Workers’ Liberty member Omar Raii has been elected as a sabbatical at University College London student union.
For several years UCLU has been a strong base for the left, including the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts. But the UCL left split over this particular election. A few leftists whipped themselves into an anti-AWL campaign.
We were accused of being “sexist” and “Islamophobic” — despite Omar’s background as an Afghan refugee from a Muslim family, and despite his support from the president and leading activists of the Islamic Society.
While our (non-Muslim) opponents slandered us online, Omar's supporters concentrated on face-to-face campaigning and on student housing, defence of international students and support for campus workers’ struggles.
The detailed figures have not yet been released, but Omar won about 55 percent of the vote, against 35 for his main opponent and 10 percent for a member of Socialist Appeal.
The result shows how thin, and lacking in credibility among Muslim students and workers, is the agitation by some leftists which claims that AWL's hostility to Islamism makes us “Islamophobic”.
Several other left candidates standing on a slate with us were elected. Omar told Solidarity: “The job now is to continue to build UCLU as a strong campaigning union”.