Sunday, September 27, 2009

Setbacks and Campaign Building

Over the summer a motion for an ethical investment policy was rejected by the University Council on the grounds that it was 'impractical', and our good friends in management used this as an excuse to go back on their agreement not to invest in arms companies. This is an outrage, and Cardiff Students Against War is mobilising to push for an ethical investment policy over the coming year. There will be a public meeting soon on the subject of ethical investment, and how to expand and escalate our antiwar campaigning over the coming year.

Exciting times! Now it's time to step up and get active. We made some real progress last year with the occupation - we rattled the management of a serious university - but now we need to build support for our campaign, and build a mass movement on campus for ethical investment.

The time has come to make real change at this university.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Latest

Hey there,

Well, the public meeting was a success, and it was great to see so many fresh faces debating the issue with the big names. I certainly learned a lot; every time Andy and Becky speak about their experiences volunteering in the West Bank with ISM I always feel a terrified, disgusted yet determined urge to go out there. Chris Nineham from Stop the War Coalition was also a powerful voice, urging and inspiring activists to take charge of their movement for peace around the world. Dr Marcello Svirsky expressed his support for our campaign, adding that it was very hard for him to see his native Israel behaving in the way it does. And the letter from Gaza read by Leanne Wood AM, which attempted to describe the extent of the devastation after the Israeli bombing, left the room stunned.

The next event CSAW recommends for everyone is the Debating Society event on Friday:


Friday 20th March 09,
Julian Hodge lecture theatre,
Colum Drive (Just off Colum Rd) CF10 3EU.

"At least in spirit, British foreign policy is dictated by the will of the people. This means being heard is paramount and expression of one’s concerns and beliefs has never been more important. However, how we express our concerns and beliefs has never been so chaotic. We hear a great deal of emotionally charged, shouting and chanting but we no longer get to take part in discussion and debate and without understanding the merits of each other’s opinions a peaceful solution cannot be created here let alone be applied in the Middle East."


Jenny Willot MP – Social activist and Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central.

Douglas Murray - Neocon Author, member of the European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, former director of the Centre for Social Cohesion in Westminster, London & support of Israeli right to defence.

Dr. Abdalla Yassin – Social activist and Chair of the Muslim Council of Wales.

Dr. Chris Norris – Distinguished Research Professor in Philosophy, An out spoken critic of the Israeli occupation in Gaza and leading literary critic.

Rhydian Morgan – Opinion writer, public speaker and Expert on international politics and law.

Willard Foxton – Barrister, novelist, and documentary producer for the BBC.

Andrew Fitch – legendary speaker and the debating community’s most influential judge.

Matthew Clarke – reigning debate champion of Wales, and larger than life orator on social justice, medicine & Ireland.

Julie Morgan – Labour MP for Cardiff North.

The organisers promise a fully interactive debate whereby people from the floor can make themselves heard. Therefore it is really important that we get a strong pro-Gaza contingent down to the event to argue that the reality of life for Palestinians is unbearable and should be unacceptable for the international community. The British government made token noises of condemnation during Israel's blitzkrieg in January, and then sent warships to join the naval blockade of Gaza, effectively helping Israel ensure that this marginalised, impoverished civilian population, who had just endured 22 days of assault from the land, sea and air, were still blockaded in their strip of land without adequate access to aid.

Anyway. Cardiff Students Against War is going to be relatively quiet for a couple of weeks as we all have essays and dissertations to finish in barely adequate periods of time. But stay tuned! We plan to be highly active next term, and plans are already underway for film screenings, and a benefit gig that looks set to be a corker!

If you want to do something RIGHT NOW we would greatly appreciate it if you could send Cardiff Uni Vice Chancellor Dr David Grant an email in support of scholarships for Gazan students. A template email is below; just copy it, paste it into a new email, edit what you like and add your name to the end, then send it to The more you can personalise it the more impact it's going to have, so feel free to let Dr Grant know some of the realities of the situation in Palestine, but remember to keep it polite.

Dear Dr David Grant,

I am writing in support of a student campaign to provide 5 one year scholarships to students from conflict areas, with some reserved for Palestinian students.

I believe that through its investments in the arms trade, Cardiff University was complicit in providing the weapons which have destroyed the lifes of so many Palestinians, and the bombing of schools and universities in Gaza has undermined the universal right to education. Therefore we as a university community have a duty to provide students from Gaza with access to education.

A Gaza awareness meeting was held last week which was well attended and very supportive of this campaign.

I ask you to reconsider your previous decision not to provide scholarships and provide real material aid to those affected by the terrible attacks on Gaza.

I look forward to your reply.

Yours Sincerely,

That's all for now, stay tuned for our up and coming events!



Sunday, March 8, 2009


7pm Wednesday 11 March,
Law Building room 0.22,
Cardiff University,
Park Place.

A public meeting on Gaza, the right to education and the continuing struggle for Palestinian human rights. Come and find out more about the issue of Gaza, and what you can do to help. Featuring renowned guest speakers including:

Dr MARCELO SVIRSKY, Cardiff University, a scholar & activist on Jewish-Arab relations in Israel.

LEANNE WOOD AM, South Wales Central.

CHRIS NINEHAM, Stop the the War Coalition.

Prof. CHRISTOPHER NORRIS, School of Philosophy, Cardiff University.

JENNY WILLOTT MP, Cardiff Central.

There will also be a panel of students from the occupation, and plenty of time for open discussion from the floor.

Free admission. All welcome =)

Friday, February 27, 2009

More Photos of Cardiff occupation end

Exiting the Shandon Lecture Theatre - our home over the previous few days

Procession from the Shandon Lecture Theatre

Final rally held outside the union to applause from other students

Emerging into sunlight

Photos of the End of the Occupation

Leanne Wood, Plaid Cuymru AM, visits the occupation

Emerging from the main building carrying a coffin with pictures of some
of the victims of Israeli violence

Cardiff Divests, Occupation wins :-)

Occupation Film

A link to a short film on the Cardiff Occupation:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Occupation 1 - 0 University

-- VICTORY!! --

Cardiff Students Against War is ENDING OUR OCCUPATION of the Large Shandon lecture theatre, Cardiff University Main Building! We're about to leave, march around campus to declare our victory, and make our continued presence known to the university community. Banners and megaphones, BOOKS not BOMBS!

Following the open letter to Vice Chancellor David Grant, the BOOKS not BOMBS demonstration outside the Student Union and the subsequent occupation of the Large Shandon, Cardiff University has divested all shares from BAe Systems and the aerospace arm of General Electric! They have instructed their external fund managers to avoid future investments in the arms trade, and have promised to raise the issue of an ethical investment policy at the next Council Meeting on May 18th. They are also willing to discuss the provision of surplus computers and resources to institutions in Gaza.

The victory comes after three days of occupation which has been inundated with messages of support from all over the country, as well as further afield. This has included university staff, students and societies, local Plaid Cymru politicians and groups, activist groups such as CND Cymu, No Borders South Wales and South Wales Anarchists, and has had extensive press coverage, from the local papers and student publications to Indymedia and the BBC. We are extremely proud to have received a message of solidarity from Noam Chomsky!

We see this as the beginning, not the end. The occupation has attracted considerable interest and support from the Cardiff University community, and has succeeded in raising awareness of the effects of the arms trade and the horrific situation in Gaza. Cardiff Students Against War will continue to campaign on these issues, and to make sure that the university doesn't go back on its promises.

So well done to everyone who has been involved!!

But it's not over yet. The campaign will continue because we believe that Cardiff Uni should be doing more for Gaza, such as facilitating scholarships to Gazan students and boycotting Israeli products in protest at the treatment of Palestinians by the IDF, and the settlers occupying the West Bank.


Pen & Wig 7.30!!

Lets all go for a drink to discuss what we've got, where we want to take the campaign, unwind after several fraught days and generally get a little bit pissed :)

Next CSAW Meeting!!
Bute Cafe 5.30

We need to seriously discuss our next step. The occupation was a great experience, made highly significant progress on its aims and succeeded in bringing this issue to light. But it ain't over yet, there are still 1.4 million people trapped in Gaza with no homes, very little food, no access to work, and, according to the Gazan students we talked to last night, continued Israeli aggression despite the ceasefire. We want the university to facilitate scholarships for Gazan students, a boycott of Israeli products in uni shops, an official day of action and definite fundraising activities to ease the humanitarian situation there.

So if you take anything from this email, it should be that THE BATTLE IS WON, BUT THIS WAR AGAINST WAR MUST CONTINUE!!

In peace, solidarity and love,

Dan Drummond
Cardiff Students Against War
Victory for Cardiff Student Occupiers!

The occupation of Cardiff University has ended with success as Cardiff University acceded to the occupiers’ key demand – to divest from the arms trade. Cardiff University have given students written confirmation that they have divested from the arms trade and have instructed fund managers not to reinvest.

The occupation will end at 4pm today with the mass of students walking out together waving occupation banners and chanting ‘Free, Free, Palestine’. They then held a ‘Books not Bombs’ rally as they marched around campus declaring their success.

The victory comes after three days of occupation which has made students across the campus aware of the £209, 000 worth of shares which, until yesterday, Cardiff University held in the arms trade. This included BAE Systems and General Electric who supplied Israel with weapons used in the recent attacks on Gaza.

The Cardiff Occupation, organised by Cardiff Students Against War, was in opposition to the University’s investment in the arms trade and to the atrocities committed in Gaza, where 1.4 million Palestinians are blockaded in a semi-autonomous apartheid state.

The occupation has been inundated with messages of support including most notably one from Noam Chomsky:

I am very pleased to learn about the courageous and honourable actions of the Cardiff University students. These are particularly significant because of Britain's role in arms sales generally, and it's contribution to the savage onslaught on Gaza and on the occupied territories generally, second only to the decisive role of the United States -- a disgrace for all of us. I hope you have the greatest success in arousing public opinion and bringing these crimes to an end.
The action at Cardiff is the twenty-eighth UK student occupation to have taken place in the last few weeks. This unprecedented wave of student dissent has seen many university’s capitulating to demands. The Cardiff activists hope their success will inspire other students to hold occupations on their own campuses.

Arla Gramper, 22, who took part in the occupation said: "Our success here at the occupation is a great realisation of what can be achived by direct action. It’s a starting point upon which we plan to build larger, wider reaching campaign to engage many more people in the debate and lobby the university.”

The actions don't end here and Cardiff Students Against War will continue to campaign to ensure the University cements its promise not to reinvest by putting it in policy and to fight against the deportation of Saudi ex-BAE trade unionist Yahya Al Faifi.

Love and Rage,
Cardiff Students Against War


We have a big decision to make.

The university says it has divested from BAe Systems and the aerospace arm of General Electric, and has 'asked its external fund managers not to invest in these areas in the future'. This is a massive gain for Cardiff Students Against War, but this only came to us in an email from Louise Casella, the Strategic Development Director, with whom we have been in negotiations. In reality it might mean little unless it is presented to us on university letterheaded paper, signed by someone important. Furthermore there are still many demands left unanswered. Either way, this isn't the end and we are looking to step up our lobbying, petitioning and awareness-raising activities whether or not the occupation continues.

We're having a debate at 1.00 about whether / how to end the occupation on this victory, so we need EVERYONE involved in the campaign to come down and thrash this out.

Large Shandon lecture theatre.
Main Building.

Stay tuned for developments.

CSAW out.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Message From Chomsky! Live Linkup! Yahya Speaks!

Hey all,

Cardiff Students Against War has just received a message of support from the legendary Noam Chomsky!!

I am very pleased to learn about the courageous and honorable actions of the Cardiff University students. These are particularly significant because of the Britain's role in arms sales generally, and it's contribution to the savage onslaught on Gaza and on the occupied territories generally, second only to the decisive role of the United States -- a disgrace for all of us. I hope you have the greatest success in arousing public opinion and bringing these crimes to an end.

Noam Chomsky

Obviously this is a massive boost to our morale after a rough first night on the cold, hard lecture theatre steps. Thank you Noam!

2.00 Wednesday (today),
Large Shandon Lecture Theatre,
Cardiff University Main Building,
Park Place.

Today at 2.00 the occupation will be hosting a live video link with students in Gaza, organised by Islamic Society. Any technical problems notwithstanding, we will be able to express our support and solidarity face to face with our Palestinian brothers and sisters for whom a different, harsh and negative kind of occupation is an everyday reality. Everyone is welcome to come along, although non-students please email before arriving as security are IDing students on entry and asking for a guest list of non-students. Bear in mind though that we have assurances no-one is to be penalised for attending the occupation, and that security will not attempt to identify you. Cover the name on your uni ID with your finger if you like!


Large Shandon Lecture Theatre.

Saudi trade unionist Yahya Al-Faifi will be speaking about his experiences working for BAE Systems in Saudi Arabia. Yahya is currently fighting deportation from the UK; if sent back to Saudi Arabia he faces imprisonment, torture and possible death for his socialist connections and trade union activities. His family will be uprooted, his children will have to break off their education and obviously they will all face the trauma of their husband and father being harassed by the Saudi state. Please come along and hear him speak, to add weight to our demand that Cardiff University issue a statement in support of his campaign to stay in Britain.

That's all for now folks! Stay tuned for more news and events in and around the occupation.

In solidarity, peace and respect,

Cardiff Students Against War

Photos of the First Night

Dinner, cake and discussions from last night

Occupation Day Two

Spirits are high as day two of the occupation begins. Sleep was a little fragmented last night with lights mysteriously turning themselves on. Everyone was well fed and watered though with curry and a particularly beautiful Disarm Cardiff cake.

Today we have a busy line-up of teach-ins with Cardiff Uni lecturers coming along to show solidarity as well as a lot of debating and knowledge sharing amongst each other.

At 2pm we have a live link-up with students from Gaza, everyone’s welcome along so please get yourselves down to the Shandon Lecture Theatre, main building.

Lots of messages of support came in overnight – including from several other student occupations – Sheffield Hallam, St Andrew Sussex and Queen Mary’s. Media coverage has spread as far afield as Russia and Croatia, but the local media has also given us attention with students being interviewed live on local radio last night.

What can you do? If you’re a student at Cardiff Uni please come and join the occupation, the Shandon Lecture theatre is a great place to be right now so it’s definitely worth coming along even if only for a few hours. If you’re not a student pop down to say hello and any food or drink donations would be very welcome.

Email messages of support to and make sure to CC in David Grant, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff Uni via PA: (please be polite :).

Hope to see lots of you in the Shandon lecture Theatre, Main Building – we’ll be here for a while :-)

Love and rage,

the Cardiff occupiers

Tuesday, February 24, 2009



Dear all,

First, a massive thank you to everyone who has been involved in Disarm Cardiff University up to this point. Cardiff Students Against War are now occupying the Shandon Large Lecture in the Main Building! There have already been preliminary negotiations with Director of Strategic Development Louise Casella who has guaranteed that no repercussions will be taken against students and staff for taking part in the occupation, so anyone who wants to find out more or get involved please feel free to pay us a visit (however long) :D Non-students are also welcome but strictly as guests.

We have already received many messages of support from individuals and institutions, including statements from: Alan Thomson of UNISON Ymlaen Branch; Leanne Wood AC/AM (Plaid Cymru); Anne Greagsby (from the campaign against military training at St Athan); CND Cyrmu; and John Rees, co-founder of Stop the War Coalition. Thank you all so much for your solidarity with our action and our message!

The demonstration earlier outside the Student Union was a big success and generated widespread support and interest from passing students, staff and strangers, many of whom joined in spontaneously. Rest assured that Cardiff Students Against War will be organising all manner of events in and around the occupation. Expect teach-ins, guest lecturers, live music and hosting of the live video linkup with Gazan students, organised by Federation of Student Islamic Societies. We are aiming to create a positive, fun educational space dedicated to raising awareness of the effects of the arms trade, and the dire situation in Gaza.

Our demands to the university are as follows:

  1. No repercussions for students involved in the occupation. (This demand has been met).
  1. Cardiff University to divest all shares, direct or indirect, from arms manufacturers and aerospace companies.
  1. Cardiff University to adopt an ethical investment policy that excludes the arms trade. This process is to be mediated by external ethical auditors based on responses of Cardiff University students and staff. The ethical investment policy to be freely available to all students and staff.
  1. Cardiff University to be twinned with a Gazan university, to show support for the Gazan people at this desperate time.

The twinning is to involve:

a) Scholarships for at least 5 Gazan students to study in Cardiff, and for Cardiff University to help facilitate their travel.

b) Surplus books, computers and other educational materials to be sent to the twinned university.

  1. Cardiff University to release a statement in condemnation of Israel's bombing and the blockade of Gaza, and in condemnation of the UK government's use of British armed forces as part of this blockade.
  1. An official day of solidarity with Gaza supported by Cardiff University.
  1. Cardiff University to issue a statement of support for Saudi ex-BAE trade unionist Yahya Al Faifi, who is currently fighting deportation from the UK.
  2. No Israeli products to be sold in university shops.
  1. Cardiff University to actively promote the Disaster Emergency Committee appeal for Gaza, including a banner on the website, and to issue a statement condemning the BBC and Sky News for not running the DEC Gaza appeal advert.

What you can do:

  • SHOW YOUR SUPPORT - The more support the occupation generates, the more weight is added to our demands. You can show your support by demonstrating in solidarity with us, by bringing us vegan food, popping us a nice email, and by emailing Cardiff University Vice Chancellor Dr David Grant urging him to give more serious consideration to our demands. Email: If you are a member of a trade union or any campaigning group or institution, we would appreciate whatever support you can generate.
  • RAISE AND DONATE MONEY - The DEC aid appeal for Gaza is ongoing; every contribution matters so please give what you can:
  • JOIN OUR STREET TEAM - Leaflet for us etc. The street team meets at 12.00 every day in the Bute cafe, Bute Building, or if you want to get involved earlier give Jonny a call on: 07506715619.
  • ORGANISE YOUR OWN OCCUPATION - 28 UK universities have now gone into occupation over these general issues. The more academic institutions that occupy, the more weight is added to our growing campaign. So go for it!
Contact Details:

Alys: 07970311943
Jonny (Street Team): 07506715619
Facebook: Cardiff Students Against War

Peace, love, resistence.


First Photos of Cardiff Occupation

Cardiff Students Occupy University for Gaza

Cardiff Students Against War: Disarm Cardiff

Cardiff Students Occupy University for Gaza

Tuesday 24th February 12pm
Photos available on request
Contact 07801140192

Today Cardiff University students demanded their university immediately divest from the arms trade, by occupying the main building on campus. Students are currently locked in the Shandon lecture theatre and are refusing to leave until the university responds to their demands.

Cardiff University invests in companies that supplied Israel with weapons used in the recent attacks on Gaza. The occupation is in opposition to the University’s investment in the arms trade and to the atrocities committed in Gaza, where 1.4 million Palestinians are blockaded in a semi-autonomous apartheid state.

The occupation, the first of its kind in Wales, followed a Books not Bombs protest at midday where students brought along a book to signify their support for education, not war. Israel’s indiscriminate targeting of civilians has seen human rights abuses on a vast scale and many schools and universities there reduced to rubble. The students currently occupying are acting in solidarity with those whose education has been jeopardised by the crisis.

A student who is currently occupying the university said:

"I am ashamed that Cardiff University is helping fund the horrific violence in Gaza the consequence of which is the obliteration of education infrastructure in another, poorer part of the world. I don’t want the money I pay for my education contributing to the destruction of someone else’s. Our thoughts from the occupation are with the people of Gaza, who have lost so much.”

The action at Cardiff is the twenty-eighth UK student occupation to have taken place in the last few weeks. This unprecedented wave of student dissent has seen many universities capitulate to occupier’s demands and review their investments in arms companies.


Notes for Editors

1. If you would like to visit the occupation, further quotes of information please call 07801140192 to speak to students inside the occupation. Photos available on request.

2. For more details visit the Cardiff University occupation blog:

3. Cardiff University has £209,000 invested in the arms trade including investments in BAE systems and General Electric. Both of these companies supplied Israel with weapons which have continually been used in attacks on and the siege of Gaza.

4. The Occupation demands include:
* Cardiff University to divest all shares from arms manufacturers and aerospace companies.

* Cardiff University to be twinned with a Gazan university, to show support for the Gazan people at this desperate time:
The twinning is to involve:
a) Scholarships for at least 5 Gazan students to study in Cardiff
b) Surplus books, computers and other education materials to be sent to the twinned university.

5. Israel’s attacks on Gaza have led to the deaths of over 1400 Palestinians, including over 400 children, and the injuring of over 5500. It is now believed that humanitarian and war crimes may have taken place including the indiscriminate targeting of civilians (including the bombing academic institutions), the obstruction and targeting of emergency medical staff and the use of white phosphorus as a weapon.
See the Disasters Emergency Committee website;

6. The UK arms industry exports billions of pounds worth of weapons every year, many of these to regimes with poor human rights records, to areas of conflict or to countries with huge development needs. The arms trade fuels war and undermines development, including education infrastructure.

7. The Disarm Cardiff campaign is a run by Cardiff Students Against War and is campaigning for University divestment from the arms trade. Students at Cardiff have been campaigning for divestment for three years.