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University offers authoritarianism in defense of corporate friends

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

Please see below for background details on the context of the action.

*******

Today, 10 February 2009, students from the major universities in
Halifax, as well as community onlookers got to see just to what
lengths the the Universities will go to defend their corporate
freinds. Deception and authoritarianism were the values that shined
through.

Deception

Today's Summer Job Fair co-organized by Dalhousie, St Mary's and Mount
St. Vincent Universities career services offices included Lockheed
Martin, the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian Security and
Intelligence Services. Out of those three, only Lockheed Martin, the
world's largest weapons manufacturer, was included in the list of
attendees provided by Career Services. It was expected that Lockheed
would draw protest (see below for details why), but it is likely that
prior knowledge of all of them would have drawn larger protests
overall. Career Services, which claims to encourage students to think
critically about recruiters didn't even want students to know about
all of the recruiters they would be facing, eliminating the
possibility of people doing some homework beforehand. It is clear who
career services is serving the interests of, not the future workers,
but the employers. The class lines are drawn thickly.

Authoritarianism

Outside, there was an introductory speech that was made up of the
communique below. Afterwards, some theatre ensued. The People's
Weapons Inspection Team intended to evaluate some of the questionable
participants inside. Hardhats, labcoats, safety googles and a lot of
sarcasm are the only things they came armed with. The team was NOT
allowed inside despite insistence by "Dr. Cluster Bomb", who was
outraged that he was not allowed to go in and do his job. The police
gave a stern warning to leave. They have no sense of humour at all. No
doubt though, the military industrial complex on the inside would have
been thoroughly embarrassed by Dr. Ms. Militia, Dr. Bomb and Dr.
Trident, who were no doubt going to fail them miserably.

The event organizers went to a lot of lengths to try and prevent any
dissent from getting inside. They instituted a lot of measures that
are not normal procedure for a summer job fair. There was a coat and
baggage check. Everyone had to show a valid student id, with only
students being allowed in. But that was just to get in the door.

There were several police inside and outside, in addition to several
security guards. At one point, some with student ids managed to get
some leaflets into the building, by hiding them amongst their clothes.
Eventually they started handing them around. It did not take long
before police violently forced them out FOR LEAFLETTING. One woman's
arm was twisted behind her back as she was being forced out. Another
was pushed into a wall. Keep in mind that these assaults were in order
to prevent any critical information against the recruiters from
getting out to the student attendees.

At another point, some other students snuck in a banner: "War
Profiteers Not Welcome". They unfurled it in front of the Lockheed --
Armed Forces -- CSIS section (the freinds of imperialism section?).
They did not last long. They were also violently pushed out.

Again, the point must be emphasized, the class lines were drawn
thickly. Those whose profits run with the blood of the most
downtrodden people in the world obviously made sure that the
university organizers would go to the greatest lengths to stop dissent
dead.

Shooting themselves in the foot

Interestingly, the show of force seemed to rub many students the wrong
way. The opponents seemed to only be trying to get out counter
information and be creative in their dissent. Several students seemed
to show some sympathy, and at least one actually got information from
us and went in to ask Lockheed some hard-hitting questions. Lots of
students seemed a little annoyed by the high security detail against
people who mainly had just information, nice banners and signs and
some wit.

It seemed like the universities' characters were drawn out more so
than they ever would have intended, as a result of their own actions.
They were seen for what they are: By corporations, for corporations,
fuck any students who stand in their way.

Efforts are underway to mobilize against the university's career
services centres and the universities themselves. Additionally student
unions will be called on to comdemn what happened. If they do not...

The struggle continues...

Asaf

*******

Feb 10th Comminique from SCAW members...

No Lockheed at the summer job fair! No Lockheed at Dalhousie! No
Lockheed in Halifax!

Lockheed Martin, the world's largest military contractor, is at the
centre of the most ethically morbid kind of business, where profits
are soaked in the blood of the most downtrodden people in the world,
from Iraq, to Afghanistan, to Palestine and so many other places where
civilian deaths are deemed little more than "collateral damage".

Today, February 10th, 2009, the Student Coalition Against War (SCAW),
several other student and community groups, as well as many other
allies will oppose the presence of Lockheed Martin at the Summer Job
Fair co-organized by Dalhousie University, St. Mary's and Mount St.
Vincent University. This is part of a larger, ongoing effort to
pressure the company out of its research affiliation with Dalhousie
and have Lockheed's software engineering facility in Dartmouth closed
down.

There are plenty of reasons to justify such actions, all grounded in a
desire to safeguard people from the most extreme form of corporate
violence: war profiteering.

We cannot stand idly by while a company operates in our midst that
produces such horrific weapons as depleted uranium bunker busters,
Trident nuclear missiles, cluster bombs and the F-16s that Israel
recently used to bombard Gaza.

Efforts are well underway to apply pressure against Dalhousie
University for its support of Lockheed Martin. A letter addressed to
Dalhousie University President, Dr. Tom Traves, which opposes Lockheed
Martin's presence at the summer job fair and the research affiliation
with Dalhousie, has been circulated to professors and student groups.
Endorsements are mounting, and will continue. The letter, as well as
similar efforts to gain further support, will help add more weight to
further actions that will challenge Lockheed's association with
Dalhousie.

The most significant of these associations is the $2 million research
contract between Dalhousie and Lockheed. This money "will help
Dalhousie carry out scientific research in quantum computing, physics
and material sciences" (MacLeans.ca, May 16, 2008). The same news
source went on to state that Lockheed will "have an option to licence
any intellectual property that arises from the research."

It is obvious what has taken place. Dalhousie simply gave into the
demands of a powerful corporation, granting it ridiculously favourable
terms. The company gets the benefit of facilities and services
subsidized by student tuition money and public funds, without all the
affected parties ever having a chance to say anything about it. The
research is being presented as benign research, removed from the
horrors of war. But, through such efforts as the present actions, the
smoke screen is clearing. All these research interests are so clearly
pieces of the overall research and development process needed to
facilitate the workings of Lockheed's weapons of mass destruction. The
dead bodies cannot be hidden.

The despicable character of Lockheed's weapons of mass destruction
have been well recognized internationally, which adds further weight
to the words in this communique. On 12, December 2008, the New Zealand
Herald reported that the New Zealand government's Super Fund (a $12
billion national pension program) would divest from all companies
involved in the production of cluster weapons and /or land mines, and
/ or nuclear weapons. Lockheed Martin was named as one of the
companies to be divested from on the grounds of its involvement with
cluster munitions system production and nuclear bomb testing.

Interestingly enough, on 3 December, 2008, the Canadian government
actually signed on to the UN Convention on Cluster Munitions, which
demands that signatories do not: (a) use cluster munitions; (b)
develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to
anyone, directly or indirectly, cluster munitions; or (c) assist,
encourage or induce anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a
State Party under this Convention.

So how is it, considering the words of this Convention, that any
activity by Lockheed Martin within the borders of the Canadian State
is considered legal? We are not naïve, and understand that the State
can choose to disregard treaties it is party to. That is the story
behind Canada's dealings with indigenous nations within its borders.
Regardless, under the ethical code of common decency and respect for
all peoples' rights, we will make Dalhousie University accountable to
the UN standard and beyond. The Lockheed facility in Dartmouth will be
challenged on the same basis.

It must be emphasized, that SCAW and its community allies are prepared
to do any and all hard work necessary to prevent our university from
being a friendly place for war profiteers. We welcome and embrace
survivors of war and conflict – not those who are responsible for its
facilitation. Those who make billions of dollars from the misery of
the most oppressed and downtrodden are not welcome on our campus or
anywhere else in our community.

We are sure that Dalhousie and Lockheed are entirely aware of the fact
that Lockheed Martin was driven out of an attempted recruitment effort
in Fredericton, NB on 20 January 2009. This was done with the effort
of the UNB-STU student group, Strax, and community allies. SCAW and
its community allies draw inspiration from these efforts and will
build on this movement. We will echo the call by Strax that any
corporation which profits from human misery should be banned from
campus associations immediately and permanently. Such an evaluation
must be done publicly and inclusively. Removal of Lockheed from campus
– and Halifax for that matter – is not the goal. The goal is
challenging the hold of corporate power on campus and in our
communities overall. This is hardly the beginning, but it is hardly
the end...

Student Coalition Against War
Scaw@riseup.net


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