Update on the Goldsmith University Student Movement

Special Feature: Update on The Goldsmith University Student Movements

By Annabell Knapp

On May 29th, Goldsmiths For Palestine (G4P) occupied the Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), reclaiming it as the Liberated Zone at the CCA. This is now the third occupation that students, including myself, have started due to the lack of action by Goldsmiths Senior Management Team (SMT) to stand with Palestinians and call the genocide what it is, and showing that they have no genuine intention on fulfilling the commitments that have made to us on May 3rd. Goldsmiths SMT claims to be an anti-racist institution and likes to parade its radical campus around until they are asked to be anti-racist and radical themselves by their students and staff.

Throughout the past months of being a part of G4P, it has become clear to me that the same systems of power that work to maintain cycles of oppression are at play in the university system. I, along with other students, have experienced institutionalized violence through so-called negotiations with SMT. This has been jarring, and it shows that those in places of power have no care to support students or staff who fight for decolonization and anti-racism. This is clear when it came to negotiations working with them on a joint statement, where members of SMT continued to push back on full divestment and advocated for putting racist and Islamophobic wording into a statement. These negations and meetings with SMT throughout May made us reoccupy, as direct action is the only thing that incentivizes them to move towards our demands. Despite this, I have had a great time getting to know other people at my university who share the same core belief system as I do and work with them for a free Palestine. This part of organizing has been tremendous and crucial during the hard days.

Throughout the various occupations I have been involved in, one thing is valid. That students and staff can create a space with community at its core, and that systems of power forced upon the university system are harmful and used to separate us. These same systems of power are the ones that uphold the colonial Israeli regime and allow it to commit genocide against the people of Palestine. In these student-run spaces, we see a democratic form of education that wants to work to break down systems of oppression in all its forms. Working to break these systems of power in universities is the first step in trying to break them in our greater society. Students have the power to change the world, and we see this at hundreds of universities globally; the students will help bring a Free Palestine. Long live the student revolution!

Click here to sign the Goldsmiths student occupation letter.

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