Exclusive: Anti-Daesh socialist fighter nominated for Glasgow University Rector


Brace Belden nominated in increasingly crowded Glasgow university rectorship campaign

LEFTWING students at Glasgow University have nominated Brace Belden, an American fighting against Daesh (so called Islamic State) in Rojava, in Syrian Kurdistan, for the position of Rector.

He joins a packed field in the race for rectorship, with campaigning lawyer Aamer Anwar the other left challenger and Canadian anti ‘political correctness’ lecturer Jordan Peterson. Ex-Liberal Democrat UK Government minister Vince Cable has also been tipped as a possible challenger.

Twenty seven year-old Belden, a former Californian florist, fights with the leftwing Kurdish YPG militia, against Daesh and for Kurdish autonomy in Rojava, which is witnessing a mass popular and armed movement to bring about direct democracy in the face of oppression from both Daesh and the Turkish government.

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Speaking to CommonSpace, a spokesperson for the Belden campaign said: “We’ve nominated Brace for two main reasons. Firstly, to do what Glasgow Uni students do best and send a message. We support the struggle in Rojava against Daesh and the Turkish Military. Secondly, we reject the token representation the University offers to students.

“The University’s administration have shown time and time again that they they are more interested in money than education. If Brace Belden can stand up to ISIS [another name for Daesh], [university Principal Anton] Muscatelli shouldn’t be a problem. Belden is also a real example of a Socialist putting genuine internationalism into practice. We believe that the fight in Syria for a democratic and feminist society is one worth supporting, even in a small symbolic way.”

American YPG volunteer Brace Belden

Though he will be Rector in absentia, as he would continue his armed mission in Rojava during his tenure, supporters of his bid say his election would send a message of international solidarity.

If elected he would follow Edward Snowdon, also an absentee Glasgow University Rector. Snowdon was a US intelligence figure who leaked classified National Security Agency information in 2013, exposing the extent of secret surveillance of the public by US agencies. He is currently in exile in Russia. Israeli peace activist Mordechai Vanunu, an imprisoned nuclear weapons whistleblower, also held the post from 2005 till 2008, while he was in prison.

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The Rector is tasked with representing student interests on the university court. Glasgow is one of five historic Scottish Universities that have rectors, including Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, St Andrew’s.

Belden has a popular twitter account @PissPigGranddad, where he posts often humorous tweets about his experiences in Rojava.

The campaign will be holding its first organising meeting on Saturday 4 March, 5:30–7pm, in Committee Room 1 of the Queen Margaret’s Union.

Picture courtesy of Kurdishstruggle, Twitter

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