Proposals to SocSoc meeting 27 February 1970

This paper was presented at the SocSoc meeting today.

PROPOSALS TO SOCSOC MEETING   FRIDAY  27 Feb 1970

Preamble

It would seem that Soc Soc once again has been overwhelmed by the course of events rather than vice versa: as fast as we have analysed, categorised, and rationalised one development another has come along and rendered it all so much time wasted.

We must regain the initiative and with it the ability to plan in advance a coherent campaign of action. Examine the following demands

  1. Lord Salisbury’s resignation.
  2. Public dissociation from his views.
  3. Information on investments.
  4. Recognition of Committee of 6.
  5. Alteration of ordinances etc. (and possibly by the time this is discussed):
  6. Student representation on ‘joint committee’.
  7. Some claim concerning Warwick files.
  8. Let the V-C come and speak to the students.

Now where is this constant pestering of the University getting us, and how do these demands fit into the general plan of SocSoc? Obviously they don’t fit at all for two reasons:

a) The demands are not contingent one upon the other.

b) There is no general plan.

However, whether we like it or not these demands and their references have become issues and to a large extent we are behoven to work within them.
It would appear unsatisfactory to drop some demands and to work with just a few.
It would be a complicated and clumsy campaign that attempted to carryall these demands whilst seeking to keep their limits clearly defined (eg, Monday – Senate picket – Racism; Tuesday – Senate picket – Warwick files-etc, etc.)
The obvious need is some way to synthesize these demands into one campaign. Now it is not difficult to see that their common denominator is the University administration.  However, if we are just interested in presenting demands to Senate then we may just as well write then all down on a card and pop them in the post  (which is effectively what we have been doing to date).  And yet if our demands are to be a means to something else then there is a neatness and flexibility about an open-ended campaign in that it could absorb any further developments without unbalancing the whole effort.

The visit of Salisbury saw the initial development of a planned campaign which was totally disrupted by the Guild collapse –  consequent chaos – Warwick files, etc.  The time has cone for a reappraisal and the formulation of a new plan.

PROPOSALS

  1. That the stated short term aim of SocSoc be the setting up of a student inquiry/commission/tribunal/investigation into the power structure of the university and its manifestations within and without the campus. Put differently, that it examines exactly how a university works.
  2. (as an absolute prerequisite for 1.) We demand that the university disclose all information at its disposal, including Senate/Council/Court minutes; all files whatsoever; University accounts, investments. (see note*) The University administration makes its position viz approval/disapproval/neutrality absolutely clear on the following: Salisbury, Racism,  Committee of 6, etc.
  3. That demands 1. and 2. are replied to in writing not less than seven days after receipt.
  4. Plans for some form of direct action at the end of the seven days and for a full scale mobilisation of all possible support during the week for the confrontation at the end of it.

Also that in the event of a failure of full scale mobilisation, contingency plans for anonymous direct action be made  (in the hope that this would be contributory to later mass action).

It has been suggested that a ‘charter of demands and critique of the University structure’ be formulated and presented. However:

  1. The problem with a critique and concluding demands is that the administration’s reaction is likely to be: ‘You say that the situation is A,B,C, but in fact it is X,Y,Z and therefore your demands are not applicable’.  Now whilst we may be fairly sure that the situation is not X,Y, Z, unless we have had previous access to the information we won’t be able to show up the lie.
  2. The idea has been floating around since the beginning of term and yet nothing has been done and the present situation does not seen to be one in which running on the spot while someone prepares a charter is going to be beneficial to the cause.

*Whilst this demand would appear fantastic, it nay be argued that in many ways it is perfectly negotiable and contains a viable means of leaving Senate House, if we ever got in.  Its very open-endedness allows the probability that if the Admin. are prepared to concede anything then it will be covered under this demand (we can surely agree upon some concession of information which, if we are in need  of an excuse to leave, will suffice). If they are not prepared to concede anything at all we can leave because we have just set fire to the building.

Engels: Socialism, Utopian and Scientific

A seminar on the relevance of  this Marxist text today
led by Mike Smith
7.30 March 4  McAusland Lounge
the text can be obtained from the Soc-Soc bookstall in the foyer

E Mandel on American capitalism today

A seminar on Mandel’s analysis of capitalism, based on article in New Left Review 54
7.30 Wednesday March 11   McAusland  Lounge
N.L.R  available from the Arts Library or from Soc-Soc bookstall

Lenin’s ‘Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder

A seminar on the text’s relevance today
led by Dave Robertson
7.30 Wednesday  March 18   McAusland Lounge
text available from Soc-Soc bookstall

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Racist page ripped out

Guild Gazette today follows up the storm over the racist poem in this year’s Pantosfinx magazine.  The story is written by Dick Walker:

[At Thursday’s mass meeting] a debate was opened on the issue of the controversial poem in Pantosfinx.  Some 200 people remained in the Mountford Hall to hear the debate, which was called after several complaints had been received about the poem.

Last week a mass meeting of students at the College of Commerce condemned the magazine because of the poem and refused to sell it in the College.

Mr Richard Barker, University Panto Secretary, hit back at the complaints, saying that as racialist feelings were particularly high at the moment, the Panto Committee deliberately avoided putting anything they considered racialist in the magazine.

He went on to say that “the poem in question has been published in several other magazines previously and does not appear to have caused offence.”  […]

A suggestion was made to remove the page…and was carried unanimously.

Copies of Pantosfinx were brought into the Mountford, where 40,000 copies were ‘censored’.

Panto committee later reimbursed advertisers to the sum of £160.

Report of Socialist Society Meeting 24 February 1970

This report provides an account of the proceedings at today’s meeting of Socialist Society, which was largely concerned with organisational issues.

The meeting was called in order to discuss and take decisions upon Discussion Document l (pink sheet with proposals for restructuring). It had been asked at the last meeting that reports be made concerning the financial and material assets of S0cSoc  and the possibility of obtaining a room in the Union for S0cSoc use.

  • We were assured that S0cSoc’s finances were nil,if not negative.
  • There is a duplicator on permanent loan from Ellam’s,but we have only been able to use it one week out of the year due to breakdowns and it is currently going back for repairs. There is an operating silkscreen at 3 Sunnyside , Liverpool 8, which S0cSoc has access to but does not own. There is miscellaneous poster-making material in B53.
  • There appeared to be no possibility of gaining a permanent site for S0cSoc in the Union. After discussion it was agreed to establish a permanent geographical site at 66 Canning Street, in the basement, and that S0cSoc should pay the residents for electricity & heating.

The following groups with fairly specific functions as a first attempt at formal organisation were agreed to:

  • CONVENORS: responsible for calling meetings  & drawing up agendas – not chairmen – Andy Black, Sue Rossinger, Danny Fishman.                         ~
  • TREASURER: responsible for finances as per section vii) of the pink sheet – Nev Bann.
  • SECRETARIAL & NEWSLETTER GROUP: responsible for gathering information for the news-sheet & publishing it – out of which will hopefully grow a S0cSoc journal – Gerry Cordon, James Rees, Tricia Brown, Andy Black, Rob Evans, Dave Jenkins
  • COMMUNICATIONS & PROPAGANDA: poster-making and to some extent leaflets – all will have to help in these tasks but this group should ensure that everybody is able to gain skills to perform the various tasks – Mo O’ Sullivan, Frank Milner, Mike Smith, Mike Keating
  • BOOKSTALL: responsible for maintaining S0cSoc bookstall in the foyer, to stock any book on request from members – Nuala Ballinger, Dave Harvey, Penny Wilde
  • PERMANENT INFORMATION FILES: setting up & maintaining – the residents of 66 Canning Street (Tricia and Allan) and James Rees
  • Delegate to MSSF: Nigel Varley
  • Industrial liaison: Martin Yarnit
  • C.A.R.D (Campaign Against Racial Discrimination)  liaison – Nigel Varley

Theory seminars will be held Wednesdays at 7.30 pm in the McAusland Lounge. The texts for the first three meetings will be:

  • Socialism: Utopian and Scientific by F Engels for March 4th ( opening paper by Mike Smith- the pamphlet
    should be available from the S0cSoc bookstall).
  • Article by E. Mandel on the USA in New Left Review 54 (copy in the Arts library, should be available
    off the bookstall -any offers for an opening paper? contact one of the convenors) for March 11th.
  • Left-Wing Communism an Infantile Disorder by Lenin (again undoubtedly in the library and off the bookstall) for March 18th (paper from Dave Robertson)

The other weekly meeting of S0cSoc will be held on Fridays at 12.30 in the McAusland lounge This meeting will usually be dealing with S0cSoc campaigns both inside (racism, the Guild, files) and outside the university.
The functional groups established should begin to meet and work as groups as soon as possible.  It should be emphasised that the groups are never exclusive and will probably all need help.

CLEARING OUT THE CELLAR  AT 66 CANNING ST AND BEGINNING TO BRING TOGETHER ALL DISPERSED INFORMATION FOR THE PERMANENT FILES: Saturday the 28th at 3 pm.

Bank accused of racialism

This article from the current issue of Guild Gazette, highlights the growing campaign against Barclays Bank over its extensive investments in South Africa:

Last Wednesday, at a meeting in Lounge Hall to discuss racialism, it was decided by those present that they and all Liverpool students should withdraw their accounts from Barclays Bank in protest over its alleged racialist associations.

The meeting of about 150 people was addressed by Peter Hain of the ‘Stop the Tour’ Committee who stated that Barclays Bank possessed investments in South Africa and encouraged segregated banks.

Mr Peter Brown disagreed, suggesting that Barclays Bank does in fact operate multiracial banks.

Mr Richard Davies said that this was mere propoganda and suggested that students go down to Barclays and remove their deposits, just as students at Essex University had done. He also suggested that every university student went down to the South Africa emigration office and apply to go to South Africa.  In this way the whole works would be disrupted.

Both suggestions were well received by the meeting and it seems likely they will be put to the General meeting today at 5:15pm.

Bank stormed

Today, Guild Gazette reports on the growing movement against Barclays Bank for their financial involvement in apartheid South Africa:

The branch of Barclays Bank on the campus of Essex University, Colchester, was stormed last Thursday by students protesting about the bank’s investments in South Africa.

This followed a mass meeting in the university last Tuesday which passed a resolution abhorring apartheid in South Africa and Rhodesia.  The meeting also condemned the support given to the apartheid regimes by the university and by the bank.

According to the university’s newspaper, Barclays control 33% of South Africa’s banking assets and make huge profits from apartheid […]

Barclays said that the bank operates overseas in 50 countries, many of which are in developing areas where the bank was proud to be playing a part in economic advance.

A spokesman said that he could not understand why “these people were making a bee-line for Barclays.  Trade between South Africa and the UK is legitimate, ” he added.

The recent action at Essex is the start of a national campaign to persuade people to withdraw their accounts from Barclays, organised by the Haslemere Group and Third world First. […]

Footnotes from the future (2010)

Barclays bank was known by many in the 1980s as ‘Boerclaysbank’, due to its continued involvement in South Africa during the Apartheid regime. A student boycott of the bank led to a drop in its share of the UK student market from 27 per cent to 15 per cent by the time it pulled out in 1986.

In 2006 a South African activist group, the Jubilee South Africa backed Khulumani Support Group, sought reparations from Barclays in addition to Citigroup, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Ford, GM, and Deutsche Bank for their roles indirectly supporting the apartheid government in South Africa during the 1970s and 1980s. The legal proceedings are being heard at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, and the South African Ministry of Justice is seeking dismissal of the case on the grounds that it undermines its national sovereignty.
– Wikipedia

Almost 20 years ago, the British bank was forced out of the country, making a profit of only £6m when it sold out of Barclays National Bank (Barnat) after British students deserted it in droves because of its association with the apartheid government.
– Guardian

A company’s annual report usually focusses exclusively on one restricted question: the profits it has made and is likely to make in future. It seldom raises other issues of proper concern to the shareholders, such as the social effects of its activities. The first Barclays Shadow Report, published on 18 March 1981, aimed to fill this gap by examining the economic and political impact of a particular company in one particular country: not a country selected at random, but the one country of the world where racial discrimination avowedly remains integral to the political system.
Barclays Shadow Report, 1982, published by Anti-Apartheid Movement & Haslemere Group]

“I remember well 1977 and the so-called Carlton conference, at which Botha summoned all the leaders of big business and asked them to help the regime to beat the international arms embargo imposed by the United Nations.

After that meeting Barclays bank pledged a whopping R90m to the apartheid army for its defence force bonds, and I remember well The Citizen, ever the chief supporter and main praise-singer of the racist and oppressive apartheid regime, praising Barclays and carrying a cartoon showing two uniformed apartheid troopies lugging away a hefty Barclays cheque for R90m.

That bank was an unrepentant supporter of apartheid, and I would argue that their financial help for apartheid delayed our liberation by at least a generation.”
– Jon Qwelane, columnist for South Africa’s News24, Barclays’ role in apartheid, 16.5.2005

“Barclays, Apartheid Profiteer!!!

On behalf of those that suffered under Apartheid, Jubilee South Africa will oppose Barclays Bank’s takeover of ABSA until

  1. Barclays apologizes for supporting the Apartheid regime,
  2. Barclays makes reparations to those who suffered because of this support, and
  3. The Khulumani v. Barclays lawsuit in the USA is completely resolved.

Barclays’ Bank takeover of ABSA is an insult to the people of South Africa, especially to those who suffered under the illegitimate Apartheid regime. At present, Barclays is the lead defendant in a lawsuit brought in the United States of America by 87 South Africans who had been subjected to gross human rights violations during Apartheid.

The lawsuit charges Barclays National Bank Ltd and 22 other foreign companies with aiding and abetting the Apartheid regime, in the knowledge that their support (financial and otherwise) would be used to suppress the South African population through the most violent of measures. The lawsuit was lodged in the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, which covers New York in the USA, on the 27 April 2005.
Barclays chose not to appear before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), disclose its dealings with the Apartheid regime, and seek amnesty. This is despite being a major financier to the Apartheid regime. Barclays Bank’s role in supporting the Apartheid regime is well known.”
– Jubilee South Africa leaflet, May 2005]

Barclays is bankrolling President Robert Mugabe’s corrupt regime in Zimbabwe by providing substantial loans to cronies given land seized from white farmers.

The British bank lent £750m to the country’s new landowning elite in the first half of this year, mostly through a government scheme to boost farm productivity.

This weekend Barclays was under pressure to say whether it had lent money to five of Mugabe’s ministers — each named in European Union sanctions.

The Sunday Times has established that the five have received cash for their farms under the scheme to which Barclays is one of the main contributors. […]

Despite the worldwide condemnation, Barclays, which faced criticism for operating in South Africa during the apartheid years, has remained one of only a handful of banks with extensive operations in Zimbabwe. It has recently been opening new branches in the country.
– Sunday Times, Barclays bankrolls Mugabe’s brutal regime, November 11, 2007]

No investments says Chancellor

This week Guild Gazette provides Lord Salisbury with an opportunity to respond to his critics and answer the charges made against him at the Guild Dinner protest on January 30th.  Mike Smith provides a rebuttal of Salisbury’s claims.

No investments says Chancellor

by The Marquess of Salisbury

I welcome the opportunity you afford me of commenting on the events of Friday, January 30th, which culminated in a decision on my part not to attend the Students’ Annual Dinner and Ball. I had been asked by the Guild to come on this occasion and, as Chancellor, to propose the toast of The Guild, and I was told  that I should limit my speech to about five minutes: and I was very glad to accept this invitation, as it would give me an admirable opportunity to meet the Undergraduates. But when I arrived in Liverpool, I was told by the President of the Guild that I must expect some trouble from a section of the students, who did not agree with my views on Rhodesia.

I was, I must confess, a good deal surprised at this, for the occasion was a completely non-political one: and I was the more surprised when I got to my hotel and was met by a message from the dissentient students to say that there had been a meeting of 200 Undergraduates – not a very large proportion of the total membership p of the Guild – and that they had passed a resolution, which was in fact an ultimatum, that if I persisted in my intention of attending the Dinner and Ball, they would make it their business to see that neither the one nor the other took place. They added that they would like to send down a deputation to present this ultimatum. Would I receive it? I replied that I certainly would, and in due course the deputation arrived and presented the resolution. I asked if I might keep this and they were good enough to say yes.

We had a fairly long conversation, which was useful to me in clarifying their point of view, and I eventually decided not to attend the Dinner and Ball. I did this, as I explained to them, not because I was disposed to give way to any threats but because I did not want to spoil the evening for the large mass of students who would be attending the Ball.

So much for the events of January 30th. But I now come to the real reason why I am so glad to have the chance to make this statement in the Guild Gazette. After the dissentient students had left me, I looked again at the resolution they had brought and found that it had been written on the back of a kind of Roneoed handout which had apparently been distributed at the meeting and on which the resolution seemed to have been based: and I also found that this document was a farrago both of untruths and distortions of the truth.

The document contained several very definite statements.

  1. It said that I was in favour of apartheid. Answer: I am not and never have been, and I challenge anyone to produce any evidence that I have ever supported it.
  2. It is said that I have immense investments in South Africa and Rhodesia. Answer: I have no investments of any kind in South Africa. So far as Rhodesia is concerned, having been both Commonwealth and Colonial Secretary in the Government during the war, I had a natural desire to take part in the post-war development of the Commonwealth and Empire. I might have chosen Canada or Australia, which would undoubtedly have avoided the present controversies. But I chose Rhodesia because I had long experience of that country, the capital of which was named after my grandfather. I therefore, together with a number of my friends, took a share in two farms and a timber company. I am afraid that I have never up to now had  a penny out of these investments; but I do not regret this, as I believe both the farms and those who work on them are in a far better condition than when we took them over.
  3. “He has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the black people in general and was invited by the Guild to purvey his wretched slanders in this university tonight”. Answer:  The first part of this statement is untrue. I have never spoken against black people. I have always stood for multi racial government, though it is perfectly correct to say that I do not believe that Rhodesia is yet ready for majority rule, which is to me not a moral principle but a stage in the political evolution of a country, whether it be in Rhodesia, as in Britain.The suggestion in the second part of the statement which I have just quoted, that I came to Liverpool on January 30th “to purvey my wretched slanders in this University tonight” is a plain straightforward lie and it is hardly credible that those who prepared the handbill should be ignorant of this.
  4. “Think, ” it says, “of the black people who slave in the mines and factories he supports for minimal wages and no rights whatsoever.”  Answer:  The words ‘mines and factories’  sound very impressive: but what in fact do I own? Just a share in the two farms and the timber company which I have already mentioned. It is true that I was at one time a director of a very reputable company, the British South Africa Company, which has done so much fine work in developing Rhodesia for the benefit of both black and white: but I have long ceased to be even that, though I still hold a small block of shares in the company.

And now I should like to say a word in general about the criticisms that have been made of me in relation to my attitude over Rhodesia. While it is not for me to complain of anyone because he holds different views from mine on Rhodesia or any other question, there are two things that I must say in conclusion.

The first is that I do resent – and resent deeply – the suggestion that the views which I hold have been actuated throughout by self-interest; and the second is that I repudiate utterly the idea that the political views I hold on Rhodesia are relevant to my role of Chancellor of Liverpool. Goodness gracious, if politics were to come into a man’s position as Chancellor of a University, every Chancellor in the country, with the exception of members of the Royal Family, would become violently controversial.

Why are Chancellors chosen? I take it that it is either because they have local connections or because they are regarded as having a respectable reputation in some sphere of public life, or both. I imagine that that was why I, like others, was invited, and that was certainly why I was so happy to accept what I regarded – and still regard – as a signal honour.

Monday club founder

Lord Salisbury is a member of one of the foremost families in the British Conservative Party.  His grandfather was Prime Minister and he himself was one of the founders of the Monday Club, which is renowned as one of the most right wing sections of the party.

Lord Salisbury himself was born in 1893, educated at Eton and Oxford and during his parliamentary life, both in the Commons and the Lords he has been responsible for Colonial, Dominion  Affairs and so forth.  He resigned from the Cabinet in 1957 because he disagreed with the terms of the release of Archbishop Makarios from prison.
He became  Chancellor  of  Liverpool University  in  1951.

Facts are against Salisbury

by Mike Smith

In his article, printed on this page, Lord Salisbury raises several important questions about his views on racialism and about the relationship of these to his position as Chancellor of this University.

He claims that he has never supported apartheid,  nor spoken against black people.

Lord Salisbury has frequently made speeches in the House of Lords urging Britain to supply arms to South Africa. He claims that these are for defensive purposes only. Yet the South African Government have used aircraft to attack a crowd of Africans who had surrounded a Police Station to protest against political arrests. There can be no guarantee that any arms sent to South Africa will be used purely for defensive purposes. To urge that arms be sent can only serves to support the system of Apartheid.

On November 15th, 1965 Lord Salisbury said in the Lords that “Africans have just learned enough to repeat endlessly ‘one man one vote’ ”. In June 1968 he said “Is it not a fact that one of the reasons for the present bloodbath in Nigeria is that the White Government ceased to obtain and was succeeded by an entirely black government.”

The other important point he raises is that of his investments. From 1957 to 1961 Lord Salisbury was director of the British South Africa Company and he admits that he still owns a block of shares in the Company. According to Beerman’s Financial Year Book this company “made an important contribution to the development of the South African mining industry and the economic development of Rhodesia.”

The British South African Company is now part of Charter Consolidated Ltd, 38% of whose investments (by asset value) are in South Africa (1966 figures). Lord Salisbury is also a director of the Westminster Foreign Bank, which is a major financier of capital development in South Africa.

Lord Salisbury questioned the relevance of his views on South Africa to his role as Chancellor of this university. Yet he admits that Chancellors are chosen because they have a respectable reputation in some sphere of public life. Part of Lord Salisbury’s reputation is due to his views on South Africa.

If students in this university disagree with his views then they would appear to have every justification for wishing to get rid of him as Chancellor.

Senate picketed over Salisbury

Guild Gazette reports today that:

On Thursday about 40 people picketed Senate House to demand the resignation of Lord Salisbury as Chancellor after accusations of racialism.  A petition containing over 1000 signatures was handed in.

Officials entering and leaving the building were heckled and though the Vice-Chancellor was invited to meet the demonstrators, he politely declined, but said in a message that he would consider the petition.

Another item in the current issue highlights concern over racism in the University:

Pantosfinx racialist joke banned

The Executive of Liverpool College of Commerce has banned the sale of Pantosfinx because of a poem included called ‘England, my England’.  The poem deals with immigrants who come to Britain to sign on the National Health.

Other colleges are to consider banning the magazine for this reason and Panto stands to lose several hundred pounds.

There is also strong pressure within the University to ban the poem, either by obliterating it or removing the page on which it is printed.

The poem is being sent to the Race Relations Board to see if legal action can be taken against Panto Committee, who do not consider the poem racialist.