Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/481/2248
NUS leadership abandon fees fight
YOU WOULD think that National Union of Students (NUS) conference would be a place to implement plans of action on how to fight for the rights that students deserve. This year, however, policy was passed which means there are no plans or date for national action let alone a demonstration against fees. A motion for universal grants was defeated.
Sean Williams Brunel university Socialist Students
You might ask what side are the NUS leadership actually on? Question no further, it is common knowledge that most of the NUS leadership are careerist bureaucrats with no wish to upset New Labour.
Many first-time delegates found it a shock to witness the lack of democracy at the conference. Policy motions were barely discussed as time was filled up bureaucratically. Motions on the 'Campaign to Defeat Fees', in defence of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses, adult education and against the privatisation of canteens all fell victim to the bureaucracy.
All this spurred on Socialist Student delegates to spread the word of the Campaign to Defeat Fees. In conjunction with our campaigning to get Rob Macdonald elected for the NEC Block of 12, we staged numerous chants outside conference floor, proudly displaying our banners.
Our calls for free education for all gained support from a significant minority of mainly FE students. We gathered over 100 signatures for the Campaign to Defeat Fees and got details of 50 people who wanted to find out more about Socialist Students.
Campaigning against New Labour's attacks by "lobbying" MPs will not produce results. We need to take the spirit of students in France and Greece to produce a mass campaign that will put real pressure on the government.
We put forward these ideas in our fringe meeting. We formulated plans for the coming months including a day of action on 27 April with the aim of building for a national demonstration next year.
I urge any students reading this article to run for delegation to the NUS conference 2008. The more socialists we have, the more effect we can have; fighting for a campaigning democratic NUS.
In The Socialist 4 April 2007:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party reviews
PCS takes industrial action
Campaign for a New Workers Party
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Workplace news and analysis