Queen Mary Palestine protest. Photo: James Ivens
Queen Mary Palestine protest. Photo: James Ivens

Queen Mary, east London – power in the collective

There was a student-organised sit-in at Queen Mary University to protest against the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza, and the university’s involvement in it. Queen Mary issued a statement expressing sympathy with the victims of this violence. However, it refused to condemn the actions of the Israeli state.

Queen Mary invests millions of pounds in Barclays. The bank funds weaponry sent to Israel from the UK.

We, the students, find this unacceptable and sickening. This is yet another example of universities prioritising money in their pockets over the cries of their students for change.

Queen Mary students are calling for the university to condemn the actions of the Israeli state, demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire, and divest funds that are supporting war crimes.

Queen Mary Socialist Students got involved in this protest. We were able to share our views that were very well received. And some students expressed interest in getting involved with our campaigns.

Nandi Shalita

Nandi also spoke at the protest:

They’re looking at us in the face and telling us what we’re seeing with our own eyes is a lie. They’re trying to scare us into silence.

Netanyahu used the Hamas attacks to make it seem like he is the protector of the Israeli people. He is not. He doesn’t care about his people. He is using October 7 as a scapegoat.

Palestinians need an intifada – an uprising against the occupation. A socialist intifada led by the people.

Let us not be fooled into thinking there is nothing we can do about what’s happening. We demand the government condemn the actions of the Israeli state. Its compliance in this genocide is appalling and unforgivable. And we will not forget.

And our own representative – Tower Hamlets Labour MP Rushanara Ali – refused to vote for a ceasefire. [“Shame!” – shouts from crowd] They do not speak for us. And they do not represent us.

This Tory government is trying to ban discussion and the waving of flags. They’re trying to silence us.

It’s because they see the power we hold. They’re afraid.

There have recently been hundreds of thousands of people on the streets of London every Saturday for over a month. There is power in the collective. And we need to utilise it to demand Palestinian liberation.

Birmingham – Tory and Labour shame

Over 200 parents and children gathered in Centenary Square, part of a national school strike against the war and occupation of Gaza.

Many there snatched the words out of our mouths, talking about the political establishment in the UK ignoring public support for a ceasefire, as they do on so many issues closer to home.

One protester said: “Maybe one day we’ll have leaders who’ve protested for peace. For now, we’re led by donkeys”.

One parent who came to speak to us was all the more willing to donate to our Socialist Party fighting fund when we explained that we weren’t a charity. We use the funds that we raise to produce material to explain the situation in Gaza to people here in the UK, campaign for a ceasefire, and against the pro-war, pro-occupation politicians.

Speaking to Free Radio, Birmingham Socialist Party member Louie said: “The role that the Tories and Labour have played in this is shameful. There is a need for a political alternative that can fight for a ceasefire and for people who work”.

Nick Hart

Manchester and Salford – from infants to elderly

Dozens of people, from infants to the elderly, gathered in Manchester to show solidarity with Palestinian people during the national student strike. Following this success, Socialist Students held a stall outside the University of Salford, where we raised awareness about Gaza.

The students we spoke to were opposed to the university on this issue, and some were planning on taking action to change its position. We are planning on organising future walkouts.

Amy Rathbone

University of the West of Scotland – youth have role to play

Socialist Students organised a protest with other student groups at the Paisley campus on 27 November.

Daniel Lauchlan, from Socialist Students, said: “Thousands of young people have been part of the millions who have marched in recent weeks against the murderous siege of Gaza by the Israeli state. Students and young people can play a key role in building the struggle for Palestinian liberation here in Scotland. That’s why we need to build our movement, organising protests locally to keep up the pressure on and expose all politicians who support war and cutbacks.”