for Palestinian students should continue.

    Goldsmiths will work with Al-Quds Open University and Birzeit University, with which we already have strong academic links, in identifying suitable candidates. The selection panel to agree the criteria for the scholarships in the first instance, and to determine who receives the scholarships on an annual basis, shall comprise a student representative chosen by the students, an academic staff representative, and a Pro-Warden.

    Consequences of the occupation

    It is my belief that the occupation of Deptford Town Hall has been conducted peacefully and in good order. Unless, when the occupation is over, significant damage is found to have occurred, I am happy to confirm that no action will be taken against those students who took part in the occupation.

    Hugh Jones
    Registrar and Secretary

    12 February 2009


  8. Its been pointed out that the twinning and the scholarships should have also included Gaza’s Islamic Uni, not just Al-Quds or Berzeit for obvious reasons – ie., that Gaza was attacked, Islamic Uni was levelled… Sounds good to me, there are afterall four scholarships per year.


  9. From: brighton unemployedcentre
    Subject: The Hypocrisy of Goldsmith College Sociology Lecturer – David Hirsh

    He Opposes Boycotts of Israeli Universities but Supports the Bombing of a Palestinian University
    On 29th December the University of Gaza was bombed by Israel. The pretext was that it conducted research and development for Hamas. An excuse which would permit the bombing of most western universities (unfortunately). The real reason was because of its cultural significance. It is a common feature of imperialism to seek to destroy the indigenous culture. The first thing the Nazis did when they occupied Poland was to liquidate the intelligentsia. The Jews came next.

    David Hirsh, Sociology lecture at Goldsmiths College has waged a long fight against the academic boycott – of Israeli universities. Academic freedom is very dear to David’s heart. But when the University of Gaza was bombed, and a number of times since, there was deafening silence from someone who is able to detect ‘anti-semitism’ at the other end of the globe if criticism of Israel is on the agenda.

    Unsurprisingly therefore his Engage site considered an article ‘‘Attacks on Hamas in Gaza are part of a world Jewish conspiracy, reports Greek newspaper’ in an obscure Greek newspaper of more importance than the genocide in Gaza.

    Strangely David’s pro-Zionist site omits any mention of 400 Palestinian children who have lost their lives, or the 1,200 people, mostly civilians who have been killed altogether. What matters is a whiff of anti-Semitism. The idea that associating Jews with Israel’s crimes might actually be the best help anti-Semites could want or desire is not something that disturbs David unduly.

    So when I posted a comment to Engage condemning the bombing of Gaza university on 1.1.09., imagine my surprise when, after nearly 3 weeks it didn’t appear! I mean how can you defend academic freedom when you have nothing to say about the bombing of a university? But of course David’s concern for academic freedom stops and ends with Israel’s apartheid wall. If it had been an Israeli university that had been bombed then he would have been the first to protest. If 400 Jewish or Israeli children had been murdered David would rightly have been up in arms. But Palestinian children or universities? Forget it. They are not Jewish or Israeli. Which is, of course one very good definition of racism, including anti-Semitism.

    Tony Greenstein

    >>Posted 1.1.09. to Engage Site – still has not appeared!
    How interesting that Engage, a site set up to combating the Academic Boycott, has nothing to say on the bombing of the Islamic University of Gaza. Of course it’s only a building, but maybe that will be a good excuse if a Palestinian group gets around to bombing an Israeli university – it was only one building after all!

    And then there is the obsession with anti-Semitism in an obscure Greek news paper. The racism that justifies murdering 400+ people in Gaza in ‘retaliation’ for rocket attacks that have killed 20 people in 8 years of course goes unmentioned, but this was the mentality of Apartheid in South Africa and similar racist regimes. Wasn’t it the Nazis who believed in murdering 100 civilians for every casualty they suffered?

    Honesty is, of course, in short supply on Engage, the site that is now explicitly supporting genocide in Gaza. The fact that there were no rockets being fired from Gaza until the Israeli army broke the ceasefire in an ‘incursion’ on November 4th to kill 6 Palestinians is ‘forgotten’. But anyone with a shred of honesty will know that the purpose of the Israeli blitzkrieg is regime change – the replacement of Hamas with the quisling-like Abbas. The ceasefire was an impediment and had to go and what better than a few puny rockets to justify a new bout of blood letting.

    Just as the assassination of vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan, was the excuse for Kristalnacht, so the pathetic rockets of Hamas are the excuse for murder unlimited by the Zionist regime in Israel.

    But of course George Bush and his Christian fundamentalists in the USA, who are of course fully supportive of Israel’s genocidal bombing, are also opposed to ‘anti-Semitism’. How strange that Bush and Hirsh make such good bedfellows.

    Next time Hirsh and Strawson stand up to oppose the academic boycott in the name of ‘anti-Semitism’ we will know them as the hypocrites they are.


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