17-18 November: students move to change NUS and Labour Students

Submitted by AWL on 24 October, 2018 - 9:25

Things are moving forward with the founding of the Socialist Feminist Campus Collective and talks about launching a Student Left Network.

These came out of the Student Activist Weekender and Student Feminist Campaign Day, co-hosted by a range of local and national student activist groups in early September.

Attendees from over twenty campuses agreed to launch a socialist feminist organisation active in NUS Women’s Campaign, and to go for a national student left organisation to facilitate joint activism across campuses and form the left bloc of NUS and Labour Students.

Two meetings on 17-18 November in London will work out the details of these new organisations and agree a structure, constitution and founding statement.

Saturday 17 November will be the launch of the Socialist Feminist Campus Collective, which will vote on agreeing the founding statement which describes it as a feminist network “rooted in class struggle, anti-racism, trans liberation, environmentalism and radical social change — we want a student feminist movement driven by political ideas, openness and unity in action.”

It will also discuss in more detail plans for campaigns such as a nationwide speaker tour on sex workers’ rights and decriminalisation, plus student mobilisations for protests at immigration detention centres.

Workers’ Liberty students will argue for the Student Left Network to be a broad coalition of students involved in left-wing campaigns, linking up and spreading current big struggles such as rent strikes, student-worker solidarity, mental health services and divestment from fossil fuels, and bringing them into NUS and Labour Students. We will argue for it to campaign around a unity charter of key political demands in NUS and Labour Students, such as rent caps, an end to zero hour contracts and outsourcing, and free education, as well as a programme for democratising these structures.

We will also argue for the Network to endorse candidates in NUS elections who agree with the principles and demands in the charter.

Even to start to transform NUS into a movement that fights for students we will need longer conferences with sufficient time to debate policy, funding restored to the NEC so they could work as part time organisers, and power put back in the hands of the NEC so it’s students, not unelected members on trustee boards, that make decisions.

We need to re-politicise the left in NUS and reclaim the ground ceded to the careerist soft left by organising openly around clearly stated political demands, not personality cliques and WhatsApp groups. At the same time we ask all the rest of the left to join us or debate us.

The same goes for Labour Students, still controlled by the right-wing and with little left intervention other than the Stalinoid, careerist soft left-ran “Labour Students Left”, who are so anxious to prove their loyalty to the Corbyn leadership that they have yet to organise around a single political idea. This grouping is not generally organised around campus Labour clubs, of which still very few are large and left wing, but is much more atomised and internet-based.

Workers’ Liberty students are arguing for a wing of the Student Left Network to organise as a left faction in Labour Students and agitate around a left unity programme, calling for Labour Students Left to join with us and making the case for a open, democratic left youth movement in Labour that is capable of opposing the leadership if it acts against the working class movement and in favour of capital.

Labour members involved in the moves for a Student Left Network are producing a bulletin for Labour Students Political Weekend, in Liverpool from 10-11 November, and holding a fringe meeting on Brexit and free movement.

The Socialist Feminist Campus Collective will hold a launch meeting from 12-5 at UCL on Saturday 17 November, while plans for the Student Left Network will be formed at the National Student Left Organising Meeting from 11-5 at UCL on Sunday 18 November.

Registration is free and open to all for both events, and all attendees are invited to bring motions to the meetings.

• Socialist Feminist Campus Collective

• Student Left Network

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