Left-wing motions for NUS National Conference 2015

1010688_10152384982091318_7083461352360765067_n

On 21-23 April 2015, the National Union of Students (NUS) will be holding its national annual conference. NCAFC activists will be at the conference to argue for a left-wing, campaigning, democratic direction for our national union. As well as standing candidates for leading roles, we will push for left-wing policies, and hold the leadership to account where they have failed to fulfil their mandates.

Motions for NUS conference are submitted via student unions – students propose them to their local union’s democratic structure, and if they are voted through, the union sends them to NUS conference. We encourage activists to submit left-wing motions, and also to stand for election as delegates and come to the conference to argue and vote for them! The motions below have been written by NCAFC activists for supporters to propose to their unions – they do not necessarily represent the views of every member. Some of them are stand-alone motions, and some of them are amendments to proposals from the NUS leadership (the Zone Committees) – you can find the NUS zone committees’ motions here.

NUS motions are organised into “zones” according to their topic, and each student union can submit up to 1400 words. You will need to:

  1. Put up to 1400 words worth of motions to your SU’s democratic structures (e.g. Council, General Meeting, Executive or Referendum)
  2. Campaign to win the vote
  3. Make sure your SU submits them to NUS using this form before 12 Noon on Friday 6 March 2015

Please let us know if you are going to put motions to your union, if you would like help, or if you want to add motions to those we have proposed here: email [email protected]. Please also get in touch if you are going to be a delegate to NUS Conference and want to coordinate with other NCAFC activists there!

N.B. NCAFC members at UCL Union have already passed a number of motions through that union to be sent to NUS. They are included at the bottom of this page for information, but we encourage activists to focus on the other motions which have not yet passed.


Contents

[Word counts in square brackets]

Priority Work Zone

  • Sitting down with managers and politicians is not enough: protest for free education [298 words]
  • Fighting cuts beyond the election [255]
  • Accountable MPs on an average salary [123]
  • First past the post is not representative! [30]
  • #GenerationVote? Don’t distract from the real injustices [137]
  • Defy ‘pay to protest’ policing [160]

Education Zone

  • Apprentices’ rights, workers’ rights [239]
  • Support our staff and defend education [341]
  • No to an NSS in FE [92]

Welfare Zone:

  • Police violence and racism [240]
  • A Living Income For Students [197]
  • Save our NHS [224]

Union Development

  • Students’ unions run by students! [312]
  • For democratic, campaigning student unions [228]
  • Freedom of speech & organisation on campus [266]

Society & Citizenship Zone

  • Stop the war on people claiming benefits [174]
  • Solidarity with the Kurdish struggle [212]
  • “Counter-terrorism” [169]
  • Solidarity with Greece [143]

Motions already submitted by UCL Union

  • The rent is too damn high!
  • The General Election
  • Police Violence and Racism
  • LGBT Rights
  • Stand up for migrant rights
  • Free education for all

 

Priority Work Zone

 

Sitting down with managers and politicians is not enough: protest for free education

Amendment to Motion 101 (Priority work zone)
ADD:

Conference Believes

  1. NUS leaders have a history of refusing to stand up for students and confront the government when Labour is in power.
  2. Labour leaders’ talk of 6k undergrad fees and graduate taxes isn’t good enough and doesn’t help FE, but shows they are feeling pressure from students. We should capitalise and push for more.
  3. Our broken political system won’t represent our needs unless we force it to. Whoever wins the election, we must give that government no choice but to meet our demands, through a determined protest and direct action campaign. Lobbying is important – but powerless on its own.

Conference Further Believes

  1. Abolishing fees is insufficient if students are excluded or impoverished by the cost of living.
  2. Cutting EMA and eroding bursaries and loans was shameful but they weren’t enough in the first place. NUS previously supported universal living grants to support all students.
  3. Many people fall through the gaps in any means-tested system that assumes parental support – in particular those with unsupportive families, such as many LGBTQ people.
  4. There is plenty of money in society to reinstate free tuition and universal living grants – it’s in the bank accounts and businesses of the wealthy.

Conference resolves

  1. To campaign for free education funded by taxing the rich for all students in FE and HE. We demand:
    1. living grants for all
    2. the abolition of all fees – for home and international students
  2. To plan a post-election strategy, using protest and direct action to force the government to fulfil our demands, including:
    1. To organise a national free education demonstration in the autumn term of 2015-16, using the slogan “Free education and living grants for all: tax the rich”.
    2. To call a week of direct action and protest in February 2016
  3. To censure the President and Vice-Presidents for attempting to pull support from November’s demo.

Fighting cuts beyond the election

Amendment to Motion 101 (Priority work zone)
ADD:

Conference Believes

  1. Our broken political system only offers a choice between different degrees of austerity – Tory or Labour.
  2. These cuts mean further attacks on students, workers, and the most oppressed groups in society.
  3. NUS conference 2014 voted “to reject the absurd idea that our society lacks the resources to provide decently for its citizens, and make campaigning for the democratisation of our society’s wealth a priority running through NUS’s work.” We said then, and now, that cuts to education, services, jobs and pay are unnecessary, and should be stopped by taxing the rich and putting the banks under democratic control. There is immense wealth in society – the Sunday Times Rich List has been enriching itself at our expense through austerity – we just need to put it to better use.
  4. Unfortunately, the stance we voted for was not reflected by NUS’s campaigning.

Conference further believes

  1. We can’t win just by voting. Whoever wins this election, we’ll have to fight the new government to fulfil our aims, with a strategy of protest and direct action from the outset. In the case of pressuring Labour, we should work with trade unions and the party’s left.

Conference resolves:

  1. To support and encourage SUs to campaign against local services cuts.
  2. To remain committed to an economy that democratises our society’s vast wealth.
  3. To plan a strategy of local and national protest and direct action to demand reversal of all cuts and expansion of public services and decent jobs, funded by properly enforcing increased taxes on the rich and taking democratic control over the banks.

Accountable MPs on an average salary

Amendment to 101 (Priority work)
ADD:

Conference believes

  1. Parliament is disproportionately dominated by the wealthy and privileged representing the interests of their own class.
  2. MPs have awarded themselves enormous pay rises while cutting wages, benefits and student finance.

Conference further believes

  1. MPs should be fully accountable to, and have living conditions like, the majority of people in society.

Conference resolves

  1. In the new Parliament, campaign for:
    1. A right to recall MPs for any reason voters want.
    2. No unelected legislators in Parliament.
    3. MPs’ salaries capped at the population’s median annual income, inflating no faster than any benefit, student grant or loan, or average wage inflation.
    4. MPs banned from second jobs as company directors or consultants, or jobs adding more than 10% to their income (for clarity, they may receive disability benefits, carers’ benefits etc. according to need).

First past the post is not representative!

Amendment to 101 (Priority work)
ADD:

Conference resolves

  1. Campaign for a proportionally representative Parliament and a preferential voting system, based on Single-Transferable Vote as recommended by the Electoral Reform Society and used by most of the student movement.

#GenerationVote? Don’t distract from the real injustices

Amendment to 101 (Priority work)
ADD:

Conference Believes

  1. Many NUS campaigns, including for the general election, have been dominated by rhetoric about intergenerational injustice and the voice of young people.
  2. Millions of our members are mature students and we advocate life-long learning.
  3. Access to undergraduate for mature students was hardest hit by the tripling of fees.

Conference Further Believes

  1. Some issues do disproportionately affect people by age, but most intergenerational injustice rhetoric neglects how overwhelmingly, the big injustices of our society (and of austerity) hinge on socioeconomic class and on the oppression of Women, LGBTQ, Disabled and Black people.
  2. The Tories even used intergenerational justice to defend austerity.

Conference Resolves

  1. To stop pretending that issues that are really to do with class and liberation, are about generations, and stop distracting from the real explanations and ignoring many NUS members.
  2. To stand up for students, the working class and oppressed groups.

Defy ‘pay to protest’ policing

Amendment to 101

Conference believes

  1. In recent months, the police have threatened to stop showing up at A to B marches, and to force organisers to pay for private security.
  2. There is already a culture of bureaucracy-heavy and over-cautious approaches to organising protest and dissent in NUS and student unionism. External regulations and internal processes can be misapplied in order to block or moderate protest.

Conference further believes

  1. Having no police on a protest is a good thing, and makes everyone safer.
  2. Hiring private security is to police ourselves is self-defeating and wrong.
  3. Effective protest and dissent requires transgression and disruption. Waving placards and having a good time is sometimes useful, but it is never sufficient.

Conference resolves

  1. Not to pay for private security to police our own protesters, and to as far as possible defy any policy which would require this.
  2. Not to use ‘pay to protest’ police policies as an excuse not to organise effective protests.

Education Zone

Apprentices’ rights, workers’ rights

Amendment to 501 (Education Zone)
ADD:

Conference believes:

  1. Minimum wages for apprentices, and for young workers, are well below national minimum wage
  2. National minimum wage is well below a living wage.
  3. More and more students and young workers (and workers of all ages) are in low-paid jobs with few rights, often on zero-hours contracts.

Conference further believes

  1. Everyone deserves the right to a secure job with a living wage and basic dignity at work.
  2. Minimum wage exemptions allow intense exploitation of young people and apprentices, and by making it impossible to live on earnings, can cut off access to training.
  3. The best way workers can improve our rights is to organise and campaign through trade unions, but we should also demand legal changes.
  4. Current laws restricting workers’ rights to organise and take action through trade unions – which the Tories plan to intensify – dramatically weaken us and are an affront to human rights.

Conference resolves

  1. Campaign for an equal minimum wage for all (including apprentices and young people), raised to the London Living Wage level (currently £9.15 hourly).
  2. Campaign to end zero-hours contracts, replacing them with contracts giving workers flexibility under their control, not giving employers all the power.
  3. Work with SUs to support campaigns for these rights on campuses, starting with SUs’ own workers.
  4. Campaign to abolish all anti-trade union laws and laws violating workers’ rights to organise and take democratic industrial action (including striking, picketing and solidarity action).
  5. Work with SUs to promote trade union membership among students.

Support our staff and defend education

Amendment to 502 (Education Zone)
ADD

Conference believes

  1. Workers’ pay in FE and HE has suffered huge real-terms cuts – 15% in 5 years in HE.
  2. Pre-1992 university employers defeated UCU to impose massive cuts to USS pension benefits and increases in employees’ costs. Other education pension schemes are now under threat.
  3. Funding cuts and marketisation are wrecking FE, and colleges are launching local attacks on jobs and workers’ conditions and cutting courses like ESOL.
  4. Institutions are shifting toward casualised, precarious conditions for academic workers (e.g. postgraduates), disproportionately affecting women and Black workers.
  5. NUS conference 2014 voted to campaign for a maximum 5:1 pay ratio, and to support education trade unions in industrial disputes. NUS leadership has not done enough to support these.

Conference further believes

  1. The same forces are attacking our staff, and raising fees and cutting student provision. Industrial action may affects students in the short-term, but workers’ campaigns are defending education and protecting students’ interests long-term.
  2. Lambeth College workers’ impressive all-out strike, accompanied by student walkouts, achieved significant wins and was a clear example of how to defend education.

Conference resolves:

  1. Condemn all cuts to pay and pensions, and courses and student services, and demand their reversal.
  2. Campaign nationally to restore all FE funding cut since 2009 and for yearly real-terms increases, and to work with trade unions to demand Labour commit to this.
  3. Fight inequality by demanding closure of gender and racial pay gaps and a maximum 5:1 pay ratio across the education sector.
  4. Oppose marketisation by opposing the break-up of national pay and pension agreements in HE and FE, and by campaigning for a national FE system, integrated with the rest of the education system, publicly funded and accountable, with staff, students, and local communities controlling the curriculum.
  5. Reaffirm NUS support for education workers in future industrial disputes, barring a vote to the contrary at NEC which must be ratified at the following conference.
  6. Urge SUs to support workers’ local campaigns improving pay and conditions and defending jobs, and to produce material to help them.
  7. Produce materials to help students and SUs oppose FE funding cuts.

No to an NSS in FE

Amendment to 502 (Education Zone)
DELETE CR1
ADD:

Conference believes

  1. Student unions in FE are often denied autonomy and the right to basic things such as membership lists and representation on college committees.

Conference further believes

  1. Our whole movement should fight for the right of FE students and unions to organise and have access to resources.
  2. Surveys are not a substitute for democracy. In HE, the National Student Survey (NSS) has played a corrosive role in consumerising students’ relationship with education and representation.

Conference resolves

  1. To fight for SU autonomy, the right to organise and mass participation in FE, not just passive surveys.

Welfare Zone

Police violence and racism

Welfare Zone
(N.B. Parts of this motion – CB 1-4 and CR 1-5 – have already been submitted by UCL Union, see below)

Conference believes

  1. Many struggles all over the world recently have raised the issue of police violence.
  2. Student activists have built solidarity with campaigns against police murderers in the US and Mexico.
  3. Police racism and victimisation of protest is a major issue in the UK.
  4. At the end of last term the police responded to an occupation for free education at Warwick University with repression and CS gas.
  5. NUS Conference 2014 voted to campaign for our institutions’ managers to pledge – and write into regulations – that they will not call police onto campus without SU permission; and to great a legal fund supporting students facing charges or costs as a result of repression. NUS leadership has failed to do effective, serious work toward this.

Conference resolves

  1. To condemn the racism and brutality of the police, and work with campaigns against police repression including Defend the Right to Protest.
  2. To send an open letter of solidarity to the struggle in the US & Mexico.
  3. To campaign regulations at institutions, and ultimately for laws, that police cannot enter and operate on university/college campuses/property without (active, unrescinded) permission from student unions.
  4. To use the slogan #copsoffcampus
  5. To create a legal fund to support students facing charges or legal costs as a result of repression.
  6. Campaign against the ability of police to use water cannon, which can kill and maim protesters, and kettling, which amounts to punishing protesters, false imprisonment and an attack on freedom of expression.

A Living Income For Students

Welfare Zone

Conference Believes

  1. Abolishing fees is insufficient if people are excluded from education or impoverished by living costs.
  2. Cutting EMA and eroding bursaries and loans was shameful but they weren’t enough in the first place. NUS previously supported universal living grants to support all students.
  3. Attacks on Disabled Students’ Allowance have not been defeated and still threaten access and retention for disabled students.
  4. Many people fall through the gaps in any means-tested system that assumes parental support – in particular those with unsupportive families, such as many LGBTQ people. Reliably establishing estrangement is incredibly difficult and distressing.
  5. There is plenty of money in society to reinstate universal grants – it is in the bank accounts and businesses of the wealthy.
  6. Universalism is important. We would not tolerate means-tested healthcare replacing the NHS.

Conference Resolves

  1. Campaign for universal living grants across FE and HE.
  2. Continue opposing attacks on DSA.
  3. Campaign for a grant of at least £160 a week, with additional supplements according to need for student carers and disabled students.
  4. Call for this to be funded through progressive taxation such as an increase in corporation tax and taxes on the richest, not by raising taxes on the poorest or cutting public services.

Save our NHS

Amendment to 301 (Welfare Zone)
ADD:

Conference believes:

  1. Attacks on the NHS by the previous and current governments have harmed students and our communities, particularly working class, LGBT and disabled people.
  2. The fight to defend it continues, including important victories like Save Lewisham Hospital and innovative campaigns like the 4:1 Campaign for patient-staff ratios.

Conference further believes

  1. We need:
    1. Complete reversal of privatisation and marketisation. All private providers should be removed so the NHS can be an efficient, high quality and fully public service for all.
    2. A multi-billion increase in funding to bridge the massive gap opening up
    3. Particular improvements in especially under-resourced areas, including provision of mental health, sexual health and transition healthcare
    4. Decent pay and rights for healthcare workers
  2. Labour criticises the Tories on the NHS but it began these attacks and hasn’t yet committed to fully reversing them.
  3. To save the NHS students, healthcare workers and communities must fight for it.

Conference resolves

  1. Organise a national activist event on defending the NHS and the implications for student welfare, working with welfare officers, Keep Our NHS Public, 4:1 Campaign, Medsin, and local NHS activist groups.
  2. Demand that political parties commit to reversing privatisation and rebuilding the NHS as a properly-funded, democratic, comprehensive public service.
  3. Work with trade unions where possible, including pressuring the Labour Party to which they are affiliated.
  4. Support and plan protest, direct action, industrial action and workplace occupations to win.

Union Development Zone

Students’ unions run by students!

Amendment to 201 (Union Development Zone)
Delete CR4 and CR5
Add:

Conference Believes

  1. SUs are not there to service the interests of college/university managers, but to allow their members to act collectively for our beliefs and interests.
  2. The only people who should decide whether SUs are doing a good job, are their members. The only channels for this are democratic processes agreed by those members.
  3. There is a worrying trend toward the idea that SUs should be accountable according to the terms of “stakeholders” who are not members e.g. government quangos or college/university managers. SUs need political independence, to be free to represent their members.
  4. SUs’ autonomy from authorities is already frequently restricted, with union officers afraid to oppose VCs/Principals in case they lose resources. Small, underresourced unions are particularly vulnerable but it is everywhere.

Conference further believes

  1. We should build links with the rest of our community through mutual solidarity, not by giving trustee board seats to busybodies who represent nobody.
  2. Where we have a democratic power in institutions, we won it by campaigning, not trading independence.
  3. Each attack on SU autonomy sets a precedent, so SUs need to defend each other.

Conference resolves

  1. Campaign for national levers to ensure institutions give students’ unions a guaranteed, unconditional level of funding, and influence over key decisions.
  2. Oppose giving powers in SU governing structures(including trustee boards) to unelected non-students, in particular to representatives of college/university management. NUS advice and model documents should reflect this.
  3. Oppose use of NSS and other external surveys and accounting processes to assess student unions. Unions should be accountable to members through democratic processes, not via external organisations’ surveys, whose methods are unaccountable and don’t serve students’ interests.
  4. Provide individual support to help SUs resist coercion and threats from college/university managers.
  5. Coordinate a national campaigning response, including the possibility of national protest action, against any attempt by a college/university management to politically coerce an SU by threatening its resources.

For democratic, campaigning student unions

Amendment to 201 (Union Development Zone)
ADD:

Conference believes

  1. SUs should exist to democratically represent, campaign on behalf of and provide for students – so they need to be as open, transparent and democratic as possible. This is an inherently political task, so they cannot shy away from political debate and taking political stances.
  2. Meaningful democracy requires freedom of expression, and the right of students to disagree, debate and challenge each other.
  3. Recently, college/university managements have closed down the University of London Union, used police and judicial suppression against student protest, like at Warwick, and bullied student officers against criticising them, like in Edinburgh.

Conference further believes

  1. Unions need:
    1. Elected, not appointed, representatives
    2. A constant flow of easily accessible information to members (records of decisions, reports from elected officers, etc);
    3. Regular, well-built General Meetings;
    4. Councils open to all to attend, speak and put motions;
    5. All important decisions to be made by students and their elected representatives;
    6. Autonomous liberation campaigns, and preferably full-time Liberation officers
    7. SU independence from institutional management, including guaranteed, secure resources and space; means of communication with members; automatic annual elections; and accountable election returning officers with no employment or trusteeship connection with the institution.

Conference resolves

  1. Help SUs campaign for independence.
  2. Work with SUs to promote SU democracy as above.
  3. Encourage SUs to help students set up meetings, protests and campaigns on campus.
  4. Condemn institutional managements when they close SUs or call police and security to attack protests.

Freedom of speech & organisation on campus

Union Development Zone

Conference believes

  1. There is a rise in meetings, debates and publications being suppressed on campus, whether by campus authorities, the state or student unions.
  2. In one particularly alarming case, Birkbeck College management closed a conference because a far-right racist group threatened to protest.

Conference further believes

  1. Free expression is a fundamental human right and crucial to the student, workers’ and liberation movements. No struggle against oppression can succeed without freedom of speech and organisation, and the ability to use them to spread, critique and develop our ideas.
  2. Restrictions on organisation and expression within unions are not the same as those imposed by government or campus authorities, but can still damage student civil society and our ability as a movement to develop our ideas and principles.
  3. If a precedent is set that free speech can be easily curtailed on campus for those holding disagreeable views, that precedent will be turned against us to stifle the student movement, campus protests, radical ideas and liberation struggles.
  4. Student unions and student groups should generally champion free speech and organisation, and advocate their curtailment only in extreme circumstances: particularly the policy of no platform toward fascists.
  5. Fascism is not merely a set of ideas, but a movement of organised violence that has declared war on the existence of oppressed groups and of our movement. We do not seek to drive fascist groups off our campuses and out of our communities just because their ideas are vile and offensive, but as basic physical self-defence.

Conference resolves:

  1. To campaign for freedom of speech and organisation on campus and in broader society.
  2. To remain committed to anti-fascist self-defence, including No Platform.

 

Society & Citizenship Zone

Stop the war on people claiming benefits

Society & Citizenship Zone

Conference believes

  1. This government has persecuted people on benefits, making life poorer, harder and more brutal for some of most disadvantaged people in society, and hounding disabled people to their deaths.
  2. It has been aided by the right-wing press and, shamefully, by Labour leaders.
  3. There is a lack of millions of jobs, especially for young people – sanctioning regimes cut costs by pretending that unemployment is a question of personal motivation.
  4. Stories about people “cheating” the system are usually inventions or distortions, and are irrelevant fringe cases anyway. The real story is how badly claimants are treated, and the fact that many do not get what they are legally entitled to.
  5. The government should go after rich people and corporations dodging tax, not so-called benefit cheats.

Conference resolves

  1. To condemn the war against benefit claimants and campaign to end it with groups like Boycott Workfare, Disabled People Against the Cuts and PCS trade union.
  2. To demand decent, liveable benefits for all who need them, alongside decent, secure jobs with a living wage for all those who want them.

Solidarity with the Kurdish struggle

Society & Citizenship Zone

Conference believes:

  1. Over the last year, ISIS/IS has brutally assaulted the people of Kurdistan and subjected people in their conquered territories to suppression and massacre. They have been particularly brutal towards women, religious and ethnic minorities.
  2. The Kurds have been the victims of national oppression for decades, by the Iraqi, Syrian, Iranian and Turkish governments.
  3. The Kurds have fought to defend their homes and towns from IS invasion at great cost of life. Women have played a frontline role in this struggle, particularly in Syrian Kurdistan where a major battle for women’s rights is going on.

Conference further believes:

  1. The Kurds deserve our support in the fight against IS, and the right to democratic self-determination and to live securely and free from oppression.
  2. Our student movement has a proud history of international solidarity with liberation movements.
  3. We should have absolutely no trust in US/Western intervention in the region – which is always for cynical motives – and be ready and organised to oppose it when necessary.

Conference resolves:

  1. Express solidarity with the Kurdish resistance to IS
  2. Organise a series of meetings with Kurdish groups to promote awareness of the Kurdish struggle.
  3. Establish links with Kurdish student, worker and democratic organisations.
  4. Promote the “Books for Rojava” initiative to help provide books for the Mesopotamian University in Syrian Kurdistan.

“Counter-terrorism”

Society & Citizenship Zone

Conference believes

  1. The government is using the conflicts in Syria and Iraq and the threat of terrorism to attack civil liberties and attack Muslim and Muslim-background people, notably through the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill (CTSB).
  2. They are attempting to monitor and control Muslim students, and attacking freedom of speech, organisation and discussion on campus more generally.

Conference further believes

  1. Educational institutions (and other public services, e.g. hospitals) should not act as police agents.
  2. The problem with e.g. ISIS/IS isn’t that it’s radical, but that it’s radically reactionary and oppressive. Demonising “radicalisation” and “extremism” can and is being used to target anyone who dissents from the unjust, oppressive and exploitative state of society.

Conference resolves

  1. Continue campaigning against the CTSB, and the related PREVENT and CHANNEL strategies, and the idea that it is possible to defeat reactionary forces like ISIS/IS by demonising Muslims and destroying civil liberties.
  2. Produce guidance for SUs helping them to refuse to cooperate with this sort of repressive “counter-terrorism” measure, and coordinate campaign of non-compliance if the CTSB passes.

Solidarity with Greece

Society & Citizenship Zone

Conference believes

  1. Since 2010 the people of Greece have been subjected to the kind of “austerity” – vicious attacks on their rights and living standards – that international financial institutions have long imposed in the Global South.
  2. Greek workers, students and leftists have resisted with general strikes, direct action and city square occupations, and have now elected a left party pledging to reverse austerity.

Conference further believes

  1. A victory for the Greek workers and left will have positive effects for other countries in Europe and beyond, including us.
  2. This shows we don’t have to accept austerity. We can organise to stop and reverse cuts and win better conditions.
  3. We can best help Greece and ourselves by spreading struggle across Europe.

Conference resolves

  1. Make solidarity with the student and workers’ movements in Greece, including by demanding Greece’s debt is cancelled.
  2. Oppose expelling Greece from the Euro or EU for its non-compliance.

Motions already submitted by UCL Union

The rent is too damn high!

Conference believes

  1. Rising rents and deteriorating housing conditions are a barrier to access to education and contribute to student poverty
  2. Privatisation and outsourcing of halls are making these problems worse.
  3. Private landlords have huge power over disorganised tenants.
  4. Social housing has been decimated by right-to-buy and failure to invest
  5. Homelessness disproportionately affects LGBTQ youth.
  6. Housing campaigns are on the rise: students are organising to challenge halls rent rises and the reintroduction of rent controls enjoys good public support.

Conference resolves:

  1. Campaign for the following goals:
    1. Private sector rent controls and a ban on letting agency fees, to keep prices truly affordable
    2. Secure tenancies with flexibility for tenants, to replace precarious short-term contracts that give landlords all the power
    3. End privatisation of student halls and cap rent at a maximum of half the minimum undergraduate loan
    4. Extend housing benefit to students and stop proposals to cut it from under-25s
    5. End right-to-buy and invest in expanded social housing, funded by taxing the wealthy and taxing homes left empty.
  2. Pressure politicians to adopt these policies in local and national elections.
  3. Encourage the creation of democratically-run housing campaign groups as a step towards tenants’ unions on every campus, equipping them with materials on how to organise, and how to use protest, direct action and rent strikes to win.
  4. Cooperate with non-student housing campaigns, aiming in the end to have unified democratic tenants’ unions in every town, city and region.

THE GENERAL ELECTION

Conference believes

  1. One reason so few young people vote in elections is that huge numbers also feel uninspired by the available choice.
  2. The Labour Party has made this situation worse by accepting much of the Tories’ agenda – on cuts, migrants’ rights

Conference further believes

  1. If the Tories remain, we will need clear and inspiring policies to fight them effectively; if Labour wins the election, we should demand they implement clear and inspiring policies.
  2. These policies should include:
    1.  Free education.
    2. Decent, secure jobs for everyone with a Living Wage and rights at work.
    3. Stopping and reversing cuts, rebuilding decent public services for everyone, and tackling inequality by taxing the rich and taking public ownership and control over the banks.
    4. An end to scapegoating migrants: freedom of movement and equal rights
    5. Strong action for equality for black people, LGBT people, women, disabled and other oppressed groups.
    6. Strong and fast action on climate change.
  3. We should aim for a government which serves the majority of society currently excluded from wealth and power,

Conference resolves

  1. To issue a statement in the run up to the general election on this basis.
  2. To work with trade unions and other organisations on developing these demands around which NUS will campaign

POLICE VIOLENCE AND RACISM

Conference believes

  1. Many struggles all over the world recently have raised the issue of police violence.
  2. Student activists have built solidarity with campaigns against police murderers in the US and Mexico.
  3. Police racism and victimisation of protest is a major issue in the UK.
  4. At the end of last term the police responded to an occupation for free education at Warwick University with repression and CS gas.

Conference resolves

  1. To condemn the racism and brutality of the police, and work with campaigns against police repression including Defend the Right to Protest.
  2. To send an open letter of solidarity to the struggle in the US & Mexico.
  3. To campaign regulations at institutions, and ultimately for laws, that police cannot enter and operate on university/college campuses/property without (active, unrescinded) permission from student unions.
  4. To use the slogan #copsoffcampus
  5. To create a legal fund to support students facing charges or legal costs as a result of repression.

LGBT RIGHTS

Conference believes

  1. There are at least 76 countries which criminalise homosexuality, including at least 5 (Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen) that carry out the death penalty.
  2. In many countries the situation is getting worse.

Conference further believes

  1. That the Rainbow International LGBT Activist Solidarity Fund is a charity initiated by activists in the LGBT section of the RMT to raise money for and build practical solidarity with LGBT groups in countries where LGBT people face persecution

Conference resolves

  1. To work with Rainbow International and encourage Constituent Members to invite speakers and organise fundraising.

STAND UP FOR MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS

Conference believes

  1. Defence of migrants’ rights will be one of the key issues in the General Election.
  2. We should be alarmed by the rise of UKIP; but the main problem is with other parties going along with the anti-migrant agenda, which feeds UKIP.

Conference further believes

  1. We must fight the idea there is a problem with immigration. Lack of jobs and services is the result of government and private sector cuts, seeking to boost profits and the wealth of the rich at the expense of workers.
  2. We must fight the idea that the problem is “Europe”. We oppose the re-raising of national barriers. We need cross-European campaigns to defend and improve services and rights, and to defend migrants’ rights.

Conference resolves

  1. To continue to prioritise opposition to UKIP but also publicly and loudly criticise mainstream parties going along with the anti-migrant agenda, particularly Labour.
  2. To support freedom of movement and equal rights for all, and taxing the rich to create jobs and rebuild public services.
  3. Oppose withdrawal from the EU and work with our partner federations across Europe to build a campaign to level up services and rights, including for students.
  4. To work with and support migrants’ rights campaigns in the UK

FREE EDUCATION FOR ALL

Conference believes

  1. Since the vote at last year’s conference to campaign for free education, a new student movement has come into being, galvanised by November’s 10,000-strong national demonstration. The past nine months have seen campus occupations and local marches for free education.
  2. Most of this movement has not been generated or even supported by NUS.
  3. The leadership’s withdrawal of support for the November demo, directly contradicting NUS’s internal democracy, was wrong and undemocratic.
  4. The Labour Party has shifted its policy to introducing a graduate tax.

Conference further believes

  1. Our vision for free education goes beyond abolishing fees: it is for a liberatory transformation of the education system.
  2. Fighting for a truly free system of education will not be easy or quick, and we will not win everything at once. But unlike graduate tax or fees, free education is an inspirational policy, and every step closer we get to our goal, the more accessible and liberatory education will become.
  3. To win free education we must develop a strategy that mobilises and engages wider layers of society, beyond students and education workers.

Conference resolves

  1. To campaign for free education funded by taxing the rich for all students in FE and HE. We demand:
    1. living grants for all
    2. democratically-controlled institutions
    3. a liberated curriculum
    4. the abolition of student debt
    5. the abolition of all fees – for home and international students
    6. open and public access to universities and colleges
    7. institutions free from surveillance and harassment by police and immigration officials
  2. To censure the National President for the withdrawal of support for November demo.
  3. To organise a national free education demonstration in the autumn term of 2015-16.
  4. To call a series of regular term-time local marches and days of action around the national demo, modelled on those called by NCAFC this year, aimed at mobilising and engaging local communities in the fight for free education.

Speak Your Mind