England, Wales and Scotland section of International Socialist Alternative

Week 3: Reports from the encampments for Gaza

Across Britain, Socialist Alternative members have been hitting the campuses, building support and solidarity for the growing wave of university encampments. Students have for over two weeks now, following the example of their US siblings, been staging their protests.

Socialist Alternative members in Liverpool have been organising regular stalls, raising the need to build maximum solidarity with students, as part of a wider working-class movement for a permanent ceasefire, end to the occupation and the capitalist system behind it. 

Liverpool

These encampments have been demanding an end of Higher Education institutions’ ties to those companies directly involved in or complicit with the genocidal war on the Palestinian people, such as BAE, Leonardo and many others. We would add that it is also crucial to build links of solidarity with both Arab and Jewish anti-war, anti-occupation students at Israeli universities, where supporters of Socialist Struggle Movement (ISA in Israel-Palestine) have been organising.

Merseyside Socialist Alternative said: 

“So far, the response from many universities has been to try and sit the protests out. This shows the need to drastically escalate the movement, spreading them through leafletting and postering campaigns. The regular Palestine solidarity marches must march on the encampments to force the uni authorities to take notice!”

Leeds

In Leeds, Socialist Alternative members report: 

“The campers have faced threats from management and been hassled by security staff, many of whom are on zero-hour contracts. One resigned because of what he had been asked to do.”

They said further: 

“We visited the occupation after the Leeds May march and rally in the city where one of the students spoke. They appreciate the solidarity of, and the importance of making links with the workers’ movement.”

Manchester

Sam Morecroft, President of Sheffield TUC and a Socialist Alternative member said: 

“We have made several visits to the Sheffield Campus Coalition for Palestine camp and encouraged unions in the City to visit and donate supplies. We made the decision to ask the trade unionists who gathered to for our international workers day celebration rally to march to the camp with our banners as a show of solidarity. We had students from the camp speak at our May Day rally and are working to ensure the whole trade union movement in the city supports this protest. Students are rightfully showing solidarity with the people of Gaza who are suffering ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Israeli state, but also highlighting the University of Sheffield’s role in the supply of arms that are being used in this war.”

“It is really important now that we democratically discuss – both students and workers – how to take this movement to the next level. We need to be ultimately prepared to take action together.”

We say: 

  1. Divest university funds from state and private institutions linked to the brutal occupation.
  2. Students and workers – organise together! Unions should prepare strike action in coordination with student encampments
  3. Build towards a nationwide walkout and strike to shut down campuses across the Britain
  4. End the attacks on the students! Full amnesty for student protestors – no to repression!
  5. For solidarity with Arab and Jewish anti-war students at Israeli universities – build a movement against imperialism across the Middle East!
  6. End all British military support to Israel. We need a permanent ceasefire and an end to occupation and siege
  7. No to Sunak and Starmer. We need a new anti-war party for workers, students and all those resisting war and oppression
  8. For a socialist Palestine, for socialist change in Israel as part of a voluntary socialist federation of the Middle East
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