We as the Sabbatical Officer team admit: the university have played us. In agreeing to the Green New Deal, they have managed to exploit a grassroots, student and staff-led movement and convert it into positive PR for the university. Conveniently, this has been timed to coincide with A-Level results week and clearing. The Green New Deal has been spun into Goldsmiths being empathetic and radical, ‘leading the day’ once again, which has worked to undo its deserved negative reputation as a racist institution. Unintentionally we have been used as a mouthpiece for this.
Let’s take a second to remember that only weeks ago, Goldsmiths’ Senior Management Team took Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Action to court. They lied to the Sabbatical Officer team about this and their choice to pursue legal action against students who were highlighting racism is both abhorrent and dangerous. Throughout the occupation, they dragged their heels and remained defensive. This will never be forgotten and we will not let it be brushed over.
The Green New Deal is a great first step in dealing with the climate emergency. Lots of work from students, staff, as well as our SU President, went into developing the deal, which we recognise and celebrate. However, we need to be critical of whitewashed climate justice and the impact Goldsmiths has on the local area environmentally. We will be forefronting this in all action going forward via working groups and in the implementation of the deal.
Criticisms that have emerged of the Green New Deal prove the need for the embedding of anti-racist, anti-oppressive frameworks in all the campaigning we do. In society, but particularly in liberal spaces like Goldsmiths, our justice is too often whitewashed: we need to do better.
We also have to ask the question: why was it so quick and straightforward to pass a Green New Deal, while an anti-racist occupation had to remain for over 4 months in order to be promised more concrete change?
Reflecting on the Green New Deal has intensified our attention on the people who run this institution. The hijacking of the announcement by them for positive press has reinforced our position that Goldsmiths’ Senior Management Team can not be trusted, that it ignores its students and it refuses to listen.
To our new warden, Frances Corner - we have emailed you previously to address this distrust; you ignored us. You need to address this. Do not underestimate the power and the will of a collective of students; look what it achieved this year in the occupation. We are watching, we are prepared and we won’t let you exploit us again. We ask you to meet with us in the next week to explicitly discuss this distrust and toxicity, so that you may share how you are working to resolve it.
The Goldsmiths SU Sabbatical Officer Team