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Issue 1831 (PDF)
The student newspaper of Imperial College London

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Remove intifada slogan, Union tells Marxist Society

Debate rages over right to use controversial slogan.

Marxist Slogan Photo: Rolando Charles for Felix


in Issue 1831

Marxist Society has been ordered to stop using the phrase ‘intifada until victory’ in its communications, after a complaint was submitted by students.

Two weeks ago, Imperial College Union (ICU) emailed Imperial Marxist Society about its use of the phrase in a pamphlet after receiving the complaint.

The pamphlet, distributed on 11th October, advertised an emergency society meeting entitled, ‘How can communists support Palestine?’. It called for ‘an end [to] the Zionist settlement land grab’, ‘a mass uprising against the occupation, on both sides of the green line’, and ‘equal rights for all people, regardless of ethnicity or religion’.

“Playing semantics”: Marxist Society and complainants engage in war of words

Responding to the email from ICU, a representative of Marxist Society argued that ‘intifada until victory’ is ‘not a call for violence’, asserting that ‘The intifadas were mass uprisings of the Palestinians against Israeli occupation, consisting of large-scale protests, general strikes, and boycotts.’

‘No part of our material can be construed as anything remotely like a call for armed struggle… Therefore, we have every moral and legal right to continue to use the slogan “intifada until victory”.’

In comments to Felix, the students who made the complaint disputed Marxist Society’s description of intifada, accusing them of “playing semantics” and stirring up “hatred, violence and intimidation”.

‘This description conveniently skips over the hundreds of innocent lives lost in suicide bombings, stabbings and shootings’ in the first and second intifada.’

They noted ‘the sheer speed with which these flyers were distributed, a mere four days after the initial Hamas pogrom [and] before the Israeli army had their counterattack properly organised.’

Responding, a Marxist Society representative noted that by the time it had distributed the pamphlets two weeks ago, over 1,000 Palestinians had died in Israel’s retaliatory strikes.

The representative said Marxist Society did not condone suicide bombings or “anything of the like” and described them as “individual acts of terrorism”, incompatible with “the traditions of intifadas and methods of class struggle we defend.”

They highlighted Israel’s “extremely violent” response to the first and second intifadas, in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.

Marxist Society calls for non-violent resistance and “revolution”

“We are strongly against Hamas,” said Marxist Society. “The people both of Israel and the occupied territories of Palestine would be better served uniting against both of their government forces in this matter, because ultimately all this is leading to is the killing of people on both sides.”

“We are not here to promote violent resistance,” it reiterated. “We believe in mass action – through protest, strike action and other methods of class struggle.”

It called for “revolution” and “a socialist federation of the whole of Palestine, as part of a socialist federation of the Middle East.”

ICU acknowledged that it had instructed Marxist Society to cease distribution of material containing the word ‘intifada’, but declined to comment further. A statement from its Officer Trustees on Friday 13th October condemns Hamas, and violence against both Israeli and Palestinian civilians.

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