Source: SPHR McGill/Facebook

On Nov. 20, the results of the SSMU referendum on the Policy Against Genocide in Palestine came in. In the largest and most representative referendum in McGill history, a crushing majority of students voted in support of the Palestinian struggle. There is no doubt that the pro-Palestine students have won the battle of democracy at McGill, with 35 per cent of eligible voters participating and 78 per cent of those in favor of the policy.

But the Zionists were never going to allow this policy to proceed without putting up a fight. A student on campus, who led the “Vote NO” campaign against the policy and is backed by the Zionist B’nai Brith group, filed an injunction request against the policy. A day after the results came in, this injunction was granted by a Quebec superior court judge, who ruled that the policy would be suspended until further examination in March 2024. 

At time of writing, over 14,800 Palestinians are estimated to have been killed since Oct. 7, and this number only continues to increase each day. What will this number be in March 2024 if the imperialist states continue to crack down on the struggle for Palestinian liberation? 

The ruling of the court in this matter is part of the pattern of repression we have seen across Canada and the West, with the ruling classes of these countries using any means at their disposal to attack pro-Palestine activists, with both the capitalist press and the law. The leading Palestinian activist group on McGill’s campus, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), has also faced incessant attacks by the McGill administration—with its club status being threatened and being falsely accused of antisemitism for sharing a poster for a Gaza solidarity demonstration. It is clear to see that the ruling classes across the West are doing anything and everything in their power to tamp down the growing anger at Israel and the genocidal war it is conducting. 

Scandalously, the SSMU leadership have accepted the injunction ruling, which is a complete infringement on student democracy. As explained by SPHR, they appeared before the court without notifying or consulting the student group who drafted the policy or the student body as a whole. This is an absolutely shameful move on the part of the student union leadership. Its legitimacy stems only from its ability to carry out the democratic will of the student body, and it has completely failed to do so here. 

This is, in fact, the second time that the student population has vocally denounced McGill’s complicity with Zionist occupation—and the second time the SSMU leadership has demonstrated cowardice in the face of the ruling class’s attacks on our democracy. The attacks from the administration and the ruling class in general will only heighten and continue. To show weakness in this moment, where thousands of people have been taking to the streets every week, is to invite aggression on the part of the oppressors. We align with the SPHR in their condemnation of SSMU’s acceptance of the ruling and the administration’s ceaseless attacks on Palestinian solidarity activists. 

We should not let the struggle be restrained to the courthouse and the boardrooms—this referendum demonstratively shows the overwhelming support for the Palestinian struggle at McGill. This policy adopted democratically should be upheld and backed up with more mobilization. We should follow through with more demonstrations on campus and involve the workers and the unions on campus; AGSEM, for example, adopted a policy in support of Palestine. It is time to act on these decisions.
We must show the Zionists, the Canadian state and the McGill administration that we are more numerous than they are, and we are determined to fight for the liberation of Palestine. The Palestinian struggle and the struggle against imperialism are the same. We will not back down. We, the McGill Marxists, say: intifada until victory!