TASEK UTARA 1974: STUDENT-SQUATTER SOLIDARITY
The fascists called themselves "nationalists"! They even claimed to represent the "majority of the students in campus".
Did they? Let us see:
a) They were the very group that stood for the I974 UMSU election and won only one seat. If they really represented the majority, why the landslide failure?
b) The NEC and its henchmeri armed themselves to the teeth with steel chains and the Iike on campus. If they were really so popular, there was no need of such gangsterism. Their barbaric use of foree against fellow students is against the teachings of Islam.
c) They denied speaking rights to popularly-elected student leaders.
d) They stormed into the UMSU Secretariat and prevented other students from approaching it.
e) Why did they try to stir up racial issues and, instead of focussing on the burning issue of evicted squatters, concoct the language issue?(4)
f) They spread rumours and manufactured documents to accuse UMSU leaders of planning to make Molotov cocktails - a blatant lie that even their own following would not believe.
g) They enforced a curfew on Sept 21 st and 22nd so that nonhostelites were not allowed to enter campus and collegians could not leave without their permission. Why were they so scared of the students?
h) If they wanted to ruIe UMSU, why not catl for an EGM? Were they afraid of tosing? When they were challenged on Sept. 29, some of them murmured that they would certainly lose!
i) They regarded the demonstrations on the 20th and 21 st Sept, as "illegal". Yet the NEC seized power without student support! Usurping UMSU was certainly illegal and unconstitutional.
j) The NEC claimed that they did not want "outside interferance" and that they wished to "preserve university autonomy". Was this so? Also, were the authorities defending university autonomy, by giving the NEC good press coverage and backing them up with the FRU, police, threats to students (scholarship withdrawals, etc.), praise, etc., and at the same time, by enacting the obnoxious University and University Colleges Act and suspending the sole legitimate representative student body.
4.The fight for the rjghts of squatters was an issue which coukl eas'sIy unite students and enhance their power. At a time when the government had effectively destroyed or coopted the opposition political parties, the students were emerging as an effective and open political opponent; it is no wonder then that the government was onty too gtad to spiit the students' power by dividing them atong racial lines.