A number of students from the ‘Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Action’ campaign have occupied the Deptford Town Hall campus building since 12 March in protest at the pitiful response from university management and the student union leadership at the racist abuse of a candidate in the recent student officer election.
Hamna Imran had her posters ripped apart, with racist graffiti smeared across them. Senior management at Goldsmiths have not taken any action since, and have denied access to CCTV footage of this incident. The student union has also been completely silent.
Students began to occupy the building at around 5PM on the 12th, in protest against systemic racism at Goldsmiths, in addition to taking up the demands of precarious cleaners and outsourced security staff.
Within an hour, the building was locked down by management. No more students were allowed in, and neither were food or supplies. Subsequently, the fire exits were padlocked to prevent anyone getting in or out.
That night, members of the Goldsmiths Marxist Society spoke with two representatives of university estates leaving Deptford Town Hall, who confirmed the fire escapes were padlocked, and that a security guard would be present (working overtime) to let the occupiers out “in the event of a fire”.
This is both illegal, and completely scandalous. It places students and workers in danger as punishment for peaceful and legitimate protest against racism.
We send our solidarity to the student occupiers, state our support for their demands, and call on the IWGB (who are organising security guards in their back-in-house campaign) to refuse to comply with the students’ victimisation at the bosses’ hands.
We further call on all progressive students and workers’ organisations, including Goldsmiths Labour and local Labour and Momentum groups, to send their solidarity, contact Goldsmiths to apply pressure, and organise protests in solidarity with the occupiers. We also call on the student union to take a proactive role in protecting marginalised students’ interests rather than joining the bosses’ wall of silence.
The occupiers have since agreed not to occupy the main university buildings in exchange for the right to come and go at Deptford Hall. But in our view, for this action to be successful beyond being merely symbolic, students must not place limitations on themselves. Instead, they should expand and reach out to the wider layers of students and workers with the aim of disrupting university life. This kind of action must be built for in collaboration with workers’ campaigns on campus.
Only student and worker solidarity can counter racism at Goldsmiths. Unite and fight!
Goldsmiths Marxist society