RMIT University has signed a new deal with Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer, Elbit Systems. In response, students have initiated the “RMIT Stop Funding Apartheid” campaign to demand that the university cuts all ties with weapons manufacturers.
Elbit Systems provides around 85 percent of the drones Israel uses for the surveillance of and attacks against Palestinians. Elbit also produces surveillance towers used for Israel’s border control system.
The two-year research deal, signed in June, is the latest in a string that the university has made with some of the vilest companies in the world.
The university’s Sir Lawrence Wackett Defence and Aerospace Centre boasts that RMIT was awarded “Academic Institute of the Year 2021” in the Australian Defence Industry Awards. Its website names as partners companies such as BAE Systems, Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin work closely with the Israeli state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to produce and market the naval Protector drones used to enforce the siege of Gaza. RMIT and BAE Systems were awarded more than $330,000 in joint funding by the minister for defence industry last year.
RMIT Students for Palestine, a coalition of campus activists, is organising a speakout against the research deal with Elbit Systems and against the university’s links with other companies complicit in the oppression of Palestinians.
The speakout will be held on Thursday 11 August at 1pm on Bowen Street.
Revolutions happen only in places with repressive regimes and extreme poverty. They don’t happen in economically advanced, democratic countries like Australia. Most people think this. But is it right? Recent history might seem to suggest so—social revolutions are practically unheard of in the West. There are, however, a number of reasons why revolution in Australia is possible.
The billionaires have had it too good for too long. CEO salaries are up more than 40 percent in a year, while living standards for everyone else are getting smashed. Decade after decade, under both major parties, the rich have gotten richer while everyone else struggles. And the politicians run Victoria like it’s their own private cash machine.
Women’s oppression looks quite different today than 60 years ago. Women’s rights are more accepted now, women are a bigger part of the workforce, contraception and abortion are legal in much of the world. There are more women world leaders and CEOs than ever before. At the same time, the vast majority of women, even in a wealthy country like Australia, are still paid less on average than men, still do most of the unpaid child care and other domestic labour in the home and still have to contend with demeaning sexist stereotypes.
Imperialist occupation has always generated resistance. Time and again, oppressed people have risen up heroically to drive out occupying armies. But heroism isn’t always enough: the politics of the resistance frequently make the difference between victory and defeat.
Western Australian public sector workers will rally at the state parliament on 17 August to demand that wages keep up with the cost of living. The rally, organised by the Public Sector Alliance of nine trade unions, follows several stop-work rallies held at WA hospitals over the last month, involving thousands of health workers.
The whole country is talking about Labor’s Climate Change Bill. But there’s nothing there.