Two weeks before NCAFC’s 19 November demonstration for free education, the National Union of Students leadership undemocratically decided to withdraw its support.
This was on the basis that the organisers had not adequately dealt with NUS’s risk assessment questions, meaning the demonstration was “too dangerous” for their students to attend.
Emails exchanged between NCAFC, Toni Pearce and Megan Dunn have since been leaked which prove the NUS have been bending the truth to liberation officers in order to suit their own right-wing agenda. Pearce argued strongly against free education in favour of a graduate tax at NUS conference 2014, but lost the vote overwhelmingly.
To us organising this demonstration it has become clear that the NUS appartus is far from the be all and end all of the student movement, and in fact has little relevance to the majority of activists on the ground. But these officers need to be held to account. If a select few leaders can overturn decisions voted on and passed by NUS’s national executive council when they feel like it, what is the point of the NEC?
Perhaps most confusing about all of this are the statements NUS have released in the week leading up to the demo, claiming they are “in favour of free education”, outlining a “free education road-map” (I’m unsure of what that is too), and explaining education should be paid for by taxing the rich.
Pressure from the left is working, but the NUS leaders are still untrustworthy scabs.