[Marxism] [Fwd: Solidarity needed against repression for anti-fascist activity]

Michael Sims mjsbpmagen-mxmail at yahoo.fr
Thu Apr 28 14:30:09 MDT 2005

Please support our solidarity campaign against the expulsion of the
Active Left Students (ALS) at Ghent University for organising anti-
fascist demonstrations. Details are in the article below + adress to
send protestmails.



Active Left Students (ALS) under attack by university authorities
Relentless campaign sponsored by university Rector to ban ALS

cwi online, Monday 25 April 2005

Active Left Students (ALS) is the most successful student
organisation in Belgium. In four out of six universities it is the
biggest, politically active group. This academic year alone, ALS has
organised an anti-fascist march in Ghent with 1500 students,
participated in protests against the visit of the American president
Bush to Belgium and supported the national campaign for a youth march
against unemployment and racism.

ALS has also campaigned relentlessly against the neo-liberal agenda
of commercialisation and privatisation at the universities. It was
involved in joint action with the trade unions at the French-speaking
university in Brussels to protest against the appalling work
conditions of temporary, mostly technical, staff. Our most successful
meetings have attracted 120 students in Ghent, 350 in Antwerp and 250
in Leuven.

In Ghent, at a recent meeting of the `Social Council' - an advisory
body to the University's Board of Directors - a motion was voted
through that recommended excluding ALS from the university. This
would mean that ALS loses its official recognition as a student
society, and therefore also the right to use the facilities of the
university. This motion will now be presented to the Board of
Directors which will take a decision on the 12 May.

Banned for reinforcing the ban?
This threatened exclusion is the result of a campaign waged for
almost two years by the official student administrator, in collusion
with the university authorities, against ALS. The judicial argument
against ALS is that it is in breach of the university's code of
conduct (and of the universal declaration of human rights!) because
it has physically prevented meetings of other student organisations.

The accusation relates to an action on the 16 November last year when
the KVHV, a Flemish nationalist student organisation, organised a
debate with Frank Van Hecke, president of the Vlaams Blok. But
although ALS campaigned against this meeting and announced a protest
against the Vlaams Blok, we did not threaten to disrupt their
activity. The debate could not take place because of a ban by the
university authorities who claimed that they could not guarantee the
security. ALS anyway organised a protest against the debate to oppose
the promotion of racist and fascist ideas at the university.

Even the judicial argument does not make sense. Preventing meetings
of other student organisations is against the code of conduct of the
university, which ALS is not guilty of. But so is promoting racist
and fascist ideas which the Vlaams Blok and its representatives are
clearly guilty of. Several of the organisations connected to the
Vlaams Blok have recently been convicted of racism by the Belgian
courts. As a result, the Vlaams Blok decided to change its name to
Vlaams Belang and also adopt new structures and a new programme.

The essence of the matter is that this campaign against ALS is an
attempt by the university authorities to get rid of what they see as
potential "trouble makers" before they kick the programme of
privatisations and cuts into a higher gear. Belgian universities are
starting to put the EU `Bologna Agreement' for higher education into

The structure of the degrees has been changed to the US standard of
Bachelors and Masters and soon it will be time to implement the
financial implications of this. Last month's decision by the
University of Leuven to drastically raise the tuition fees for
foreign students is not a coincidence. Foreign students will have to
pay 5,000 euros or 10 times more than the year before, to enter
Leuven University in line with the new guidelines.

Active Left Students have been extremely successful in fighting
racist and fascist ideas at the university in Ghent. Although the
universities are legally obliged to have representatives of all the
political parties on its bodies, the Vlaams Blok has not taken up its
seat in Ghent. This is the result of the magnificent campaign lead by
ALS in 2001. Ghent University is one of the only universities where
students have been able to stop the fascist youth organisations from
organising officially. Now it seems that the university authorities
want to get rid of the main opposition first before welcoming the
Vlaams Belang and implementing further privatisations and cuts.

Send protest letters to the Rector and Vice-Rector of Ghent
The Rector

Andreas De Leenheer

rector at UGent.be

Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 25

9000 Gent

Tel: ++32 9 264 30 01

The Vice-Rector

Marc De Clercq

Marc.DeClercq at UGent.be

Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 25

9000 Gent

Tel: ++32 9 264 30 14

Fax: ++32 9 264 79 98

Copies to ALS at:


Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 45

9000 Gent

Tel ++32 9 232 13 94

alsgent at pandora.be

als at student.rug.ac.be

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