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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 March 2009

Cardiff student occupation: University divests from arms trade

Students set up Cardiff University Against the War when we discovered that the university had around 209,000 invested in arms companies such as BAE Systems and General Electric. These companies supply the Israeli armed forces.

From a protest in solidarity with the people of Gaza outside the student union we launched the occupation. Yahya Al Faifi, a Saudi asylum seeker and trade unionist who worked at BAE systems in Saudi Arabia, addressed the demo. We then filtered slowly into the main building and occupied the Shandon lecture theatre.

Meetings were organised to work out our demands. These included a complete divestment of all shares in all arms companies, specifically BAE Systems and General Electric; an ethical investment policy; at least five scholarships for Gazan students to come to Cardiff; supplies, such as old computers and books, to be sent over to Gaza. We also called on the university to issue a statement in defence of Yahya.

The vice chancellor told us to leave, but we stuck it out. On the second day we got a video link with Gazan students. The university tried to prevent this by disabling all network and internet connections in the lecture theatre, but eventually we got it working. The Gazan students hadn't been to school for four weeks. They all knew someone who had died. They sang a Palestinian song for us, and we sang the Internationale, a traditional song of workers' solidarity, back.

The occupation was advertised on Newport City Radio and we got messages of solidarity, including from Noam Chomsky. People donated food and water.

On the third day, we received an email confirming that the university had divested shares from BAE systems and most shares from General Electric. However, we were given an ultimatum to leave or to stay with no one being allowed in or out.

We wanted to go out on a high, so we decided to have a procession out of the university. We left all together shouting: "books, not bombs!" and "viva viva palestina!" While we didn't get everything we wanted, we scored some successes and agreed that this was only the beginning of the struggle.

Megan Beardsley-Price, Cardiff Socialist Students

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In The Socialist 4 March 2009:

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RBS pension scandal: Not a penny for these fat cats!

Hands off our post!

Stop Labour's mail sell-off


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Marx was right all along


Socialist Party feature

Has globalisation gone into reverse?

Our democratic rights under attack by Labour


Socialist Students

Anti-fees demo success - despite NUS leaders' obstructions

Cardiff student occupation: University divests from arms trade


Youth fight for jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs

The route


Construction workers

Construction workers plan more action

Message from strike leader


Socialist Party workplace news

Stop bullying at BT

Fight the cuts in Nottingham!

Sogefi workers demand strike

NUJ action

Cover supervisors: Teaching on the cheap

National Shop Stewards Network: Brighton launch meeting


Socialist Party women

International Women's Day 8 March: Don't make women pay for the bosses' crisis

Make all women's issues trade union issues

Solidarity with Constantina Kuneva


International socialist news and analysis

Ireland: Scrap the 'pension levy': Organise a one-day general strike

Kashmir: Health workers win demands


May Day

Support The Socialist on May Day this year


 

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Related links:

Arms:

triangleCall to arms by Southampton council unions

triangleTory and Trump hypocrisy over murder of Saudi Arabian journalist

triangleThem & Us

triangleNationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

triangleCaerphilly and RCT Socialist Party: How can we avoid a nuclear war?

University:

triangleStrikes: more determined than ever

triangleSixth-form college strikes: 'Sticking two fingers up at the Tories'

triangleResist attacks against free speech on campus

trianglePay and pension strike: university staff have had enough

Occupation:

triangleHarland and Wolff occupation

triangleHarland and Wolff occupation continues - renationalise to save the shipyard

triangleHarland and Wolff shipyard workers enter occupation

Cardiff:

triangleCardiff Socialist Party: Tories out! Corbyn in with socialist policies

triangleCardiff Socialist Party: Tribute to Tony Mulhearn

Students:

triangleClimate strikes: Students and trade unionists protest together

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