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

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Student RESPECT conference

Student RESPECT conference today saw over 100 delegates come together to discuss how to fight against, war, racism, climate change and neo-liberalism in education for the first time. Not only were all the workshops full but the make up of the conference was much wider then the membership of SR’s founding organisations like SWSS. Respect’s work in both the “activist field” of campaigns like Stop the War and the work our militants did in shaping a sizeable chunk of the NUS education campaign has started to show through. For the first time SR is starting to live up to its stated aim of being an activist organisation that can make the leap to providing a viable alternative leadership to the student movement. The work of building SR and the NUS education campaign has placed us in genuinely new territory.

The conference was particularly clear (unsurprisingly perhaps) on the issue of the racist backlash on our campuses. Universities are feeling the brunt of the government’s ideological offensive against Muslim groups as the “enemy within” and to resist it we need to sharpen up a wider section of the anti-war movement to win the key arguments. Our general meeting of up to 500 on the issue in Manchester is probably only the first arena where the arguments will be had out in NUS. Key debates in this years conference are shaping up to be Islamophobia (through the issue of Hizb ut-tahir), politicising the education campaign, and the right attempting to reform politics out of NUS. With the a-political/ rightwing shambles that is NUS – the activist lead Student Respect conference was a pleasant change of scene.


At 1:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob, just to ask and feel free to ignore me if you wish. Do you think it is islamaphobic not to want Hiz but in our union?

At 9:15 PM, Blogger Cliffite said...

yes, if you try and no platform them.

At 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How? its not the fact that they are muslim, that makes people want to no platform them.

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By Rob's logic then, those that want to no platform the BNP must be Brittophobic. Are you denying Hizb ut-tahir are racist & homophobic?

At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Rob thinks is that the right wing in NUS (in normal society thats the centre left), are using the no platform policy to stigmatise Muslims. This is not the case. It is used equally to defend all groups from oppression, not doing so simply plays into the hands of the far right. Equality thats our values? Right?

At 6:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly. Rob is not holding Muslims to the same standard he holds non-Muslims. This will allow the BNP - or anyone - to claim that Muslims are given special treatment. Either no platform Hizb ut-tahir, or, more sensibly, abandon no platform for any party. Can you really not see that giving special treatment to Muslims will increase Islamophobia?

At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 2:50 PM, Blogger Cliffite said...

Is it anycoincidence that all the no-platformed groups in NUS bar the far right are muslim groups? No mention is made of anyother toryish group in student politics. HT and MPAC however much I disagree with them are non-violent and not fascist. Therefor should not be no-platformed whether we approve of their veiws or not. The core issue is the underlying prejudice behind the policy not the surface rational.

At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But I don't want ANY groups no platformed! I would disagree with banning Respect, like at Swansea (was it?), for example, even though they support racist murderers like Hezbollah & take money from homophobes like Mohammed Naseem. Have you not considered more Muslim groups are banned because there are more fascists among the Muslim community than other communities?

At 5:11 PM, Blogger Roobin said...

You're a kind and tolerant man, Cliffite, letting these kittens use your blog as a litter tray, especially this 'anonymous' racist. How brave of him (and it's almost certain a him).

At 3:56 PM, Blogger ragged trousered pessimist said...

Have you not considered more Muslim groups are banned because there are more fascists among the Muslim community than other communities?

do you even know what a fascist is? the bnp are fascists. HT, whatever you think of them, are not, and nor are any other muslim parties. believe it or not, fascist is not just a term that applies to 'people wot i don't like'

At 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the same standard, logically the various mis-named 'Jewish' societies should all be refused a platform since they uniformly support the racist state of Israel, not only rhetorically but by actively campaigning on it's behalf.

At 10:12 AM, Blogger Roobin said...

Sorry? You want an answer to that?!?

Try explaining this first, you nasty little bigot:

"Have you not considered more Muslim groups are banned because there are more fascists among the Muslim community than other communities?"

At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely it is the racist element of fascism that demands no platforming?

So then the question should be whether or not a group is racist.

Hizb clearly are.

Then there is the SWP line: because of the prevailing climate of fear against muslims, it's OK to be a racist if you happen to be one.

This drawing of a line between faiths, the idea that racism from members of one faith is OK, but racism from members of another is not, is grossly bigoted in itself.

Anti-racism means one rule for everyone, not (innacurate, in this case: Hib represent a tiny minority of muslims) cultural relativism.

At 12:42 AM, Anonymous A soft socialist said...

Here here Tom. Hizb But put our Jewish, Hindu and LGBT students in grave problems. They should be no platformed in the same way that the BNP are. Consistency or nothing.

The SWP do things I agree with. E.g. fighting for GMB members at JJB whose wages were being undercut by disgraceful capitalist bosses. What I do not agree with is the way they gain support based on religious bigotry. A truly parasitic party if ever I saw one.

At 9:30 PM, Anonymous James O said...

If racism is the defining factor, then any pro-Zionist organisations should also be denied a platform; although El Tom himself has a sorry history of apologia for Israel. as Rob has said it's only Muslim groups which are being targeted in this way. The issue about the BNP is not that they are denied a platform merely because they hold reactionary views, but because they combine those views with political action in the most dangerous manner. For anyone committed to anti-fascism the differences between the BNP and Hiz are obvious.

At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spent a lot of time as a labour party member and a decent person campaigning against the BNP. They are a racist disgrace as are Hizb-But. Tom believes Israel have a right to exist, nothing wrong with that.

At 1:50 AM, Anonymous James O said...

Israel 'having a right to exist' involves a commitment to the country as a 'Jewish state' and the apartheid system that entails. Individuals like Tom enjoy talking in vague phrases such as Israel's 'right to exist' because they lack the honesty or the courage to confront the racist nature of the Israeli state.
Your reference to the BNP as a 'racist disgrace' gives me no confidence in your claims to be an anti-fascist. The BNP are not merely racist - as numerous groups including Zionist organisations are - but a counter-revolutionary mass movement whose racism is explicit in their words and - unlike Hizb - in their physical attacks on minorities and the Left. For all their obscurantism and racism, Hizb members do not have convictions for assault, rape and murder. Confusing the campaign against fascism with your disapproval of a single Muslim group is at best a distraction.

At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...









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