Global university without a global conscience

Just to let you know that I am now blogging against the arms trade on the New Statesman website :)))

They have just put my comment piece “Global university without a global conscience” up on their Campus Radicals blog.

It has attracted quite a few comments already and was nicely timed to go live just before the UCL Council tomorrow looks at the issue of an ethical investment policy. Hopefully the UCL Council will listen to the voices of over 1200 UCL students, staff and alumni and ditch the arms shares.

1,000 UCL students tell provost to ditch arms shares

UCL Provost Malcolm Grant was yesterday presented with a petition signed by over 1,000 UCL staff and students calling on him to sell UCL’s shares in an arms
company. The provost also received a hand-signed copy of a book by UCL alumnus Richard Wilson, in which he describes how his sister died as a result of the arms trade.

Richard Wilson, his book Titanic Express and famous UCL alumnus Gandhi

Richard Wilson is just one of the UCL graduates who has given his backing to
Disarm UCL, which calls for the College to divest from arms trader Cobham plc
and to adopt an ethical investment policy. Continue reading “1,000 UCL students tell provost to ditch arms shares”

Disarm UCL campaign going strong

It’s been a while since I last updated you guys on how things are going at the Disarm UCL campaign.

As you might know University College London (UCL) is currently the biggest university investor in the arms trade in the UK. Most UCL students, staff and alumni think this is a disgrace. I am one of them.

We had a meeting last night and it was good to see everyone so full of ideas and enthusiasm for the campaign so close to the end of the academic year.

Despite the fact that most of us are coping with very stressful exams and essay deadlines the campaign is still going strong. We have a new alumni coordinator who got 30 UCL alumni to write to the UCL Provost to tell him to ditch the arms shares via pledgebank. Well done, Dan! And thanks to everyone who wrote letters.
Continue reading “Disarm UCL campaign going strong”

Protest at BAE Systems AGM

Just came back from the CAAT protest at the BAE Systems AGM. It was a great success. Before the start of the AGM we gathered in front of the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster.

Some protesters had prepared a stunt: One of us dressed up as a judge. Two others were dressed up as Tony Blair and as BAE Systems CEO Mike Turner. They grabbed the judge and gagged him.

Tony Blair and Mike Turner silence a judge

The stunt was very popular with the media. There were loads of photographers taking pictures. Our stunt was also really popular with the tourists on their way to Big Ben. Continue reading “Protest at BAE Systems AGM”

Blogging the experience of gentle protest

Apologies if this info comes a bit late but here it is anyway:

Richard Smith, chief executive of United Health Europe has blogged about his experience inside the Reed Elsevier AGM and about what he calls a “gentle mornings protesting”.
Read the blog entry here

For those who are new here: Reed Elsevier is a global publishing company, which runs arms fairs on the side. We protested outside their AGM two weeks ago.

Read more about the campaign

BAE spies with their (…) eyes

I used to live, for several years, in Eastern Europe. I have since resigned myself to the fact that there probably is a nice little folder with my name on it somewhere in the Belarussian KGB archives documenting most of my life (where I went, conversations I had etc.) in Minsk. It’s a chilling thought.

What had I done to deserve being spied on? I worked as a volunteer with people with disabilities. How subversive! I always tried to shrug being spied on off as something you get when you live in a country which is under authoritarian rule. As Belarus wasn’t “my country” I could always leave if I didn’t like the spy-thing.

Well – I have left. I am back in “my country” and here I am worried that I was being spied on again. BAE Systems have previously used agents to obtain all sorts of personal and confidential information on CAAT staff and supporters. This time round Paul Mercer of LigneDeux Associates, who was hired by BAE systems has received a confidential CAAT e-mail and passed it on to BAE systems.
Continue reading “BAE spies with their (…) eyes”

Clubbing, Chilling and Campaigning

Isabel and I went to the Synergy Project last night. It was great fun! We took my friend Larissa from Ukraine along who is visiting at the moment. She said she had never seen so many alternative-looking people in one place. At the moment she is still in bed recovering from sub-culture shock :).

We set up the CAAT stall quite nicely. Here it is:
CAAT stall at the Synergy Project

People were really chilled and friendly and it was great chatting to them about CAAT’s work. We handed out flyers about our BAE Systems AGM protest on 9 May and about the Reed Elsevier campaign (this is the publishing house which besides academic publishing likes to run arms fairs). Our FREE CAAT badges were really popular with people.

I loved the atmosphere and the conversations. One nice guy told me he’s just been to see Landscape with Weapon at the NT and apparently it’s great. So I thought I’d share this with you.

The rest of the night was dancing…

UCL UNION votes to support the Disarm UCL campaign !

Hey,
I’ve been so busy lately that I forgot to tell you about this really cool campaigning success we had at Disarm UCL last week:

Quick reminder: we are campaigning to get UCL to sell its disgraceful 1.5 million pounds worth of arms shares. We tried to get UCL Union support on this. And now we’ve got it 🙂

We presented our motion for ethical investment at the UCL Union Council meeting and they voted overwhelmingly in favour of our motion ! The motion states that the Union will fully support our campaign to get UCL to divest its’ shares in arms companies Cobham plc and Smiths Group. Read the details here.

This is fantastic news for us. Continue reading “UCL UNION votes to support the Disarm UCL campaign !”