Friday, 10 October 2014

WTF: NUS calls solidarity with the Kurds "racist" and "Islamophobic"

The National Executive of the National Union of Students has rejected calls for solidarity with the Kurds. The following motion was rejected by the comrades of the usual anti-imperialist brigades, that is most of the student left.

Iraqi/Kurdish solidarity

Proposed: Daniel Cooper
Seconded: Shreya Paudel, Clifford Fleming

NUS NEC notes

1. The ongoing humanitarian crisis and sectarian polarisation in Iraq
- which has resulted in thousands of Yazidi Kurds being massacred.

NUS NEC believes

1. That the people of Iraq have suffered for years under the sectarian
and brutally repressive dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, the US/UK
invasion and occupation, the current sectarian regime linked to both
the US and Iran, and now the barbaric repression of the “Islamic
State” organisation.

2. That rape and other forms of sexual violence are being used as
weapons against women in IS-occupied areas, while minorities are being
ethnically cleansed.

NUS NEC resolves

1. To work with the International Students' Campaign to support Iraqi,
Syrian and other international students in the UK affected by this

2. To campaign in solidarity with the Iraqi people and in particular
support the hard-pressed student, workers' and women's organisations
against all the competing nationalist and religious-right forces.

3. To support Iraqis trying to bridge the Sunni-Shia divide to fight
for equality and democracy, including defence of the rights of the
Christian and Yazidi-Kurd minorities.

4. To condemn the IS and support the Kurdish forces fighting against
it, while expressing no confidence or trust in the US military

5. Encourage students to boycott anyone found to be funding the IS or
supplying them with goods, training, travel or soldiers.

6. To make contact with Iraqi and Kurdish organisations, in Iraq and
in the UK, in order to build solidarity and to support refugees.

7. To issue a statement on the above basis.

Whilst not entirely agreeing with all the points made in the motion, I would have though most of those on the left would have found it innocuous enough to support given the genocidal nature of ISIS and the very real threat to Kurdish and Christian lives but no, the NUS rejected it.

According to a report on the National Campaign against Fees and Cuts website the motion attracted ire:

The motion was opposed by Malia Bouattia, the NUS Black Students’ Officer, for astonishing and bewildering reasons. Bouattia argued that the motion was “Islamophobic” and “pro USA intervention”  (see tweet above)

As a result of the apparently truncated debate most NEC members voted against or abstained (the latter being very cowardly in my opinion).

The NCAFC continues:

The motion was partly written by a Kurdish student activist, and presented by the International students’ officer, Shreya Paudel. I have looked again and again at the contents of the motion, yet I cannot track any Islamophobia or racism......

In this situation, it is fundamental that the political Left, trade union and student organisations, like NUS, show our solidarity with the Iraqi people, in particular the hard-pressed student, workers and women’s organisations, and those fighting for democracy and equality.

However there is a rather telling comment towards the end which shows the bankruptcy of the politics conducted by the majority of the left these days:

...essentially the idea is widespread that if a Liberation Officer opposes something, it must be bad.

...perhaps because people see or claim to see debate on the Middle East as something that the BSO should somehow have veto power over, regardless of the issues and the arguments made.

Thoroughly disturbing thought. Frankly quite Stalinist and a threat in itself to the vitality of debate not just in the students movement but elsewhere too.

People need to learn to challenge, to think for themselves, to stand up for what they beleive in which is what I always thought higher education was for.

Sadly not in the National Union of Students.

If that's political correctness these days you can stuff it where the sun doesn't shine.

Hat/Tip: David T.


  1. My reaction to this visceral. Words fail me. Beyond disgusting.

  2. V An interesting view from an Irish anarchist Andrew Flood
    7 October at 11:13 · Dublin ·
    I wrote a fair bit about the question of calling for Western Intervention in the Libyan context a couple of years back (and explicitly said the lessons from there were liable to be very relevant to Syria).
    I've linked to the whole piece but towards the end I summarised it - I think the same summary applies to the Kobane situation
    "An anarchist approach to these questions needs to have a number of components
    1. An absolute political opposition to imperialism itself in either its military or economic forms and a rejection of the concept of humanitarian intervention from above.
    2. Defense of democratic republican movements in general
    3. Promotion and support for libertarian tendencies & currents within such movements
    4. An acceptance that the question of how much military support it is permissible for those in struggle to accept from imperialist powers is not an absolute but rather dependent on the nature of those movements and what they are sacrificing for such support. And at the end of the day while we may advise and critique it is the movements themselves that will make these judgment calls"
    Full article at My own view is similar to this and

  3. Bigotted and moronic wankers.