Whilst universities often have existing pro-Palestine groups to organise protests, fundraising and occupations, the same cannot be said of many schools and colleges across the UK. But starting a group to support the people of Gaza is not as difficult as you may think. Josh from Manchester explains how to go about it.
Across Britain and the world hundreds of thousands are standing up and taking action in support of the people of Palestine and against eh racist Israeli state. Millions more have been angered by the recent attacks but don’t know what they can do. Here’s Revo’s guide on how to get a campaign around Gaza going in your school, college, uni or area. The brutality and mistreatment meted out by Israel against the Palestinians didn’t begin and won’t end with the latest set of attacks and actions started now against the atrocities being committed in Gaza can be a springboard to a more sustained campaign in solidarity with Palestine.
The first step to launching any action or campaign is to get talking to other people around you. Set up a meeting with other people who want to do something for Palestine, these might either be friends you’ve talked about it with or groups that already exist around similar issues that you can approach. Find a suitable venue, set a date and get as many people as you can there.
At the meeting try and get an action planned as well as a plan to let as many people know about it as you can. This will mean making leaflets, posters and a facebook group about it. Try and get different people to volunteer to take up different jobs. Use other people’s skills and be creative.
Try and get an email list together of all the people who want to get involved. This will enable you to contact each other with ideas and upcoming activities and keep in touch about future events.
Big demonstrations can make a big show of strength and solidarity locally, regionally or nationally. If you want one in your area you should approach existing campaigns, organisations and trade unions to put together a plan for a date, route and timetable to mobilise. Big national demonstrations can also be a good way to bring together a group in mobilising and get new people involved. If you hear about a national demonstration try to organise transport down an get people to come along.
Big demonstrations aren’t the only way to make a splash and get people involved. Stunts can involve smaller numbers of people but still get a lot of attention and raise awareness. You could make a pro-Palestine banner and hang it somewhere prominent, make a mock-Israeli checkpoint, build a false Apartheid wall on the high street or picket shops that support Israel.
One of the most effective forms of protest is an occupation. There have already been occupations at Essex University, London School of Economics and the School for Oriental and African Studies. An occupation at your college, university or high street could make up part of the series that is gathering through the country.
If you want to have an occupation the most important thing to do is to get people involved. Regular organising meetings that bring people in are essential. Try to make a set of demands for your occupation to be around (e.g. that your college/uni boycotts Israeli goods, produces a statement condemning Israel or severs investments with Israeli companies). Pick a building to target that’s easy to get a lot of people into and stay in. then, when you’re occupying make sure that you get in touch with local press and try to produce a statement from the people occupying that can be sent to people in Palestine expressing your solidarity and explaining your action.
But don’t let the occupation be the end of it. Use the space, time and people you have there to have meetings about how you’re going to campaign for Palestine in the future. Through organising strong local groups and taking action we can build a sustained movement against the Israeli occupation.