The University of Queensland’s unambiguous support for the military industrial complex since the 1970s is still apparent 50 years later in the 2020s. On Wednesday 16 February, during O-week, a local group, Wage Peace, disrupted the UQ’s engineering department. However the rest of the campus was business as usual with corporate tents filling the area between the Main building and Sir Fred Schonell drive. Rock riffs pealed off across the sporting oval as students safely made the transition from high school to tertiary education.
In the early 1970s UQ students and staff responded by joining the anti-war movement outside the University and participated in the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. The University regiment headquarters were raided and files of new CMF soldiers destroyed. Someone tried to firebomb DuPont offices in nearby Toowong.
As the threat of new wars mount in the Ukraine and the South China sea and old one continue in neighbouring West Papua student disregard for these worrying events was evident. Refugee Solidarity Meanjin leaflets were tossed carelessly on the ground near the Admin building.
Yet, down in one of the engineering buildings, Wage Peace led by Margie, Larysa, Christine, Miriam and the crew held a two hour long lecture and tutorial on the truth of weapons companies’ involvement in universities. Their message was that State Capture was repurposing of the University into an institution which serves the military industrial complex.
The Engineering school at UQ always provided the most hostility to our marches in the 1970s. The Engineering students would throw water bombs at us from the Prentice Building. Perhaps those students grew up and became Professors who support the Boeing Corporation? I don’t know.
Boeing attack-helicopters are in West Papua shooting at farms and towns. The group states that Boeing just sold $40bn worth of jets to Indonesia.
“It’s not too hard to disrupt: just a foot in the door; ex-students (alumni), students with friends” – a spokesperson said, perhaps hopeful that others may follow.
It is too early to tell but there is no evidence of this, yet.
Cuan Durkin and Allie Sherlock sing ‘When we were young’.
Thanks to #WagePeace #RadicalTimes