STW types will have to work hard to counter this if the talk of ppl leaving and social media backlash is true. Shows how much work there is to do to counter propaganda-fed citizens in this country. In the following, whenever they make braod claims about 'the people of Ukraine', remember to ask which people of Ukraine. They're certainly not standing in 'solidarity' with the Ukrainians of the Donbas region or other Russian-speaking areas, subjected to appalling abuses by the NATO-backed Kiev regime.
Statement on Ukraine following UCU Congress 2023
We write as UCU members to express solidarity with the people of Ukraine and to all who have been affected by Russia’s invasion. We organised around the National Executive Committee’s motion to UCU Congress (Solidarity with Ukraine: supporting education and humanitarian work) ahead of Congress 2023. Motion 6 was proposed as the basis for practical and meaningful solidarity work which can be supported by the vast majority of UCU members. It was passed overwhelmingly by Congress, and we believe it must be taken forward to deepen our understanding of Ukrainian perspectives and viewpoints. We are committed to developing this work as soon as possible.
UCU Congress also passed Motion 5 (Stop the war in Ukraine - peace now) by a majority of 9 votes. The vote means this motion is also the policy of Congress. We acknowledge and share the deep upset felt by many members about this. For some of our members this matter is very personal, with family and friends affected by the war. We know too that some members have decided to leave UCU over this. Please stay. We appeal to those who remain in UCU to commit with us to organising together democratically, to change UCU policy in future via our democratic processes, so that those who decided to leave may rejoin. The best way forward is to encourage learning and discussions within all UCU structures, in line with Motion 6, to inform democratic decision-making.
We all voted against Motion 5, but also advocated for Amendment 5A.1, submitted to Congress with the democratic agreement of Leeds UCU, to attempt to mitigate several concerns. These included proposed additions to centre solidarity with the people of Ukraine, and to defend self-determination. We also proposed deletion of one line containing a partial quote from Ukraine's President Zelensky with appended commentary regarding Israel. We are dismayed to hear reports that members, including from our Jewish community, have been subjected to abuse online for questioning the basis of this commentary. We believe that there is a political and ethical obligation to listen to people whose lives are directly impacted by the war, and for whom prejudice is a daily reality. We also wish to state that no UCU member should be subject to online abuse for how they voted in the Congress debate on Ukraine or for expressing their views in democratic debate. Unfortunately Amendment 5A.1 did not pass in Congress.
We recognise the right to criticise governments and military alliances such as NATO. We are not militarists, nor are we “pro-war”. However, we believe that to actively call for the disarming of the victims of imperialist aggression who are fighting for their existence as a people following invasion by another nation’s armed forces is to disregard the immediate threat that the people of Ukraine face and denies their right to defend themselves against Putin’s aggression. True solidarity requires us to centre the people of Ukraine, to foreground their right to self-determination. Any resolution to the war must be acceptable to them.
We commit ourselves to continue working within the union to develop awareness and understanding of the situation in Ukraine and to build practical and respectful solidarity work.
We invite all those who support the principles we set out here to sign this statement alongside us.
Vicky Blake (NEC, University of Leeds UCU), Lucy Burke (NEC, Manchester Metropolitan University UCU), John Fones (NEC, Bridgwater and Taunton College UCU), Rhian Elinor Keyse (NEC, Birkbeck UCU), Natalie Kopytko (University of Leeds UCU), Elizabeth Lawrence (Yorkshire and Humberside Retired Members Branch), Chloe Wallace (University of Leeds UCU)