Labour and Co-operative Member of
Parliament for Kemptown and Peacehaven

Stop the War meeting and Occupations

by Lloyd on 07.02.09
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Over the last few weeks, and going in to months now occupations about Gaza have been happening up and down the country. This amazing act of solidarity has seen almost 20 Universities occupied from Scotland to Brighton even spreading to New York.

The movement needed to come together – share ideas, and exchange views. That was what I thought Stop the War Coalition was hosting at their student meeting. Unfortunately that’s not what some of the StWC comrades thought – to them it had been billed as an event to build StW groups on campus on the back of occupations.

At some points of the meeting this confusion was used to hijack all occupations to create a national StW committee. Whether this confusion was deliberately instigated or was just due to the mix of people at the meeting I will (for the sake of argument) take the latter.

Due to a reluctance of some occupations to join this committee and a number of people calling for a further discussion of how we build from the occupations, Sussex comrades lead the call for a further meeting. This was to discuss further building of the occupations network (in a loose way) and to this end I agree so with other ENS comrades backed the calls and helped instage a discussion at the end of the Conference only for it to be later hijacked by Revo and other factions.

We meet at ULU (the University of London Union) to further discuss what to do next. However the issues got inflated and confusion entailed.

I realise that the StW needed to consolidate its own networks and if only this had became clear at the conference then maybe we would not have needed this further discussion. I fully support that every campus should have an active Stop the War Group, and in the understanding agree that they need a national body/ committee elected by branches – this however had not been clear.

By the end of the side meting at ULU, I don’t know if people were clearer or more confused by what had happened. Frustration as always at these meetings had grown and people wanted to
leave.

I have a lot of respect for comrades from all the divide. For example Rob Owen, although lambasted, often puts in valuable inputs, and although I disagree I think that without the factions in some sense we would be weaker.

With heat rising I don’t think that other appreciated these “inputs”and a few started walking out – factions trying to get their own way, the meeting ended with a understanding that some organising needs to come out of the occupations (the same situation that we were in at the start !)

If the meeting will motivate people to go back and mobilise, if the meeting means that people communicate on the email list and we get moment for a national day of action on Palestine then it would al be worth it – if not it was just another factional bitching session.

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Labour and Co-operative Member of
Parliament for Kemptown and Peacehaven

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