Defend Daniel Cooper! Defend the right to criticise war and militarism!

Defend Daniel Cooper! Defend the right to criticise war and militarism!

A statement from students’ union officers and student activists – please add your name

University of London Union Vice President Daniel Cooper has been attacked for declining to lay a wreath at the University of London Remembrance ceremony, because he is critical of the official Remembrance campaign. We are writing to defend activists’ and student union officers’ right to take such a stance.

Daniel violated no ULU policy or mandate, since ULU does not have policy on the issue of Remembrance.

This is a political issue, to do with why wars take place, who benefits from and suffers in them, and how society is organised. It
needs to be debated politically, not by hurling abuse. Whatever your view on these issues and on taking part in the official Remembrance campaign, it makes no sense to claim an anti-militarist stance like Daniel’s “disrespects” the dead. There is a tradition of showing respect for the dead by criticising war and fighting against the social and political system which generates it.

Daniel is critical of Remembrance because he believes it is used to glorify and justify Britain’s role in world politics, as well as the
treatment of British soldiers by the military command and establishment, going back hundreds of years, from British violence in Ireland to the First World War to Afghanistan today. It is perfectly legitimate to criticise these views, but it should be noted that there
a lot of hypocrisy involved at the highest levels: witness David Cameron remembering the dead shortly after returning from a tour of the Middle East to sell weapons to repressive regimes, and the resignation of the head of the Royal British Legion, John Kiszely, after he boasted about his links to arms companies.

We believe the campaign against Daniel will in no way benefit London students or the broader movement. Instead we need a rational discussion about the political issues involved.

Initial signatories include:
Vicki Baars, NUS Vice President, Union Development – Kelley Temple, NUS Women’s officer – Alex Peters Day, LSE SU General Secretary – Samson Osun, Goldsmiths SU President – Soren Gorad, Goldsmiths Campaigns Officer – Tama White, Goldsmiths Welfare and Diversity officer – Jamie Woodcock, NUS NEC – Faithais Yáñez , Birkbeck Students’ Union representative – Kristian Bruun, SOAS SU Academic Affairs Officer – Sidonie Bertand Shelton, Royal Holloway Equality and Liberation officers – Martha Gillespie, Royal Holloway Ethics and Environment officer – Kabir Joshi, SOAS SU Black Students’ Officer – Maham Hashmi, SOAS SU, NCAFC Black Students’ Officer – Abdul-Ahad Akbari, UCLU Student Activities Officer
– Sam Gaus,UCLU Democracy and Communications Officer – Edwin Clifford-Coupe, UCLU Education and Campaigns Officer – Georgie
Robertson, SOAS SU Campaigns Officer – Jenny Thatcher, UEL SU,  JAurora Adams, NUS Scotland
International Students’ Officer – Edward Bauer, NUS Trustee – Sean Farmelo, Birmingham Guild of Students – Mike Williams, NUS national executive – Simon Furse, Birmingham Guild of Students VP Education – James McAsh, Edinburgh University Students’ Association President – Naomi Beecroft, EUSA Students’ Association Women’s Liberation Officer
– Max Crema, EUSA VP Services – Roshni Joshi, NUS national executive and South Downs College – Shakira Falestine, University of East London SU – Edmund Schluessel, NUS International Students’ Campaign – Arianna Tassinari, NUS International Students’ Campaign – Abdi Suleiman, Sheffield University Union President – Luke Durigan, ULU Trustee – FathaisYanez, Birkbeck SU Anti-Racism Officer – Amarbeer Singh, Royal Holloway SU Societies Officer – Jamie Green, Royal Holloway SU VP
Communications and Campaigns – Esther Townsend, NCAFC Women’s Committee – Matthew Smith, Ruskin College SU – Jasmine Chohan, Courtauld SU – Chris Page, Cambridge University SU Welfare and Student Rights Officer, Selina Clarke, NUS Black Students Campaign.

To sign the statement or for more information, email edward.maltby@gmail.com

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