NUS women’s conference

Socialist Students calls for action on education

Mary Finch, Leeds Socialist Students

Now is a time when fighting back is becoming ever more important. But no mass organisations are willing to play the role of leaders. Socialist Students has to step up!

Three members of Leeds Socialist Students were delegates at the recent National Union of Students (NUS) 2015 women’s conference.

A motion to campaign for free education, living grants for all students and a democratically run education system passed overwhelmingly. Conference also supported a motion to fight for affordable homes and mass building of social housing.

A Socialist Students member spoke to a motion to train women students in organising struggle, instead of preparing us for positions of corporate leadership.

Unfortunately, these motions were the only concrete plans for action.

The composite resolution on free education only called for concrete activity because University College London students raised it. The women’s committee had proposed only to “oppose” tuition fees and a graduate tax.

It is telling that NUS chose to spend resources on a four-star hotel with jacuzzi, sauna and pool. This suggests its priorities are far from investing in struggle. One delegate commented on the irony that, after lengthy discussions on women’s rights, black women workers – likely earning below the living wage – cleared away our plates.


Socialist Students places no faith in the current NUS leadership. But we recognise the NUS still has a mass platform and huge resources that – under mass pressure – can be put to the service of the student movement.

As always, where the NUS or students’ unions are insensitive to pressure from below, we must be ready to call our own actions. For example, in Yorkshire Socialist Students organised a regional demonstration for free education that attracted around 150 students and young people.