The bickering, backstabbing and pseudo-intellectual debate of student socialism.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Can't complain

Thursday saw the election results come out for the UMSU executive. By what must be one of the narrowest margins ever we have a left dominated executive and a socialist general Secretary! Our Exec is:

Full Timers

Gen Sec - Rob Owen (SWP/student RESPECT)
Academic Affairs - Mohammad Yakman Khair (I-Soc)
Student Activities - Elliott Woods (3rd Eye)
Welfare - Mina Mo (student RESPECT/Independent)
Campaigns - Patrick Smith (student RESPECT/3rd eye)
Student Direct (Newspaper) - Sajid Rafiq (Independent)
Communications – Maadh Alhadithi (I-Soc)
Women's - Karla Jayne Thomas (3rd eye)

Part Timers

Int Officer - Karolina Kopiec (Book & Beer Coalition)
Postgrad Officer- Wajid Usman (Pakistani Student Association)
Humanities Officer - Rumanna Habeeb (I-Soc)
Life Sciences Officer - Corrinne Broomfield (Independent)
Engineering Officer - Ejaz (I-Soc)
Medical - Farrah Rana (I-Soc)

We won the General Secretary position by 1283 to 1279 (the first count had a 1279 -1279 draw) against the current Welfare Officer. The most satisfying part was that the BNP Youth leader got a miserable 100 odd votes and looked close to tears when we won with a real Bethnal Green moment. Most other positions were less close with the Labour Student lead “Book and Beer coalition” facing a backlash against their negative campaigning/ red baiting. The tides seem to be turning from when softer left candidates a few years ago lost lower profile elections with similar slate support. SOAS also elected a Socialist President and Respect is going into NUS conference with over 60 delegates. What a change from last year where we were wiped out in Manchester and only got a place on NUS “block of 12” through transfers from other groups. Next year we should actually be in a position where Socialists can show how we would run the student movement.

But it gets better last week a Union meeting of 450 discussed our “Another Education is Possible” motion to twin with Nablus and the Bolivarian Uni Of Venezuela. We lost a few early votes that gutted the motion (thanks to a very well organised opposition) but started to consistently win key votes about the nature of Israel on the floor. By the end we had enough influence to call for and win a position to vote down our own gutted and inverted motion. It is hard to explain what a victory it felt like having won a majority of fair trade activists to a pro-Palestinian position.

All that is left is to show that the left can run the Union in a principled and political way while bringing in more Union activists.