Friday, 27 February 2009

Student Occupations in Cardiff University

The student occupation of the Large Shandon Lecture Theatre in the main building of Cardiff University lead by Cardiff Students Against War ended last night (26th Feb), after receiving the news that Cardiff University has divested all shares from BAe Systems and the aerospace arm of General Electric. The University has instructed it's external fund managers to avoid future investments in the arms trade, and promised to raise the issue of an "ethical investment policy" at the next council meeting on May 18th. They have also said they are willing to consider sending surplus computer equipment and other resources to institutions in Gaza. The decision to end the occupation took place after a large debate on the afternoon of the 26th, where it was decided that the occupation should now be ended in light of these developments. This was followed by a march around campus declaring the victory of the action. Further demands that have not been met include the facilitation of scholarships for Gazan students and the boycotting of all Israeli products in University Shops. There will be a meeting on Monday 2nd March to discuss where the Campaign will go from here, as there is an urgent need to organise fundraising events and further action to raise awareness and ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. There is also an urgent need to consolidate the political platform of the campaign to avoid the surge of student activity disappearing as quickly as it arrived. I will be attending this meeting to assess the political content of the discussions, and to argue for the need to campaign for genuine Marxist politics if the interest that has been generated by these occupations in the student community is to be anything more than a flash in the pan.

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