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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 April 2019

Reject the rotten NUS 'reforms' - build a mass, fighting student union

Socialist Students contingent on 15 November free education demo in London, photo Mary Finch, photo Mary Finch

Socialist Students contingent on 15 November free education demo in London, photo Mary Finch, photo Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Students

The National Union of Students (NUS) is on the brink of bankruptcy. The responsibility for this catastrophic situation clearly lies with years of successive right-wing NUS leaderships - which have pushed through undemocratic reforms, concentrating power in the hands of unaccountable and inept leaders.

Instead of leading student struggles, they have used the NUS as a springboard into political careers in pro-big business parties.

They have failed to fight for student interests - including when fees were introduced in 1997 by Blair's Labour government, and again when fees were trebled in 2010 by the Tory-Lib Dem Coalition.

More recently, they failed to mobilise the massive student support for Corbyn's 2017 election manifesto (which included the pledge to abolish tuition fees) into a movement against a crisis-ridden Tory government.

Governance reviews, pushed through undemocratically by the NUS bureaucracy, deliberately sidelined the active involvement of its million-strong membership and converted NUS into little more than a charity or think tank that lobbies politicians.

At last year's April NUS conference it was an unaccountable board of trustees which presented a misleading report stating it had 'no concerns' about the financial state of NUS!

In response to the financial crisis, the Turnaround Board produced a consultative 'White Paper' on how to reform the NUS.

Sham consultation

But how was this so-called 'consultation' undertaken? The leadership of the NUS allowed student unions to submit their official responses without any involvement or democratic discussion whatsoever with students themselves - just responses from student union presidents or CEOs!

The results of this sham con-sultation are laid bare in the reform motion presented to this year's conference, as well as a new set of articles and rules for the NUS.

It's impossible here to deal with every proposal. But what's clear is that the last vestiges of control by ordinary students over NUS's political direction are to be removed.

That's why Socialist Students rejects all proposals put forward by the current leadership, including the cut in funding to liberation campaigns and current full-time officers.

However, the NUS financial crisis is real. That's why we call for the opening of the NUS books to the democratic oversight of students and elected NUS officials and hence, potential solutions to the crisis.

A crucial step towards this would be the organisation of general emergency meetings on campuses. From these could come an extraordinary national conference to discuss the way out of this crisis.

We fight for a refounded NUS as a democratic, accountable organisation that puts centre stage free education and student grants, affordable student housing, the fight against cuts and marketisation, and the struggle to kick out the Tories.

If the NUS 'reforms' do go through then it's very doubtful that the NUS will be an organisation which can lead on these issues.

Socialist Students stands for a student movement which links up with workers in the fight for a society based on peoples' needs, not the profits of big business - a socialist society.

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The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 10 April 2019:


What we think

Corbyn must demand general election, defend workers' interests and fight for a socialist Brexit


Climate change

Organise against climate change, austerity and capitalism

Only socialism can stop capitalism's plastic problem


International socialist news and analysis

Algeria: Bouteflika is finished but the Algerian revolution is not!

China: police state in Xinjiang under global spotlight


Local elections

Local government in crisis: councillors can fight cuts!


Socialist Party news and analysis

Boot out the Tories - end austerity

Stop Tory NHS destruction

Gender pay gap widening

Them & us


Workplace news and analysis

PCS: vote Yes for action, back socialists in the elections!

NEU conference: organise for the key battles to come

Swindon workers discuss action to save Honda jobs

Southampton Hospital security workers strike

Support the Glasgow Airport pay and pensions strike

London Overground cleaners strike for better pay


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Leicester Socialist Party letter for no-cuts budget

Walthamstow: end the school funding crisis

Reject the rotten NUS 'reforms'

Leicester NHS Trust and the brutal reality of cuts

Social cleansing continues in Southwark

Newcastle anti-fascist demo

South Yorkshire Freedom Riders - still battling on

Gateshead FC crisis: save our Heed!

Health Campaigns Together AGM success


Opinion

Low pay, long hours, isolation - a taxi driver speaks out

'Traitors': Cold War cloak and daggers as capitalist powers spy on allies


 

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Related links:

NUS:

triangleHow students can fight and win

triangleLincoln Uni NUS disaffiliation: a question of on-campus democracy

triangle'Reforms' hollow out the NUS

triangleSocialist Students LJMU victory

triangleNational Union of Students faces bankruptcy

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triangleRefund student rent and fees - fight for free education and make the 1% pay

triangleYork students determined to build for rent refunds and free education

triangleRent strikers' victory in student halls

triangleManchester student occupation - end rip-off rent, free education now

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triangleSocialist Students national meeting: Refund the rent, cancel the fees and fight for free education

triangleExams scrapped again - young people need a future with jobs and free education

triangleUniversity teaching moves online in England

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triangleRefund the rent, cancel the fees, for fully funded, publicly owned education

triangleWales exams scrapped: What's behind the headline?

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