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

Friday, March 30, 2007

A tale of two conferences...

The monster Labour Students have created has eaten them. Right Wing anti-NUS independents dominated the floor with NOLS leader Wes Streeting rallying the crowd till near the end of conference. NOLS exec member Stephen Findlay bitterly accused the left of “losing Labour VP welfare and creating an NEC that will leave the “Independents” to destroy national conference” in the undemocratic governance review. But is it any surprise to Labour that the left has lost all confidence in them to defend democracy when they have sold out the principles of free education, Anti-racism and Internationalism and voted for the review? Independents took almost all the full time positions with even the factional Organised Independents failing to win in the block elections getting just one on in last place. Conference passed policy declaring support for Free Education damages NUS and should be abandoned, cutting democracy, supporting the commercialisation of Student Unions and declaring opposition to Israel anti-Semitic (for which you can be No-Platformed.) The left with loyalty to the Labour Party and winning “the better Labour Indies” was crushed under the left baiting and deserted the motions debate for all but profiling opportunities. A Tory coming 5 votes short of a fulltime position should shake the complacency even the most rightwing NOLSie in the direction they are taking NUS.

Respect carried a principled argument in all areas. We submitted and spoke for policy building an NUS on the basis Free Education, anti-Neoliberal, Anti-Racist and Anti-war campaigning and opposed the right wing attempts to create little more then a New Labour ginger group. Respect took the platform repeatedly at conference and spearheaded all opposition to the leadership putting forwards a clear alternative platform for a fighting Union. Assed Baig scoring 193 against Stephen Brown in Respects highest ever vote and Siobhan Brown getting 23% and joint 2nd for VP FE (in a race where we had few delegates) was incredible. Respect also took 3rd place out of 5 on the NUS Steering committee and was 20 votes off a second block candidate, increasing our overall vote from last year. The rest of the left either collapsed or spent the entire conference simply shoring up a vote for the Part-Time exec abandoning the battles on conference floor and the task of outlining a different vision of NUS. In a conference with both the left and right compromised by loyalty to Labour Respect stood out as the only real alternative. Our young delegation held together and came out tougher more politically experienced and prepared for a fight to rebuild the left on our campuses. Another Education is Possible – Another NUS is needed.

Rob Owen – elected to national Executive
Rob Owen – 115 for National President (2nd)
Assed Baig – 193 for National Secretary (2nd)
Claire Solomen -72 for VP Welfare (4th)
Siobhan Brown -23 for VP Further Education (=2nd)
Assed Baig – 14th for Block of 12

Dan Swain – Elected to National Steering Committee

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A fighting NUS

At this year’s NUS conference marks a major break through for student RESPECT – we have a larger organisation, a national structure and elected officers across in Manchester, Leeds, London, Portsmouth, Plymouth and Newcastle. More over we have been key to Stop the War, UAF and free education campaigning across the country and turned a loose coalition into a radical campaigning movement on campuses.

Conference will reflect little of the politics, frustration and radicalisation of our campuses but for the first time we will be represented by a serious left in the NUS. Student RESPECT will be bringing by far the largest delegation on the left, have policy motions high on the agenda and be making a real challenge for a number of positions. None of this would be possible if hundreds of activists hadn’t devoted shit loads of time and energy campaigning for peace, justice and socialism. NUS conference may or may not be full of rightwing careerists and labour party hacks this year but the momentum we have built up means we’ll just come back bigger and stronger next year.

Student RESPECT are standing:

Rob Owen – National President
Assed Baig – National Secretary
Claire Solomon – VP Welfare
Siobhan Brown – VP Further Education

Rob Owen & Assed Baig – Block of 12

Monday, March 19, 2007

UMSU elections results!

RESPECT and the left have for the second year running claimed key executive positions in our Student elections by a large margin. In what was traditionally a Labour Student Union for the left to have come through so strongly is remarkable. Unfortunately the turn out of the blocks Islamic soc/organised left vs Organised right/Jewish Soc was strongly against us and reflected in the loss of many student council positions. The independent left however turned out in force and ensured Cunningham, Skinner and Castro were in by a large margin and Shabnam, Haroon and Sohaib were safely elected to exec.

Andy Cunningham (Respect) 1314 -----Elected
Adele Douglas (Students 1st/ CF) 1008

Alex Castro (Latin American Soc/Respect) 1116 -----Elected
Robbie Gillet (Indy Green /Anarchist) 731
Matt Strong (NOLS/Students 1st) 711
(Castro wins off Strongs transfers by several hundred votes)

General Secretary:
Tom Skinner (Respect/Fair Trade) 1303 ------ Elected
Barney Guiton (Students 1st) 839
Jon Lewis (Indy) 434

Academic Affairs:
Vicky Araj (Respect) 1097 (after transfers)
Jeff Meddemmen (Independent)1184 (after Transfers)----Elected
Tom Miller 499 (Nols/Students 1st)

Paper Editor:
Dom Koole (students 1st) 1142 ------Elected
T Khan (Isoc) 845

Bev Craig (Indy/LGBT) 1377 ------Elected
Rubbia Ullah (Respect) 972

Student Activities:
Emily Randall (Indy) 1250 --------Elected
Anton Benson (Indy) 941

Sommerville (Indy) 715 -----------Elected
Amy Pettitt (Respect) 520

Non Sabb Exec:
PostGrad - Asim ISoc
International - Lamia (Isoc/Respect)
Medical - Shabnam (Isoc)
Humanities - Haroon Ahmed (Isoc)
EPS - Sohaib (Isoc)
Life Sciences - Chris Jenkins (Students 1st/LDYS)

Which Gives the campaigning left (Respect/Isoc/Latin American Soc)Coalition 3 key Sabbs and 8 exec. The Indy left have 2 with Jeff and Emily (plus Bev and Sommervillie), Students 1st get just two. Matt Strong finishing 3rd for Comms as a leading NOLSies was a shock result with Gillet doing exceptionally well for a candidate with no real backing.