In our report on Saturday’s demonstration, we urged students to occupy university buildings. A leaflet which some of us helped to distribute also called for university occupations. With demonstrations outside the embassy dwindling, and the PSC seeking to demobilise the movement with their latest (sexist) call for a “women’s and children’s march” following another mind-numbing rally at Trafalgar Square, occupations are vital to take the movement to the next level.
Students at SOAS have already occupied, and the university has agreed to grant several of their demands (including banning the military from campus, and allowing the student union to run a series of events for Gaza there during the week). Tonight LSE students have embarked upon their own occupation. We need to support these! Get down if you possibly can, student or not, and help to make every occupation a centre of discussion and organisation! Find more about the occupations here:
These occupations pose a question of social power – i.e. who runs the institutions that make up society – and doing so while raising the banner of Gaza. Street mobilisations alone will burn us out without posing these questions of power, and leave us with no alternative centres of organisation apart from the PSC and the STWC which are already trying to demobilise the movement. Isolated actions – such as the disruption of BICOM on Tuesday morning – are broadly positive, but don’t provide an organisational centre to counter the national NGOs, and don’t do anything to link the situation in Gaza to broader questions of politics and power. Occupations can also be centres of learning and organising, they are exactly what needs to happen. Their potential will be defined by the number of people who attend and commit to them.
If you are at another university, consider organising your own occupation. We also need to think about how these occupations can become a space, not only for students, but for the broader community of activists and demonstrators who have taken action over the past two weeks.