The new draft of the Prevent Bill will have been pushed through Parliament by the end of the month. We are deeply concerned about its effect on the education system.
Universities and colleges should be places of experimentation, learning and growth. They are places to challenge authority and organise collectively with those in the same situation. We do not fetishise the idea of the student radical as lasting for three or four years at a Russell Group institution, before going into employment: we want our activists to go on and organise in their communities and workplaces. Education is just the beginning.
The Prevent bill will turn lecturers and educational institutions into spies and monitors, rather than facilitators of free expression and radical thinking. It pits university workers against students, giving them a legal obligation to inform the police and anti-terrorist authorities of students who are at risk of radicalisation.
It encourages Islamophobia and the monitoring of Muslim students doing nothing so out-of-the-ordinary as visiting a prayer room, criminalising their everyday existence, their thoughts and beliefs.
We have already seen our members monitored by anti-terror officers, registered as domestic extremists and pepper-sprayed and beaten across their campuses. Neoliberal institutions do not need another, more racist excuse to crack down on their own students, and Prevent will drive a wedge between students and education workers who should be fighting privatisation and marketisation of their institutions together.
We look to student unions to stand against Prevent on their campuses, and to work with activists and trade unions to withhold its spread and we condemn in the strongest possible terms Unions who will work unquestionly with Prevent. We ask our lecturers to boycott it, and fight alongside us.
Prevent and those who work with it are directly counter to our fight for the democratic institution. We must therefore counter it.
Click here for general information on the counter-terrorism bill, here for general criticism of the bill, here for specific information on PREVENT’s effects on Muslim students and here and here for information on students campaigning against it.
What can you do ? Tweet under the hashtag #studentsnotsuspects , make the above picture your profile picture, pass this motion in your student union, start whiteboard campaigns, sign this petition , organise public meetings like this one and generally get organised with other groups on your campus already doing campaigning work on this (i.e. Islamic Societies).