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NCAFC statement on the riots

The rioting that is breaking out across London and the UK will not improve the situation of the young people taking part, or the situation of their communities. Young people’s real and explosive anger needs to be channelled into tackling the real causes of injustice and inequality, and not into violence against our neighbours and the destruction of homes and livelihoods.

But the rioting should not surprise anyone. The NCAFC believes that we must focus on the causes of the riots – police brutality, cuts, poverty, unemployment and demoralisation – and we will fight for a solution to these root problems.

We also oppose the backlash – the use of rubber bullets and other barbaric weapons against young people, and the coming wave of dawn raids, arrests and criminalisation of whole communities.

The murder of Mark Duggan ignited the widespread chaos that the capital and other cities have seen in the past few days. There should be no surprise that this latest police murder caused such anger. Since 1998 there have been 333 deaths in police custody and not a single police conviction. Harsh and political policing is part of the problem, not the solution.

Young people are the victim of a society which rubs consumerism in their faces while making them poor. They are under attack from a government of the rich which transfers wealth from the poorest to the richest and drives through cuts to loot public services, in order to underwrite the super-wealthy. Last winter, NCAFC along with other anti-cuts groups led national demonstrations with tens of thousands of Students in response to the drastic hike in tuition fees and the abolition of EMA.

Cuts to education and youth services have created despair and disenfranchised young people.  In Haringey, there have been 75% youth service budget cuts, including 75% cuts to Connexions, and reductions in children’s centre services. These cuts will hit the most deprived the hardest.

The NCAFC calls on all student anti-cuts groups and education campaigners to link up with campaigns against cuts in their local areas; to call meetings in their communities as soon as possible to discuss these issues, and to join in with initiatives like the North London Give Our Kids A Future demonstration, Saturday 13 August, Gillett Square Dalston to Tottenham Green.

We will build for a social movement against cuts, racism, exploitation and unemployment which is based on hope and not despair.


Reflections on the People’s Assembly #EndAusterityNow demo

CC

By Luke Dukinfield, University of Warwick

Just hours after Saturday’s End Austerity Now march finished, it was announced that the Tories had confirmed plans to cut £12 billion from the welfare bill.  Now I’m not suggesting that even the most incendiary protest could have swayed this decision, or the Tory’s ruthless and ideological quest to devastate any and all forms of social provision, but I think it emphasised a principle which was clarified in the Iraq War protests, which saw over a million people sweeping through the streets of London at its peak: the Government does not listen to us.  It does not care for our democratic, collective voice.  I overheard many people on Saturday’s march suggesting they were glad it remained peaceful because it meant their message was clearly conveyed to the Government and uncompromised by the ‘militant minority’.  This was one of the biggest, loudest, and most vibrant expressions of collective democratic will in the past few years, and the People’s Assembly would not have that thwarted by clandestine adventurists.  In fact, many of their leadership tweeted in support of the rooting out of these militants during the infiltration of a far-left gathering by Mail on Sunday journalists, who proceeded to publish an piece exposing ‘facemask anarchist plans to hijack peaceful demonstration’.  The People’s Assembly commented saying ‘no small unrepresentative group will be allowed to distract from this mass demonstration’, as if those who practice militant tactics cannot be conceptualized as legitimate protesters or even legitimate members of the community, that such tactics have no place within a mass movement. 

Not only is their implicit collaboration with the Daily Mail, a media outlet notorious for its racism, Islamophobia and oppressive propensities, and the betrayal of their own comrades for the preservation of positive media attention reprehensible, the narratives they are assimilating into are even more insidious.  Their reproduction of the reactionary ‘bad protestor vs good protestor’ dichotomy, propagated to moderate struggle, fragment movements and delegitimize effective disruptive action, is not only damaging, but reflects broader and deep-rooted flaws in the People’s Assembly as an organization.  It reflects their general conviction that resistance can only be legitimate if it is lawful, peaceful and respectable, and in doing so assimilates into the parameters of legitimacy established by the state to placate dissent.  As such protest is confined to genteel supplication and ritualized performances of discontent, sacrificing material force for the maintenance of mass appeal. 

We must challenge and deconstruct this: ‘mass appeal’, public consciousness, is moulded by the very material conditions we wish to contest; our conception of the potentialities of resistance are circumscribed by the power relations in which we are bound.  This not only means a systematically violent state generates discourses of moral legitimacy preoccupied with non-violence that are intended to limit struggle, but also that numerous structural barriers relative to accessibility, work, childcare, immigration status etc will have hampered people’s capacity to march on Saturday.  We must not struggle only within modalities dictated to us by the very power structures we are opposing.  We must not resist only in formats we are permitted.  Indeed, to suggest those willing to participate in militant action are an ‘unrepresentative minority’ disregards the very fact that it is the most oppressed who often feel their only option is to resort to these tactics to force change, the very people most impacted by austerity, the houseless squatting buildings, DPAC blockading the DWP and blocking roads, those rioting in Tottenham in 2011.  The majority of social movements in history, those that dismantled apartheid and racial segregation and resisted colonial expansion, would be deemed ‘unrepresentative’ and illegitimate by the People’s Assembly’s logic.  Is the desperation, the indignation, of the most oppressed a mere ‘distraction’? 

The People’s Assembly statement also reflects a fundamental misdirection in structuring our organizing around appeals to the state.  If there was ever an illusion that it was fashioned around our needs and not as a protective apparatus for capital, then with the institution of the Tories that must be dispelled.  Although we witnessed some scattered but inspiring resistance over the past five years, particularly the student movement of 2010, the riots of 2011, and the recent array of housing struggles (led by women and groups such as E15 Mothers), and we could argue that this resistance was not sufficiently robust to force concessions from the government – I also believe that with a Tory administration we cannot viably force such concessions.  They have mercilessly pursued their austerity agenda over the past five years, systematically driving people to starvation and suicide through sanctions, displacing and evicting tens of thousands of families from London through gentrification and speculative property development, incurring a 55% rise in homelessness as rents continue to soar, forcing hundreds of thousands to reliance on foodbanks, dismantling community centres and social services, routinely persecuting and withdrawing provision for disabled people, and presiding over an income stagnation and decline in living conditions more severe than any in recent history.  This violent neo-liberal programme will be implemented even more rigorously over the next 5 years, with the (for the most part willing accomplices) Liberal Democrats no longer in a coalition to restrain the worst excesses of the Tory regime, as the now majority Conservative government readies themselves to impose the Snooper’s Charter, anti-strike laws and to dismantle the European Bill of Human Rights. 

They have evidenced their commitment to austerity in five years of mass, systematic suffering, and have demonstrated no plans for clemency over the next five.  The only option that remains to us is dismantling this government.  We cannot do so through conciliatory supplications, spectacle-fixated marches, and symbolic expressions of anger, stultifying struggle in the same cycles of celebrity speeches, nebulous appeals to general strikes from union bureaucracies and permitted protest pageantries.  This government will not heed appeals to conscience, to clarity of message, but, as with all structures of power which necessarily function for their own self-aggrandizement, will respond only to intervention, only to force, only by our capacity to disrupt the processes which enrich its elites at our expense.  Ultimately, the only way we can truly effect change is by consolidating our movement as a mass, collective and material force capable of obstructing the circulation of capital, of sabotaging the mechanisms and structures of power, by militant, grassroots and autonomous struggle whose terms are not dictated by government and which is not contained within its boundaries and channels. 

We must imagine the possibilities of what we could have achieved if the 250,000 people there on Saturday expressed the same militancy and anger as the few thousand on the #FuckTheTories demo organized by London Black Revs, which saw riot police withdraw and their lines broken as they were pelted with missiles and their advances resisted, people de-arresting one another, and disrupting traffic.  The turnout was incredible and inspiring, but that groundswell is infused with a potential that must be harnessed rather than exhibited, that must be channelled and orientated towards confrontation, and not compromise, with external power structures.  We cannot rely upon the state, especially one so ruthlessly ideological, to end austerity for us.  We can only depend upon one another, our collective agency, our communal care and power.  A fetishization of the A-B march, and the principles of the People’s Assembly, are bound up in performative action to persuade and sway the government, and this is fundamentally misguided and self-defeating for a regime which is structured to systematically assault the conditions of the working class. 

That is not to say that grand A to B marches do not have their uses, that they do not draw people together, politicise them and disseminate subversive, powerful messages to the broader public, but they cannot be our only tactic nor conceptualized as a pinnacle of escalation.  Our movements must advocate for and facilitate direct action, not actively seek to thwart it.  That is not to say our only alternative is effusions of unfocussed anger, or the practicing of violent tactics to counteract hegemonic constructions of legitimacy.  It is not to say we should forsake mass demonstrations altogether.  It does mean we must diversify not only our tactics but our organizational forms.   We must capture and draw on the spontaneity, initiative and militancy demonstrated most aptly in the recent resistance to an immigration raid at East Street Market1 as much as we must recognise the broad-ranging appeal the People’s Assembly as an organization has, kindling support in even the most politically listless towns and villages.  We must balance a focus on concerted community organizing and direct action (rent strikes, work place organizing against casualization, the picketing of job centres and the blockading of institutions that employ workfare, squatting, self-organized domestic violence support services, physical resistance against deportation, evictions, immigration raids and fascists, consistent outreach to establish diverse, pluralist and powerful bases of solidarity) with a will to engage in broad national and international alliances and coalitions.   We must integrate the incendiary spirit of autonomous resistance with the organizational capacity to establish robust infrastructure which provides agency and support to the increasing population of the most vulnerable dispossessed by capital, constructing enduring institutions which retain broad direct democratic participation unalienated and unstultified by bureaucratized modes of organizing and dissent.

We must organize to nurture, synthesize and stoke the groundswell of discontentment which emerged on Saturday.  But above all we must innovate methods of organizing and struggle which address and intervene in material conditions, which connect with the most marginalized, and collectively seek to counteract the effects of austerity and surmount barriers which hinder our participation in activism.  Above all we must conceptualize modes of resistance which emphasise care as a primary landscape of struggle, which fashion bonds and connections of compassion as the reproductive foundation of any action and as essential in defending one another from the onslaught of the Tory regime.  Above all we must create communities and movements which are capable of collective empowerment, of asserting and claiming a future – and not just appealing for one.

1http://rabble.org.uk/immigration-raid-meets-fierce-resistance-on-east-street/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Mark Duggan – Killed by the state

Mark-duggan

Azelle Rodney, Jean Charles de Menezes, Mark Duggan; these are the names of just a few of the people that have died at the hands of the Metropolitan Police, an organisation that is apparently an organ to protect the people of London. To many people in the city however, it has always been nothing more than an aggressive and institutionally racist organisation, solely dedicated to preserving the unjust status quo, quelling any dissent and unafraid in using violence to do so. The verdict given yesterday by the Mark Duggan inquest, that the shooting of an unarmed young Black man on the streets of Tottenham Hale was lawful, does nothing but confirm this view.

The killing of Mark Duggan, and the subsequent injustice that came with the verdict, is in no way an aberration in the history of the Metropolitan Police or indeed any police service in this country. Many Black youngsters in cities like London feel nothing but fear and antipathy towards the Metropolitan Police and justifiably so. A Black person is on average seven times more likely to be stopped and searched by a police officer than a white person, despite strong evidence that, once stopped and searched, black people are no more likely than white people to be arrested. The daily humiliation of being regarded as an object of suspicion, an object worthy of contempt, leads to the sort of anger that manifests itself in the shape of riots like those seen in Brixton in 1995 and other parts of London in 2011.

When young men like Mark Duggan are not only shot and killed by the police, but then virtually acquitted of any major wrong-doing, it is hardly surprising that mistrust and hostility to the police still exists. How is a young person, especially a Black person, supposed to walk down the streets feeling safe, knowing what has happened to others in the past?

Crime (that is to say actual crime, not the actions of a man like Mark Duggan who did nothing wrong) is almost always a consequence of either poverty or economic inequality. The differences in statistics behind prosecutions of so-called “white-collar crime” and “blue-collar crime” highlight that clearly enough. An armed-wing of the state like the Metropolitan Police Service does not, and cannot do anything to make people’s lives safer. A bourgeois state and its armed wings (and make no mistake, the actions of the police are as political as any government action) will however always target minorities, rather than face up to real issues such as economic inequality and youth unemployment. Whether it’s by making Black young men like Mark Duggan out to be dangerous “gangsters”, or by painting immigrants as a threat, or working-class people on benefits as scroungers.
With this in mind it is time to think hard about whether or not the police services in this country should even exist in their current state at all.

No justice, no peace.

NCAFC Black* Power Campaign

Hundreds of student, trade union and academic activists sign letters in the Guardian on “Cops off campus”

On 9 November the Guardian published three letters on the ‘Cops off campus’ struggle. One was a letter signed by over a hundred student activists and student union representatives, initiated by NCAFC members. [Read more…]

Motions

Click Here to view Motions Document 1 as a GoogleDoc

These motions have been proposed for debate at National Conference 2013. Amendments to these motions will be taken until 8pm Monday 18th November.

 

1 | The Marketisation of Higher Education

 

Proposed by Birmingham Defend Education

 

NCAFC Notes:

 

1. That the market in Higher Education is leading to increasing secrecy between institutions

 

as they try to develop strategies to gain an increased market share and to out-compete their

 

rivals.

 

NCAFC Believes:

 

1. That a public education system would be based on the free transfer of information

 

between institutions and the public.

 

2. That the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts should have no respect for institutions’

 

commercial confidence.

 

3. That more public information about universities and colleges should be made available.

 

NCAFC Resolves:

 

1. That the national committee should liaise with contacts with the relevant skills in order to

 

set up a secure way that people can leak documents about universities.

 

2. That the national committee should put a call out that as many important documents as

 

possible are leaked.

 

 

 

2 | Amendment to the Constitution

 

Proposed by Birmingham Defend Education

 

NCAFC Resolves

 

1. To insert (Text in bold Italics indicates new text.) come into force for this years election to

 

the national committee.

 

“The National Committee consists of:

 

14 members, or affiliated groups, elected by single transferable vote (with 40% of

 

the places not held by groups reserved for women)

 

 1 voting representative for each Liberation Campaign (which can be shared)

 

 1 voting representative for each Region or Nation (which can be shared)

 

 1 voting representative for each Section (which can be shared)

 

Affiliated groups can offer themselves as candidates for election to the National

 

Committee. They will then stand in the election along with the other individual

 

members standing. If elected the group will receive a recallable delegate on the

 

NC. The quota for self-defining women will be calculated with the places for

 

recallable delegates removed. So for example if two recallable delegates are

 

elected the quota would be 40% of 12 or 5.

 

Where a vote is shared, the representatives present must come to a majority view of

 

how to vote; if not, they must abstain.

 

Sections and Regions are self-organising groups, and exist once they are recognised

 

by the NC.

 

Any NCAFC member may attend NC meetings, and the NC can invite others if it

 

wishes to. The NC can establish working groups of whoever it wants to take on

 

various projects.”

 

2. To enforce this motion in this year’s election of the national committee.

 

 

3 | Agitating for, and supporting, workplace struggles

 

by postgraduate HE workers

 

Proposed by UCL Defend Education

 

NCAFC notes:

 

1. Postgraduate students engaged in teaching work (and other duties) in various

 

educational institutions have been organising and fighting over their rights as workers,

 

including around pay, hours and casualization. Some campaigns have been conducted

 

institution-wide, while others are focussed in individual departments of large institutions.

 

 

 

NCAFC believes:

 

1. NCAFC is in a position to foster and assist such organising by connecting activists.

 

2. We should push for workplace campaigns to be fought using effective collective action

 

methods, encouraging and developing cultures of combative and democratic self-
organisation of workers – both among these student workers specifically and in the wider

 

trade unions they find themselves in (UCU etc.).

 

 

 

NCAFC resolves:

 

1. To offer material support to these struggles, by helping activists connect and giving

 

local campaigns a platform to share their experiences – both victories and lessons learned –

 

with the rest of the movement. In doing so we will agitate for more such workers to start

 

organising and campaigning using collective action methods, by illustrating that it can be

 

done and that gains can be made, and we will ensure activists in different places can learn

 

from one another. This should include dedicated space in NCAFC’s online presence (either

 

on the website or the promised forum), putting activists in touch with each other

 

(potentially to facilitate visits to campuses by activists who have already been engaged in

 

struggles elsewhere), and in workshops and discussions at some of our events.

 

2. As this work is carried out through the coming year and campaigns develop and link

 

up, to consider whether there is scope for NCAFC to organise a national meeting of student

 

education workers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PAGE | 3

 

4 | The Socialist Party

 

Proposed by UCLU Defend Education

 

NCAFC Notes:

 

1. Steve Hedley (assistant General Secretary of RMT) abused his ex-partner physically and

 

mentally during their relationship.

 

2. Socialist party wrote on their website that Steve Hedley had no case to answer for,

 

despite his victim having posted clear evidence of domestic violence online.

 

3. Steve Hedley was not cleared of domestic violence by the RM

 

4. The ex-partner of Steve Hedley was questioned about her mental health, asked about her

 

personal history, and more degrading and accusing questions.

 

NCAFC Believes:

 

1. The SWP rape cover-up was shameful and those who continue to cover it up should be

 

condemned.

 

2. Those that come forward to report rape should be believed.

 

3. Those that come forward to report domestic violence should be believed.

 

4. Victim blaming is horrible.

 

5. That revolution without women’s liberation is no revolution at all.

 

NCAFC Resolves:

 

1. To publicly challenge the Socialist Party about the Steve Hedley case in any forum or

 

capacity that we work with them.

 

5 | Labour Start Motion

 

Proposed by Royal Holloway Anti-cuts Alliance

 

NCAFC Believes:

 

1. Students’ unions are inherently political and should campaign not only for their members’

 

narrow interests but alongside the labour movement as a whole.

 

2. We should convince students of this through our actions.

 

PAGE | 4

 

3. LabourStart, an online news service oriented to the international trade union movement,

 

runs a project called ActNow.

 

4. Trade unions from all over the world identify disputes which would benefit from an email

 

campaign, and these are collated by LabourStart.

 

5. Increased support in these campaigns could have a notable impact.

 

6. Students’ unions should be explicitly political and interested in more than just their

 

members’ narrow interests.

 

7. Students should orient themselves to the labour movement, and students’ unions should

 

encourage them to do so.

 

8. Many students’ unions have access to all-student emails alongside other channels of

 

communication.

 

9. This work requires very little effort and can easily be done alongside larger campus-based

 

campaigns.

 

 

 

NCAFC Resolves:

 

1. Activists should bring regular motions to their students’ union, mandating them to

 

promote specific LabourStart campaigns.

 

2. A model motion on a specific campaign should be produced at least every two months

 

during term time, and promoted through NCAFC.

 

6 | Greek Solidarity Motion

 

Proposed by Royal Holloway Anti-cuts Alliance and AWL Students

 

NCAFC notes:

 

1. We stand in solidarity with Greek workers facing enormous pay cuts and massive attacks

 

on their working conditions and union rights, with the unemployed who increasingly cannot

 

afford basic essentials like food and electricity, and with all oppressed peoples who are

 

exponentially affected by cuts.

 

2. Draconian state repression and police brutality are increasing in Greece. The

 

imprisonment of activists, summary deportation of migrants, and physical attacks by the

 

police with batons, tear gas, water cannons, and lethal rubber bullets on demonstrators are

 

now routine, and can only worsen.

 

3. Fascist street-violence is ever increasing. The threatening homophobic literature

 

distributed by Golden Dawn, its racist migrant sweeps, and its physical attacks on socialists,

 

PAGE | 5

 

anarchists and trade unionists are seriously alarming, and require urgent cross-European

 

anti-fascist action.

 

The NCAFC believes:

 

1. The intensifying struggles of the Greek working class will have a critical effect on the anti-
austerity struggles of the rest of Europe.

 

2. We support the demands of Syriza – to nationalise the banks, to reverse all cuts, and to

 

freeze all debt payments.

 

3. However, we also note that the demands of the state and the bosses will come into

 

immediate conflict with Syriza’s programme. Large sections of the state bureaucracy have

 

already indicated that if Syriza is elected, they will refuse to carry out their programme.

 

Increasing numbers of street fights, imprisonments, massacres of demonstrators, riots,

 

sections of the state fighting against other sections, and expropriations of food and other

 

resources, will lead to virtual civil war. We understand from the horrors of Pinochet’s

 

military dictatorship what will happen if a workers’ government does not meet the threat of

 

open class war.

 

 

 

The NCAFC resolves:

 

1. To approach the Greek student left, including Syriza, and other socialist and anarchist

 

groups, to help organise a cross European conference in Greece in order to:

 

a) Show solidarity with the struggles of the Greek working class against austerity.

 

b) Contribute to establishing a European wide workers’ response to the crisis, and

 

to fascist mobilisations.

 

2. To organise other activities to that end, including NCAFC public meetings and/or a speaker

 

tour across the UK to discuss what is happening in Greece, to organise protests at the Greek

 

embassy in London in solidarity with workers’ struggles, and to facilitate local fundraising

 

events to raise money for strike funds, legal costs, electricity reconnection, demonstration

 

protection, and other important workers’ funds in Greece.

 

3. To circulate information in the British student movement about Greek students’, workers’

 

and anti-fascist struggles.

 

4. To seek to make links with the Greek student movement, and investigate bringing a Greek

 

left student activist over to the UK for a speaker tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PAGE | 6

 

7 | General Orientation

 

Proposed by University of London Union

 

NCAFC Believes:

 

1. The local and national organisations of the UK student movement are mainly a product of

 

a period of major struggles in 2010-2011. These struggles also radicalised a generation of

 

activists, most of whom are coming to the end of their studies now.

 

2. New struggles, like the fight over student debt and workers’ rights, will arise again, and

 

some will reach the intensity of the battles of 2010/11.We should prepare for them. But

 

whenever this revival comes, the student movement today needs to renew itself and build

 

organisations that can keep going even in quieter times.

 

3. A key legacy of 2010 is the existence of active campus left-wing groups, generally with a

 

name relating to ‘anti-cuts’ or ‘defend education’.

 

4. Many of these groups still exist, but generally in a state of decline: they have fewer and

 

more irregular meetings; they struggle to attract new faces; they are generally less active.

 

5. There also exist a number of generic left-wing discussion groups on campuses, for

 

instance more established ones like Birmingham’s ‘Broad Left Society’ and Edinburgh’s

 

‘Socialist Society’, and UCL’s newer ‘Left Forum’.

 

6. Another legacy of 2010 is that NCAFC and general leftwing activists now hold many more

 

students’ union sabbatical positions and, in some cases, control the entire students’ union.

 

 

 

NCAFC Further Believes:

 

1. We support the ‘Birmingham model’ where a campus has:

 

a. A broad leftwing discussion group, which is democratic and not dominated by a

 

faction or specific strain of thought.

 

b. An active anti-cuts or defend education group which is as open and democratic as

 

possible, and affiliated to NCAFC.

 

2. Building these groups, and attracting new members to them, is vital for the longevity of

 

both NCAFC and the student movement in general.

 

3. Winning posts in students’ unions is desirable but not a substitute for building these

 

activist groups.

 

4. Controlling a students’ union can give our campaigns additional funding and resources,

 

legitimacy, and weight.

 

PAGE | 7

 

5. Sabbatical officers have certain administrative powers over the union which can be

 

helpful but can also undermine its campaigning capacity. This includes using bureaucratic

 

methods to solve political problems: for instance, bureaucratic bans of reactionary people,

 

ideas or publications.

 

NCAFC Resolves:

 

1. Activists should create or develop these two kinds of leftwing groups.

 

2. Activists should seek to win students’ union elections, but as a complement to not

 

substitute for building these groups.

 

3. Activists with more experience of this should write up materials and provide support for

 

this.

 

8| Fundraising

 

Proposed by AWL Students

 

NCAFC Notes:

 

1. That NCAFC is a non-profit campaign with no major financial backers or political party

 

support.

 

2. That NCAFC requires money to function – to run its events, and meet its accessibility

 

policies.

 

3. That in general, Student Unions are much richer than NCAFC and have more funds.

 

 

 

NCAFC Believes:

 

1. Believes that members have a collective responsibility for the success of the organisation.

 

Becoming a member of the NCAFC is a commitment to support our work nationally, decide

 

what the NCAFC is going to do – and to help carry out those decisions.

 

NCAFC Resolves:

 

1. To form a ‘fundraising task group’ to work throughout the year on fundraising, through

 

grant applications, fundraising events, donations and other creative ideas.

 

2. That it should be a general rule of thumb, where possible, for expenses related to

 

members attending NCAFC events to be covered by Student Unions, where that member is

 

part of a student union affiliated to NCAFC.

 

PAGE | 8

 

3. That in general, all members of NCAFC should take a conscious turn towards more

 

fundraising activity in the upcoming period.

 

9| Benefits for students

 

Proposed by NCAFC Disabled students Caucus

 

NCAFC Believes:

 

1. Many students take leave of absence for a huge number of reasons and the financial

 

strain on individuals may mean the students are unable to take a leave of absence, therefore

 

putting additional stress on to students.

 

 

 

2. Only students in receipt of DLA or PIP and were full time students that take a leave of

 

absence are eligible for ESA and Housing Benefit.

 

3. There are a number of reasons why students will take a leave of absence, for example

 

bereavement, disability, mental health, financial etc.

 

4. ATOS assessments frequently judge people as “fit to work” when the person is evidently

 

unable to work. Many people’s doctors will sign them off work, as in their professional

 

opinion they are unable to work, after which an ATOS assessment may deem someone fit to

 

work.

 

5. NCAFC should be working with other organisations to campaign for the rights of all

 

students taking a leave of absence, to have financial security and the ability to apply for ESA

 

and JSA.

 

NCAFC Resolves:

 

1. NCAFC will campaign to ensure that job seekers allowance, ESA, housing benefit and all

 

other related benefits are available to students taking a leave of absence.

 

2. NCAFC will contact relevant organisations campaigning against ATOS and take part in or

 

organise a day of action against ATOS.

 

3. NCAFC will build links with the relevant trade unions for DWP and ATOS workers, and

 

unemployed workers unions and groups, to work jointly on campaigning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PAGE | 9

 

10| Housing

 

Proposed by UCL Defend Education

 

NCAFC Believes:

 

1. Housing has become one of the most significant issues in the student movement, and

 

NCAFC has played a positive role in pursuing a radical and effective programme of

 

organisation and political demands centred on tenants unions, coops social housing, rent

 

caps, knowledge of rights and affordability.

 

 

 

NCAFC Further Believes:

 

1. It is vital that we continue to build a housing campaign, but also to learn from what we

 

have experienced in the past year.

 

2. In practice the setting up of tenants unions can be difficult; we need a clearer vision for

 

how to build housing organisations. This basically means building action and solidarity

 

networks before structures in most cases.

 

 

 

11| Building the strikes after the strike

 

Proposed by UCL Defend Education

 

NCAFC Resolves:

 

1. To produce a guide on establishing housing campaigns. [UCL Defend Education anticipates

 

that this motion will be amended in due course to flesh out content].

 

NCAFC Believes:

 

1. The present wave of strikes is one of the most important developments since the 2011

 

disputes. They present an opportunity to focus nationally after years of localisation and

 

failure of the bureaucracies to present any serious coordinated resistance to the

 

government’s programme.

 

2. The role of the student movement must be to give confidence to staff and place pressure

 

on national union leaderships to keep the strike going.

 

NCAFC Resolves:

 

1. To call for action and local mobilisation in support of the strikes following the 3rd

 

December on a specific date.

 

Stop the EDL From Attacking the East End. No Pasaran!

This Saturday, 7th of September, the fascist EDL are marching in Tower Hamlets. Current Meeting point for Anti-Fascists is Altab Ali Park at 11am, opposite Aldgate East tube station, though this may change as plans for the march route and tactics on the day are being made in meetings later this week. Check London Antifascists facebook page for further info. The fash are meeting at 1 at the Tooley Street car park, near London Bridge Station, and they intend to march with a police escort to Altab Ali Park, after which their main target is the East London Mosque, a stones throw away from Altab Ali Park. For the safety of the East London community we must not allow this to happen.

Who are the EDL?

The EDL (English Defense League) are a fascist street gang, dominated by a cross-firm alliance of rival violent hooligan firms, known as Casuals United. The EDL is overwhelmingly made up of old white men, many of whom are former members of the National Front, though they have also recruited some youth into their ranks, and it is led by Tommy Robinson and Kev Caroll, top boys in Luton Towns notorious football firm, the MIGs. Publically, the EDL focus on attacking what they see as extremist Islam, which is how they describe all Muslims, they target Muslims because Muslims tend to be Asian or Black and are mostly foreign or second and third generation immigrants, and the EDL are a white supremacist organization. While Fascist/Nazi street movements in this country have previously focused on scapegoating Jews, and later the Irish, for the problems white working class people face, the EDL see Muslims as an easy target because Muslims are being attacked by british armed forces overseas and by frequent Islamophobic articles in the media. The EDL depict the Imperialist “war on terror” being waged by the British and US governments and western based oil corporations as a war on Muslims or a “war on shariah” as they put it. As self styled nationalist patriots, although too cowardly to serve overseas and face the guns of the mujahideen, they seek to take part in the war by marching into areas where Muslims reside shouting racist and Islamophobic chants and attacking unarmed Muslim men and women as well as Asian owned businesses, Mosques and community centers.

Like all fascists, the EDL are Anti-Working Class. This is a time of economic and political crisis caused by the ruling class –bosses, bankers and politicians- and the capitalist system they operate. The EDL leaders and millionaire funders see the problems working class people face in the recession such as unemployment and poverty, and try to shift the blame onto immigrants and Muslims, to divide the working class on racial lines and delay us from uniting and fighting back against the system. As well as arson and bomb attacks on Mosques, EDL Terrorists have attacked picket lines, students protesting against fee hikes, the occupy movement, the anti-fracking camp in Balcombe and socialist meetings. Aping the strategy of British Imperialists, the EDL try to further divide and rule Asian communities by claiming to support Hindus and Sikhs against Muslims yet this online lie has not stopped the EDL from smashing up a Hindu temple in Dudley, and attempting to do the same thing in Walthamstow. The EDL also claim to support the LGBTQ community, women and Jewish people, but they have shouted misogynistic and transphobic abuse at demonstrations and posted links to Anti-Semitic publications on their facebook and twitter accounts. Never believe their lies.

The EDL once had a couple hundred people on demos and falling, were outnumbered by Antifascists everywhere they went and were a dwindling force, wracked by infighting between supporters of rival football teams. In recent months however they have exploited the media frenzy over the death of drummer lee rigby, and their facebook page has gone from 20 000 likes to over 150 000. While the vast majority of members are keyboard warriors who will never leave their houses for a demo, they still get a couple thousand on marches every weekend and some weekends they march in several cities across the country on the same day, throwing bangers at police and opposition, breaking through police lines and outnumbering antifascists heavily.

Why they are marching into the East End

This is going to be their big demo and their last before the football season starts and they go back to fighting each other. The population of Tower Hamlets is 35%, Muslim- it is home to a thriving Bangladeshi community- and the EDL claim they intend to march into a shariah controlled zone. This is a myth. Walk into the East End and you will see people of every skin colour drinking and smoking spliffs on the roadside and putting up graffiti murals in broad daylight. This is not what a shariah controlled zone looks like. Although an economically deprived area, The East End has been a melting pot of all cultures and a cultural quarter for immigrant groups for centuries, and in recent years has been the birthplace of Grime music and epicenter of the dubstep music scene, as well as a Mecca for graffiti writers. The EDL claim that the Bangladeshi community have not integrated into the East End like previous white immigrant communities. This is a lie, the only community in the area who do not integrate are the white middle class hipsters. Much of the EDLs militant East Anglian division are former East Londoners who left the East End migrating en masse to Essex in a phenomenon known as “white flight” and they intend to march back claiming they are giving East London back to Londoners and Cockneys. As if second generation Bengalis with cockney accents are not true Londoners. They also claim to be marching against Muslim grooming gangs. These things have nothing to do with religion or skin colour, you get white pedophiles as well, look at Jimmy Saville for example. But the EDL are painting a racist stereotype of Asian men as being sexually perverted and misogynistic, and this being sanctioned by Islam, and the idea of Muslim groomers is part of this narrative. The British Union of Fascists in 1936 and the National Front in 1977 failed to march into the East End, the EDL are part of this fascist tradition.

Who is opposing them?

United East End is a coalition made up mostly of members of the Socialist Workers Party, who are involved in Unite Against Fascism and various trade unions, and it also includes a handful of representatives of faith groups including the East London Mosque, and an LGBT rights organization. Although they have prevented this from being debated in meetings, the leadership of UEE have tried to put pressure on the government and the police to ban the EDL from marching, so that they can hold a peaceful family friendly march to celebrate diversity while the EDL march somewhere outside Tower Hamlets. Theresa May banned the EDL from entering Tower Hamlets in 2011 when they last tried to march here however the EDL defied this ban and crossed Tower Bridge into the Borough, but Antifascists who broke away from the UAF march blocked them from entering the community areas. Now the EDL has grown and the government and the police have so far rejected pressure to ban the EDL. Other groups opposing the fascists include Sisters Against the EDL, Shaan, Stand Against Fascism, English Disco Lovers, The Anti-Fascist Network and many “street gangs”. Hacking Collectives including Anonymous, ZHC and Team Poison have been taking down the EDL’s website and facebook pages, as well as finding and spreading the names, numbers and addresses of EDL members so that antifascists can harass them.

The Antifascist Network is a network of militant antifascist groups from across the country including London Antifascists, based in the East End. London Antifascists have produced thousands of flyers and stickers and have been stickering and handing out flyers everyday covering raves, carnival, London mela and estates across the east end and other parts of London. Last Saturday the AFN held an open community discussion which over 250 people, mostly locals came to, and which was followed by a night of live music including rappers and a DJ set from Pandit G of the Asian Dub Foundation, formerly a militant Anti Fascist himself. The AFN intend to stay mobile and stay out of kettles to disrupt the EDL’s plans. They have a network of spotters coordinating with a backroom and stewards so they will be able to inform the crowd where the EDL are at all times. The EDL want to march to Altab Ali Park, named after Altab Ali, a brown man who was murdered there by racists. The EDL want to repeat this atrocity and their key target is the East London Mosque –an EDL member has a tattoo of a Mosque exploding. The AFN will be a large visible “community defense” bloc on the day so dress in black, cover your face and follow the AFN flags if you want to stop the fash from entering the East End and attacking the community.

The police will not be stopping the EDL from carrying out racist hate crimes. The police force is institutionally racist and anti-working class and police officers are often homophobic, sexist and able-ist as well. At EDL and BNP demos the police wear british and English flags sown onto their uniforms and “Help for Heroes” wristbands in solidarity with the fash, and they violently attack peaceful antifascist protesters, sometimes breaking bones. When we opposed a BNP march recently, the police arrested 48 peaceful antifascists and paraded us in front of the BNP in handcuffs while the racists cheered. As Antifascists we must fight back against all forms of racism including racism from street fascists, from the filth, from the army, from politicians and from bosses and the judicial system.

Here are some promo videos:

Locals who have been given flyers say that the EDL are mad for trying to come to Tower Hamlets. Many don’t want the government or police to ban the march because they want the EDL to try and come to Tower Hamlets, so they can show the racist scum what East Londoners are made of. But the EDL are large and militant so we need everyone we can get on the streets if we want to chase them out the area. See you all on the 7th!

Human rights are “a silly game”, according to defence minister Philip Hammond

Philip HammondTonight, over sixty people took part in an LGBTQ rights protest at Royal Holloway University against the Tory Minister for Defence, Philip Hammond, who is also the local MP for Runnymede and Weybridge. Hammond was giving a talk on his defence policy at the university. Hammond has in recent days made his opposition to same-sex marriage public, and has previously voted against many gay rights bills including the repeal of Section 28.  Present at the protest were activists from NCAFC-affiliate the Royal Holloway Anti-Cuts Alliance, representatives from the Students’ Union, student societies including Amnesty, Labour and LGBT, local members of the Young Greens, and from Workers’ Liberty, staff members, and a delegation from the neighbouring college’s NUT branch.

When the planned protest gained momentum, the minister’s aides agreed to meet two students to hear the protestors’ grievances. I was one of them and the other was Union Chair Joe Rayment. We questioned Hammond about his opposition to the Same-Sex Marriage Bill, and he responded that the bill would “redefine marriage” and appealed to its ‘tradition’. We responded that marriage, like many civil institutions, had hardly remained static, and that regardless equal rights should trump tradition. Hammond objected to religious groups being forced to marry same-sex couples, ignoring that the bill does not do this – and that religious opinion about same-sex marriage ranges from conservative opposition to support (for example from the Quakers), and has changed over time as well. He claimed that Maria Miller’s ‘quadruple lock’ of exemptions is not “robust enough” – in other words, does not do enough to limit same-sex marriage.

Hammond suggested that civil partnerships were sufficient, and we stated that for many people marriage was an important religious, or cultural, event, and that civil partnerships represented an ‘equal but separate’ divide in the law. As I wormed through his incoherent excuses, his homophobia surfaced. when questioned why I shouldn’t have the same rights as a heterosexual couple, he brushed the question aside as a “silly game” talking about human rights. And when asked why the state should be allowed to say who can and who cannot have their relationship recognized by the law, he retorted that you wouldn’t allow “two siblings who loved each other to get married”. He equated the love of a same-sex couple with incest*. This is the bile that the right-wing of the Tory party are pushing: the Victorian maxim that anything other than love between a man and a woman is as invalid as incest. He then abruptly left our meeting for his talk discussing Britain’s defence strategy and latest arms deals, pausing only to call use juvenile as we refused to shake his hand.

As he did so, he was greeted by protestors’ chants of ‘Gay, straight, black, white: marriage is a civil right’, ‘Hey,( hey), ho, (ho), homophobia’s got to go’, ‘Say it loud, say it clear, bigots are not welcome here’, ‘Unequal rights? We don’t buy it: we remember the Stonewall riots’, and ultimately, ‘Fuck off Philip Hammond, you homophobe’.

We plan to continue the campaign, having a variety of talks, film showing and action-planning meetings arranged for LGBTQ History month, and will visit Hammond’s surgery to continue protesting. NCAFC LGBTQ caucus will publicise and support any action confronting homophobic politicians, and urge you to organise them too.

Jack Saffery-Rowe

LGBTQ rep (open place)

(Demo photos to follow)

*EDIT: This post was written directly after the meeting with Philip Hammond. We were not allowed recording equipment in the meeting itself and so had to jot down what he said directly afterwards; this was complicated further by the mindset I was in directly after Mr Hammond refused to tell me that I shouldn’t be allowed to marry whom I love. When originally writing this I omitted the details concerning Mr Hammond’s comparison of same-sex marriage with incest. Though he did’t use the word ‘incest’ but strongly implied that you wouldn’t let siblings married. Joe asked “What right does the state have to tell two people who love each other that can’t get married.” he replied”Well, you we don’t allow siblings to get married either”.

Motions to NCAFC national conference

All motions and amendments received for conference are listed below, in no order. This is not the order paper and corrections are pending, so stay tuned. Conference attendees will receive the full order paper on the day.

Motions document

***
No to racist scapegoating – for unity in fighting cuts and racism

Conference believes:

1. In order to minimise rising anger to the Tories’ economic policies of slash and burn, politicians are seeking to divide and rule the 99% by scapegoating and blaming Black people, Muslims, immigrants and asylum seekers for the economic crisis caused by the bankers and government ‘austerity’ policies.

2. Tory Prime Minister David Cameron has been leading the charge with high profile attacks on multiculturalism and immigration. His aim is simple – distract and confuse ordinary people from the real causes of rising unemployment, deteriorating public services and falling living standards to weaken opposition to his government and its cuts agenda. He wants to blame the Burka not the bankers!

3. Across Europe – including Britain – there is a significant rise in Islamophobia and racism, and the far right continues to mobilise. The fascist British National Party secured 1 million votes at the last General Election and the racist and fascist English Defence League have continued to organise violent, anti-Muslim ‘protests’ in 2012.

4. If the Tories’ succeed in scapegoating Black people, Muslims, immigrants and asylum seekers for their attacks on ordinary people the movement against the cuts will be undermined: we need a united movement against cuts which makes no concessions to racist scapegoating.

Conference further believes:

1. The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts must increase the involvement Black students in the leadership of the campaign.

2. 1 in 5 students in Britain is Black, a total of 1 million.

3. Black students are not only disproportionately affected by the cuts to education but also suffer from attempts to scapegoat Black people for the economic crisis.

4. In the interests of strengthening and broadening the anti-cuts movement all white NCAFC platforms should be avoided where possible because they are not representative of the student movement.

Conference resolves:

1. To raise the slogans ‘No to cuts and racist scapegoating’, ‘Blame the bankers not the Burka’ and similar anti racist slogans in our campaigning.

2. To mandate the incoming National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts National Council to ensure that there are Black representation on all NCAFC platforms in the future where possible.

3. To publicise the forthcoming Unite Against Fascism Conference on Saturday 24th February on the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts website.

Proposed by: Kanja Sesay (NUS Black Students’ Officer, Vicki Baars (NUS LGBT Officer), Aaron Kiely (NUS NEC), Sean Rillo Raczka (Vice President ULU), Stef Newton (UCL LGBT Officer & NCAFC Committee), Ben Hayes La Swap College anti cuts group chair, Calum Sherwood (Bristol Labour Students Co-chair) and Fiona Edwards (Student Broad Left)
***
Anti-racism

Conference believes

1. That fighting racism in all its form should be a top priority for
the student movement, as well as for the labour and anti-cuts movements.
2. That there are legitimate differences of opinion among left-wing
students about anti-racism – for instance about how to fight organised
racist and fascist groups like the BNP and EDL.
3. That we should encourage debate and discussion in the student
movement about how to effectively fight racism and fascism.

Conference further believes

1. That in addition to more general anti-racist campaigning, there are
many issues which we as an education campaign can make a particular
contribution in taking up, including:
– Attacks on international students’ rights via the visa system;
– Use of the Prevent agenda to spy on Muslim students, seeking the
collaboration not only of institutions but also unions and student
unions;
– Use of immigration controls to attack migrant workers seeking to
organise in our colleges (a spectacular case being the 2009 SOAS raid);
– Questions of curriculum;
– The need for dedicated black students’ officers (and other
liberation officers), not simply amorphous “equality” or “diversity”
officers;
– No platform for fascists in our unions, and zero tolerance for
racism and racist behaviour.

Conference resolves

1. To ask the NC to discuss and produce a report on integrating these
issues into our campaigning work.
2. To organise an event of training and discussion on fighting racism
in education and in society, either as a dedicated event or as part of
broader liberation training.

Bob Sutton,
Daniel Lemberger Cooper

***

We need a fighting NUS to take on the Tories

Conference believes:
1. The Tories’ cuts agenda is having a devastating impact on students and
education.
2. On a national level the NUS has let students down by failing to
organise any actions or initiatives against the government’s assault on
students and education since its pathetic ‘glow stick’ vigil mourning
higher fees over a year ago in December 2010.
3. That the fight to defend education is not over: NUS must do more to
lead the student fight back against cuts – including by organising
national demonstrations, protests, lobbies of parliament, petitions, media
work and more.
4. Significant numbers of students are prepared to continue the fight
against the government’s attacks on education, even without the leadership
of NUS, as the 10,000 strong national demonstration in Autumn 2011 shows.
5. Even larger numbers of students could be mobilised to defend education
if the NUS took the leading role.

Conference further believes:
1. Within the student movement the organisations that have played a
prominent role in actively defending education include: the NUS LGBT
Campaign, the NUS Black Students’ Campaign, a number of Students’ Unions
particularly the University of London Union (ULU), the National Campaign
Against Fees and Cuts, the Education Activist Network (EAN) and the
Student Broad Left (SBL).
2. That NCAFC should work with the organisations listed above to form a
united challenge to the current NUS leadership at the forthcoming NUS
Conference, including a united slate for the full time officer positions
and a joint campaign for NUS to organise a national demonstration against
the cuts in the Autumn term.

Conference resolves:
1. To actively campaign and lobby for NUS to call a first term national
demonstration in 2012 against cuts, fees, high interest on student debts
and privatisation, to unite the student movement.
2. To work with the NUS LGBT Officers, NUS Black Students’ Officer, the
leadership of ULU, EAN and SBL to organise a united anti-cuts slate for
the NUS National Conference 2012 and to campaign alongside these groups at
the conference to win the vote for NUS to organise a national demo.

Proposed by: Student Broad Left

***

All out 1st March

The UCU have called a strike for 1st March, which can act as a beacon for all workers, students, young unemployed, pensioners – everyone suffering from the Tory government’s austerity agenda to fight back. We call for demonstrations in every town and city, with the aim of drawing in not just students and lecturers on the campuses, but the broader working class and anticuts movement. NCAFC is committed to working with all other students, workers and anticuts organisations in open grassroots local forums to build the widest possible support for action on this day. We will approach EAN and Progressive Students with this goal in mind.

John Bowden Manchester Met

***

Broaden out the struggle

The rise in tuition fees, cuts to EMA, and high youth unemployment have led to increasing hardship for youth in Britain. This will only be exacerbated if the government’s changes to pension schemes for workers are allowed to happen. The student struggle is no longer simply over issues such as fees and privatisation, but part of a wider discontentment, as seen in the August riots and #Occupy movement, and we need to reflect the demands of workers in struggle, the young unemployed and the poor in the actions we plan and in the slogans we raise.

John Bowden Manchester Met

***

Fund Education Not War – Scrap Trident, Scrap Fees

Conference notes:

1. According to the Treasury, by mid 2010 Britain had spent more than £20 billion on the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. The cost of Britain’s war on Libya last year totalled £2 billion.

2. The cost of renewing Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons system has risen to £100 billion.

3. Government figures show that it would have cost just £2bn per year to abolish tuitions fees, before they were trebled.

4. Over the past decade hundreds of thousands of young people have been active in the movements against war and for global peace, from opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to calling for an end to Britain’s nuclear weapons system.

Conference believes:

1. Whilst the government is cutting billions of pounds from education and trebling tuition fees, it remains committed to wasting billions of pounds on war and nuclear weapons.

2. The wars on Afghanistan and Iraq have been a waste of money and a waste of lives. One million dead in Iraq and hundreds of thousands killed in Afghanistan – and at the cost of billions of pounds to the British taxpayer.

3. There are dangers of new wars being launched by the Western powers in the Middle East – the United States and Britain are particularly turning their attention to Syria and Iran. These wars will bring even more death and destruction to the Middle East and could cost the British taxpayer billions of pounds.

4. Britain should withdraw troops from Afghanistan, scrap nuclear weapons and refrain from launching new wars in the Middle East, against Iran and Syria. This would save billions which could be used to fund education and other public services facing the axe.

Conference resolves:

1. For the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts to work with the Stop the War Coalition and Student CND to campaign for the British government to change its twisted spending priorities and fund education not war, to scrap Trident and scrap tuition fees.

2. For the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts to send an open letter to the Foreign Secretary William Hague proposing that the government end the war on Afghanistan, refrain from launching new wars in the Middle East and use the money saved to fund education and other public services. To publish this letter on the NCAFC website.

Proposed by: Sean Rillo Raczka (Vice President ULU), Fiona Edwards (Student CND), Kanja Sesay (NUS Black Students’ Officer), Vicki Baars (NUS LGBT Officer), Nathan Sparling (NUS Scotland LGBT Officer), Aaron Kiely (NUS NEC), Stef Newton (UCL LGBT Officer & NCAFC Committee), Ben Hayes (La Swap College anti cuts group Chair), Calum Sherwood (Bristol Labour Students Co-chair) and the Student Broad Left

***

Affiliation to the Coalition of Resistance

Proposer: Cal Corkery (UEA)

Seconder: Liam McCafferty (UEA)

This conference notes:

1) The Coalition of Resistance against Cuts and Privatisation is a broad-based democratic organisation formed to create an effective and united national resistance to the government’s austerity programme and all of its consequences.

2) The Coalition of Resistance is linked to no particular political party, but committed to open working in a non-sectarian way with all organisations seeking to co-ordinate resistance; and is dedicated to supplementing, rather than supplanting, trade union, student, pensioner and community opposition to austerity measures.

3) The Coalition of Resistance seeks to provide a national umbrella for a network of local and sectorial campaigns; and aspires to support, encourage, coordinate, and facilitate a transfer of experience rather than to command.

4) NCAFC is currently affiliated to the Coalition of Resistance

This conference believes:

1) That any effective resistance to the cuts must be united on a local and national level.

2) That the beliefs and mission aims of the Coalition of Resistance are in line with those of NCAFC.1

3) That NCAFC’s ability to build and maintain an effective campaign against fees and cuts is strengthened by affiliation to the Coalition of Resistance.

This conference resolves:

1) To renew the existing affiliation to the Coalition of Resistance against Cuts and Privatisation.

***
Number controls and access

Conference Notes

– That despite successive detrimental changes to many of the gains won in Higher Education under successive Conservative and Labour administrations, the overall trend over the last 30 years has been towards increased access to university. Many students in HE in Britain in 2011 are the first in their family to do so.

– That one of the characteristics of the new system by which HEIs are allocated their quotas of undergraduates is that they will be permitted to recruit students with AAB at A-level [a cohort of around 70,000 students annually] without restriction.

– That for many ‘top’ institutions, the ability to attract these ‘AAB’ students will become a central component of their ability to compete under the new rules. This has already contributed to a shift in the awarding of financial support away from accordance to need as measured by means testing towards academic performance [grades].

– That there is a strong correlation historically between A-level grades and social background.

– That students who have completed, foundation courses, BTECs and other ‘non-traditional’ pathways to university, or those with A levels that individual institutions may have considered equivalent to AAB, and awarded places to in light of ‘contextual data’ such as school, postcode, etc. do not qualify students to be calculated in this ‘AAB’ bracket.

– That HEIs are currently under obligation to submit targets on ‘Widening Participation’ as part of the OFFA administered access agreements.

– That University of Liverpool Vice Chancellor Howard Newbie has described The government’s policy on number controls and the WP targets nationally as being ‘a car crash waiting to happen.’

Conference Believes

That everyone should have the right to study at university level. Society produces enough wealth to support this and that talk of there being ‘too many people wanting to go to university’ is nonsense.

That the current NUS leadership’s counterpoising questions of access and WP to the fight against the White Paper and for free education is a dodge. The only serious strategy for defending access is to seek to break the White Paper.

That is imperative that the NCAFC seize the initiative on this question, and link the question of HE access coherently to the struggle against fees and for living grants.

Conference Resolves

– To mandate the NC to coordinate producing campaigning materials around access, particularly for use amongst FE/school students.

***

The fight is on – National Student Strike

NCAFC Believes

1. That the government has just announced that its HE Bill will not be published until 2015, delaying it by at least 3 and a half years

2. That NCAFC has been at the forefront of organising against the higher education white paper this year: the November 9th national demo was organised explicitly on the basis of opposing it.

3. Liam Burns, NUS President, has announced his intention to push for a week of action in March, including a national walkout.

NCAFC Further Believes

1. That the dropping of the HE Bill is not a complete victory, and should not placate the student movement. Most of the white paper can be implemented without primary legislation.

2. That the dropping or delaying of the Bill is a sign of weakness from the government, and vindicates the tactics that NCAFC and other campaigns have used thus far – mass demonstrations, direct action and supporting staff in industrial action. We must now move quickly in order to undermine the white paper in earnest.

3. That the student movement hasn’t often had victories (however superficial) on HE funding in recent years. This is one, albeit a partial one, and we should say so.

4. That this situation has opened a new space for our goals and politics, and gives us fresh opportunities to work with and within NUS and local students’ unions.

NCAFC Resolves:

1. To continue to oppose all forms of fees, cuts and privatisation in education – however they are proposed and whoever is implementing them.

2. To give full support to NUS’s walkouts and week of action in March

3. To call for radical mobilisations and direct action for the week of 12th – 16th March, under the title National Student Strike

4. To ensure that the student movement pursues a strategy of escalation after the NUS week of action, rather than demobilisation

5. To keep open the option of further walkouts and strikes in third term
Michael Chessum

***

NCAFC NC and Communications

Conference Notes:

1) It was decided in June 2011 to elect a National Committee (NC) in order to broaden the regional and individual participation in NCAFC’s decision making.

2) That currently discussions on the NC e-list cannot be viewed by non-NC members

Conference Believes:

1) That the NCAFC is useful to education activists as: a coordinating body, source of resources and means for conveying ideas in the media

2) NCAFC is only as effective as it is democratically and collectively run

3) The structures adopted by the NCAFC in June 2011 have incompletely addressed the representation of oppressed groups and non-London regions in NCAFC decision-making and public appearances

4) The status quo still inhibits people’s involvement and development within the campaign. This is especially problematic for marginalised groups

Conference resolves:

1) That the NC e-list be a general organisational e-list open to all NCAFC supporters and delegates from anti-cuts groups

2) Monthly NC meetings, either online or physical, advertised well in advance so that anyone can come along

3) The creation of a “communications and inclusivity” working group, to be responsible for:

– Monitoring representation of minority groups in NCAFC media appearances, internal roles, conferences and other events.

– Monitoring the implementation of policy and internal structures

– Organising regular training in media, online communications and meeting facilitation skills for less experienced people

– Ensuring that all policy and minutes are available on the NCAFC website

– Ensuring that at least quarterly physical meetings of the NC happen, are advertised, and alternate between different cities in the country including the devolved regions

– Monitoring what goes on the organisational e-list, with a view to ensuring that no major/ political decisions are taken without being sent around the main e-list

4) That the working group be comprised of:

– All liberation officers

– Two co-chairs who do not sit on the NC, elected at conference

– Open meetings and communications

Proposed: Tali Janner-Klausner

Seconded: Michael Chessum

Amendment A:

Delete Resolves 1

Proposed: Ed Maltby, NCAFC NC

***
MOTION: Elections at NUS National Conference

Over the past year NCAFC has arguably played a bigger role in defending education than any other force in the student movement. As the success of November’s national demonstration showed, we are willing to organise action ourselves when NUS won’t.

Nonetheless, we take the official structures of our student unions and of our national union seriously, because we want to use every possible channel to win the mass-mobilising, fighting student movement we need.

We believe that the candidates below are a good reflection of the strength of the student movement, and we put their names forward for election. We empower the incoming National Committee to enter into negotiations with other groups who share our vision for NUS in order to ensure the best possible presence at National Conference.

* National President: Claire Locke (London Met) or Edd Bauer (Birmingham University)
* Vice President (Higher Education): Michael Chessum (UCL and NEC)
* Vice President (Further Education): Rose Anderson (Hull College)
* In the event that Claire Locke runs for National President, Vice President (Society and Citizenship): Edd Bauer (Birmingham University)
* Vice President (Welfare): Daniel Lemberger Cooper (Royal Holloway)

NCAFC will support the following candidates for the Block of 15 elections:

* Mike Williamson (Edinburgh University) for Open Place
* Michael Chessum (UCL and NEC) for Open Place
* Another candidate will also be on the ballot paper for Open Place, so that if Michael Chessum wins VPHE, NCAFC still runs 3 Block candidates overall.
* Rose Anderson (Hull College) for FE Place

Proposed by:

Michael Chessum

Edd Bauer

James McAsh

Daniel Lemberger Cooper

Jade Baker
Amendment A:

Add: “The new National Committee should enter into negotiations with
other forces on the student left with a view to creating a joint
slate. The object of these negotiations should be to strengthen the
slate and promote the politics endorsed by this conference.

A joint slate should be agreed on the basis of consensus between all
groups in negotiations. If no consensus can be reached, then the NC is
instructed to stand the strongest possible list of candidates.

Amendment B:

Delete: “National President” ; “Vice President (Higher Education)”;
“Vice President (Further Education)”; “In the event that Claire Locke
runs for National President, Vice President (Society and
Citizenship)”; “Vice President (Welfare)”:
NCAFC will support the following candidates for the Block of 15 elections:
“ Open Place”; “FE Place”

Add: The new NC is empowered to decide, over the course of
negotiations and NC meetings, which candidate should be stood for
which place with a view to creating the strongest possible slate.

Proposed: Ed Maltby

Seconded: Bob Sutton

***

Unity on the Student Left
Proposer: Jamie Woodcock, Goldsmiths SU

The announcement of the ‘indefinite’ postponement of the HE Bill means the stakes for our movement are very high. Nevertheless, we are confronted with the wholesale privatisation of our universities, whilst the effects of cuts and the new fee regime are already being felt up and down the country. The tasks facing us are larger than can be achieved by any one existing grouping of activists.

The demonstration on 9th November last year showed there remains a substantial student left who were drawn into activity in the autumn of 2010; however it also showed the limits of what can be achieved when one grouping strikes out on its own without first building wider agreement. The truth is if we are to stop the White Paper then far more is needed, and it will have to be built through all available (both official and unofficial, student and staff) channels.

Opposition to the White Paper must be co-ordinated ideologically, industrially, and on the streets and campuses. This means working alongside academics, UCU both nationally and locally, and the existing student organisations. It means sometimes patient work to get those forces on board, with at the same time a real sense of the urgency of the task. No one group can claim either leadership or ownership of this struggle, and we should be wary of striking out on our own prematurely.

A key part of this will be pressuring NUS to take action. This should be done through petitioning, lobbying, activity in local student unions, and a concerted push for Conference 2012. One tactic in this broader strategy is a united left electoral challenge for the leadership positions. This would allow us to bring pressure to bear on other candidates, particularly those standing for re-election. No one group has the right to declare, dominate or control this united challenge.

Conference Resolves:

– To work towards a united left slate for NUS Elections which is able to bring pressure on the leadership to take action on these issues.

***

A c t i o n f o r E d u c a t i o n !

Proposers: S e a n R i l l o R a c z k a a n d M a r k B e r g f e l d , E d u c a t i o n A c t i v i s t N e t w o r k

* N o t e s : ,

* 1 . T h e U C U h a s c a l l e d i t s n e x t d a y o f i n d u s t r i a l a c t i o n o v e r p e n s i o n s o n M a r c h 1 s t

* 2 . T h e N U S h a s c a l l e d a n a t i o n a l l o b b y o f P a r l i a m e n t o n W e d n e s d a y 7 t h M a r c h 2 0 1 2 a g a i n s t c h a n g e s i n f e e s , e d u c a t i o n c u t s , a n d t h e d e b t r e g i m e ,

* 3 . F u r t h e r , N U S h a s c a l l e d a w e e k o f a c t i o n f r o m M a r c h 1 2 – 1 6 t h a n d f o r a n a t i o n a l s t u d e n t w a l k – o u t t h i s t e r m . ,

* F u r t h e r n o t e s : ,

* 1 . T h e 5 2 , 0 0 0 s t r o n g n a t i o n a l d e m o n s t r a t i o n c a l l e d b y U C U a n d N U S i n N o v e m b e r 2 0 1 0 w a s t h e l a r g e s t e d u c a t i o n d e m o n s t r a t i o n t o d a t e . ,

* B e l i e v e s : ,

* 1 . T h e f i g h t o v e r p e n s i o n s i s c e n t r a l t o t h e f i g h t a g a i n s t t h e H E W h i t e P a p e r a s b o t h s e e k t o d r i v e d o w n l a b o u r c o s t s . P r i v a t e p r o v i d e r s , f o r e x a m p l e , h a v e w a r n e d W i l l e t t s t h a t t h e H E m a r k e t i s i n a c c e s s i b l e d u e t o t h e c u r r e n t p u b l i c s e c t o r p e n s i o n s s c h e m e ,

* 2 . T h e l o b b y i s a n i m p o r t a n t o p p o r t u n i t y t o s h o w s t u d e n t s c o n t i n u e d o p p o s i t i o n t o t h e g o v e r n m e n t i n t h e f a c e o f t h e i n d e f i n i t e p o s t p o n e m e n t o f t h e H E B i l l ,

* 3 . T h e c a l l f o r a n a t i o n a l s t u d e n t w a l k – o u t r e p r e s e n t s a r e a l s h i f t f r o m N U S i n r e g a r d s t o t h e t a c t i c s i t e m p l o y s . ,

* F u r t h e r B e l i e v e s : ,

* 1 . W e a r e s t r o n g e s t w h e n t h e o f f i c i a l u n i o n s s u c h a s N U S a n d U C U a l o n g s i d e t h e u n o f f i c i a l n e t w o r k s s u c h a s C o R , E A N , N C A F C , N o C o n f i d e n c e , C a m p a i g n f o r P u b l i c U n i v e r s i t y m o b i l i z e a n d a c t t o g e t h e r . ,

* R e s o l v e s : ,

* 1 . T o j o i n o t h e r s i n c a l l i n g f o r s t u d e n t s t r i k e s o n t h e r e s p e c t i v e d a y s o f i n d u s t r i a l a c t i o n t a k e n b y U C U o t h e r u n i o n s . ,

* 2 . T o w e l c o m e N U S s c a l l f o r a n a t i o n a l l o b b y a n d s u p p o r t t h e c a l l f o r a f e e d e r m a r c h o n t h e d a y o f t h e n a t i o n a l N U S l o b b y , a n d w o r k t o g e t h e r t o e n s u r e t h a t m a x i m u m t u r n o u t f o r t h e d a y . ,

* 3 . T o w e l c o m e N U S s c a l l f o r a w e e k o f a c t i o n a n d h e l p t o c o – o r d i n a t e i n l o c a l u n i v e r s i t y / c o l l e g e s g e n e r a l u n i o n m e e t i n g s a n d s t u d e n t a s s e m b l i e s a n d m e e t i n g s t o d i s c u s s w h a t t h e m o s t e f f e c t i v e s t r a t e g y a n d t a c t i c s f o r t h a t w e e k a r e . ,

* 4 . T o s u p p o r t t h e c a l l f o r N U S t o n a m e a d a y f o r a n a t i o n a l a u t u m n d e m o n s t r a t i o n n o w . I f N U S d o e s n t f o l l o w t h a t c a l l , t o w o r k t o g e t h e r w i t h t h o s e n e t w o r k s t o m a x i m i z e t h e t u r n o u t f o r s u c h a m o b i l i z a t i o n

***
Privatisation and the HE Bill

Conference notes

1. That while all the facts are not yet clear, it appears that the government plans to significantly delay a vote on the Higher Education Bill, originally slated for this year. It may be delayed until 2013, or 2015 or even later. This delay makes its passage significantly less likely.

2. The HE Bill contains important legal changes which are important to the introduction of private providers for Higher Education. It is not the whole of the HE White Paper project, but it is an important component of it.

3. Delaying the HE Bill or even trying to kick it into the long grass is damaging for David Willetts, potentially humiliating for the government, and it shows the strain put on the Coalition by two years of mobilisations.

4. The HE White Paper project has not gone away, and while it may be altered, the Government is still willing and able to introduce much of its substance without primary legislation, through administrative decree.

5. The NUS, rather than declaring victory, has called a lobby of parliament on 7 March, a week of action 12-16 March and a walkout day this term

6. That the UCU will take strike action over pensions on 1 March

Conference believes

1. That the developments with the HE Bill are a vindication of the whole strategy of the NCAFC over the last two years – the decision to call walkouts; to pile on pressure at every level; to use ambitious demands that fit people’s needs, rather than political triangulation; to support and organise direct action; to unilaterally call demonstrations when the NS would not; to rely on the activist strength of students, workers and our supporters, rather than on back-room Westminster manoeuvre.

2. That these developments mark not a lull in hostilities, but rather the moment for us to pile even more pressure on the government and education bosses and exploit their retreat

3. That the NUS’s decision to call a week of action and walkouts is to be welcomed

4. That based on the previous record of the NUS, NCAFC supporters will need to organise independently to ensure that the protest actions are effective and organised around good slogans

5. That we support strike action over pensions and welcome the UCU’s decision to take action

Conference further believes

1. We should not be content with a partial scrapping of the HE White Paper, or with merely fending off attacks. We want free education, a publicly-owned, democratically-controlled education sector, funded by taxing the rich and big business, and a living grant for all students.

2. That the NUS is advancing a radically less ambitious, inadequate list of demands which fundamentally accept the current shape of the education sector and conceive of students as consumers

Conference resolves

1. To continue to fight against the implementation of the HE White Paper, against the new funding model, against cuts in central funding and against the entry of private providers into the framework of the public HE sector.

2. To demand the immediate scrapping of all the measures in the HE White Paper and to demand that Vice Chancellors pledge to oppose the White Paper

3. To raise positive demands for the kind of education system we want to see

4. To organise actions in the run-up to the 1 March strike – rallies, flash occupations, local demonstrations, press releases and stunts in support of the strike, in concert with local UCU branches and the wider labour movement

5. To issue a statement of solidarity addressed to the UCU

6. To support the NUS actions and independently organise an NCAFC week of action including walkouts, occupations, demonstrations and other direct action directed against education bosses, VCs and the government in the period 7-16 March and to mandate the NC to produce appropriate literature and guidance for local groups

Proposed,

Daniel Lemberger Cooper, RHUL

Seconded

Ed Maltby, NCAFC NC

***

Class and identity

Preamble: the proposers of this motion believe that the motion on the
setting-up of a caucus for “lower socio-economic background students”
has opened up an important debate on how we understand class. While we
are not necessarily hostile to CG’s and NB’s motion or its motivation,
we believe that it approaches the question of class from a
sociological angle, and not from a Marxist angle. We are against the
conception of class oppression as something that can be solved through
tolerance, understanding and mitigation of “privilege”, as we believe
that class can and must be abolished

as a precondition for the liberation of humanity. We would like this
motion to be debated alongside CG’s and NB’s motion.

Conference notes:

1) There is a real problem with the domination of the student
(and wider) left by white men from middle-class,
educationally-privileged backgrounds.

2) Capitalist society is based on class division within which
the capitalist class economically, politically and ideologically
subjugates those who live by selling their labour. This subjugation is
experienced as a multitude of different oppressions.

3) However, a “liberation caucus” for people who “self identify”
as coming from a “lower socio-economic background” would not solve the
problem.

4) Class is not merely a system of oppression of a particular
group – and it is not a socio-cultural identity. It is the basic
system which structures our society – the way we organise all economic
life. It springs from the ownership of all industry by a minority
which makes profit from the labour of the dispossessed majority, which
includes all those who have nothing to sell but their labour.
Membership of the working class is based on one’s place in the economy
– boss or employee – and not on a ‘self-defined’ cultural identity.

5) Classes, and class oppression, can only be finally abolished
by taking all economic life into democratic, common ownership. Only
the working class has the interest and the social power to achieve
this.

6) The only way to fight against, and advance towards the
abolition of, the economic, political and ideological subjugation of
working-class people in the here and now, is to assert the interests
of the working class in society through industrial and political
struggle. An aspect of this is that a heightening of the class
struggle will draw more working-class people into political and
economic organisations and create a liberating process of
self-education and subjective change.

7) The struggle waged by the NCAFC – against austerity in
education and for a democratic system of education available to all –
is a class battle, in which we find ourselves on the side of the
working class nationally and internationally. We will, in the final
instance, rely on the strength of the working-class movement to win.
The working-class movement is our fundamental ally in this fight. Our
common cause is against subjugation and profit and for the enrichment
of human life.

Conference Resolves

1. To reaffirm our solidarity with the workers’ movement and our
understanding that the working class movement is key agent of social
change

2. To reaffirm that our fight is a class fight, against capitalist
domination and profit, and that the fight for free and
democratically-controlled education is a fight to assert working-class
interests

3. To mandate the new NC to launch a drive to create closer unity
between the student movement and the workers’ movement, through
circulating regular information on the workers’ movement to student
activists, and designing educational materials and a training day on
labour movement organising, student-worker unity

4. To mandate the NC to prepare training materials and a training
day on activist skills, including public speaking and writing
political propaganda, to help us self-educate, self-develop and
challenge the domination of the radical left by over-educated, white,
middle-class men. Looking at the historical tradition of independent
working-class self-education (including initiatives such as the Plebs’
League) may be informative here.

***
Defend our rights at work

Conference notes:

1. That the UK government is currently overhauling employment law.

2. That from April 6th 2012 workers will not be able to claim unfair dismissal until they have worked for two years in a position.

3. That 26% of private sector workers and 20% of public sector workers in the UK have been with their employers for less than two years and will therefore face working with no job security.

4. That the unemployment rate in the UK (as of October 2011) stands at 8.6% overall, while for people aged 16-17 it is 38.4% and for 18-24 year olds it is 20.1%.

5. That in 2006 a similar change, the contrat première embauche (CPE), was proposed in France.

6. That the CPE would have intoduced a trial period of two years within which employees could have been sacked without cause.

7. That the CPE would have applied only to workers under the age of 26, while the changes being introduced in the UK will apply to workers of any age.

8. That the CPE was greeted with mass resistance from students and workers: half the universities in France were closed by student blockades, thousands of students attended mass rallies, millions marched against the proposals, workplaces and roads were blocked and occupied.

9. That the protests were successful in forcing the French government to withdraw their plans.

10. That so far there has been no similar campaign and little publicity about the proposed changes to employment law in the UK.

11. That due to current anti-strike laws it would be illegal for unions here to ballot over these changes.

Conference believes:

1. That the current crisis is being used as an excuse by the government to remove workers rights.

2. That due both to the higher unemployment rate experience by them, the shorter period of time they have been in employment and the type of work they engage in, young people are likely to suffer disproportionately due to these changes.

3. That the imposition of a two year limit for full employment rights will intensify the precarization of work and encourage employers to hire more people on short term and temporary contracts.

Conference resolves:

1. To coordinate a national campaign against these changes in employment law.

2. To work with other campaign groups, trade unions, political organisations and anti-cuts activists to organise resistance to this attack.

3. To encourage demonstrations, occupations and other actions across campuses and cities to raise the profile of these changes and force the government to reconsider.

Proposer: Alasdair Thompson (Edinburgh Uni Anti-Cuts Coalition)

Seconder(s): Max Crema (Edinburgh Uni Anti-Cuts Coalition), Gordon Maloney (Aberdeen Defend Education Campaign)

***

Take back your campus motion

Believes

1. A growing number of students across the country are dissatisfied with many current systems of student union governance. Many complaints are centred on the belief that the voice of students is being ignored and that structures are opaque, unaccountable and undemocratic.

2. There are considerable differences in governance between student unions. Birmingham University has the lowest proportion of students on the Board of Trustees: only half of the 14 trustees are students or student officers. Imperial College London is the next lowest, where 60% of trustees are students or student officers. By contrast, 100% of the trustees at LSE and Glasgow University are students or student officers.

3. Many students’ unions hold regular general meetings – LSE holds weekly GMs with full decision making powers under company law. Many other student unions do not have regular general meetings, however, and everywhere students and officers are often over-ruled or constrained by Trustee Boards, many of whom are unelected non-students, acting in line with a bureaucratic conception of legal duties rather than the will of their members.

4. Democratic accountability for officers has become similarly patchy. In some students’ unions, the power to remove an officer has been taken entirely out of the hands of students.

5. University governance has similar democratic disparities. Universities like Edinburgh, Oxford and Cambridge have elected senior positions and large representative and elected decision making bodies. Many universities have “courts”, “senates” and “councils” with vary proportions of elected members.

6. University governance has become significantly more corporate at many universities, with much power being taken out of the hands of academics and placed with unelected managers. This is especially true for newer universities, but

7. Campaigns are already underway to democratise campuses. At UCL, students have just held a vote of no confidence in their Vice Chancellor, Malcolm Grant. At UCL and a number of other campuses, there is now a campaign for democratic governance.

8. Concentration of power has gone alongside a concentration of wealth: the salaries of university Vice Chancellors have risen by an average of about £10,000 in the last year, and the number of Vice Chancellors and other senior managers “earning” over £100,000 has sky-rocketed in the past decade.

9. Students who have attempted to fight against fees, managerialism and privatisation on campus have been repeatedly faced with disciplinaries, injunctions and police victimisation. This has escalated significantly since NCAFC last met.

Further Believes

1. Universities should be independent and democratic, and should be run in for the public good rather than for private interests.

2. Student unions should democratic and responsive to needs of students. They should be run wholly by students and seek to enact the democratic will of students, and should not internalise the logic of years of anti-union reform by successive governments.

3. If universities and student unions continue to become more undemocratic, the goals of NCAFC will become harder to achieve.

4. That NCAFC, and the student movement as a whole, has a duty to challenge threats to students’ ability to resist fees, cuts and privatisation on campuses, including injunctions, police on campus and managerial victimisation.

Resolves

1. NCAFC cuts will launch a major campaign called “take back your campus”, designed to

* Win a public argument for democratic university governance, and see it fought for on every campus
* Win a better form of student union governance, and build a consensus around our principles on it
* Defend the right and ability of students, staff and activists to fight for their rights and the future of education

2. NCAFC will push for NUS to take up this campaign, in particular in its guidance on governance and trusteeship to students’ unions and its willingness to fight against regressive government reforms to unions.

Mandates

We mandate the incoming National committee to oversee this campaign.

***
UCU Elections

Conference:
Notes:
* Voting in the the University and College Union (UCU) elections
begins in early February 2012.
* Mark Campbell and Angie McConnell have been endorsed by UCU Left as
left-wing candidates for General Secretary and Vice-President.
* Both Campbell and McConnell are the only opposition to candidates,
including incumbent general secretary Sally Hunt, who have
consistently opposed industrial action by UCU.
* Sally Hunt also publicly condemned the student occupation of 30 Millbank.

Believes:
* Lecturers care about the student voice;
* Left activists have consistently supported & engaged well with NCAFC
and other student activist groups;
* A key opportunity exists for UCU to take on a left leadership;
* A key opportunity exists for UCU to take on a leadership more in
tune with students’ needs.

Resolves:
* To encourage NCAFC supporters to approach UCU grassroots activists
and make themselves available to support left-wing UCU candidates
where practical.
* To endorse Mark Campbell, Angie McConnell and other left candidates
in the upcoming UCU elections.

Proposed: Edmund Schluessel, CAFCC, Cardiff University UCU executive
committee (personal capacity) & UCU Cymru council (personal capacity)

***

> International Student Fees:
> Conference:
> Notes:
> * Universities in the UK are increasingly relying on international
> student fees.
> * Some universities charge international students extremely high fees,
> exceeding £19,800/year (Undergraduate: Arts & Humanity),
> £20,750/year(Undergraduate: Science and Lab), £20,450/year (PG: Arts&
> Humanity), £25, 000/year (PG: Science & Lab), MBA: £37,229/year.
> * International student fees are an example of an unregulated market.
> * International student fees are rising quickly, with students being
> handed higher bills part-way through their courses in some instances
>
> Believes:
> * “The working class has no country.” The same principles should apply
> to international students’ fees as to UK-domiciled students.
> * Education is a right, regardless of country of origin.
>
> Resolves:
> * To call for international student fees to be equal to UK-domiciled
> student fees, with a goal of fully state-funded education without
> tuition fees for all.
> * To encourage NUS to take this position.
>
> Proposed: Christina Yan Zhang, NUS International Students Officer
>; Edmund Schluessel, Cardiff University>

***
>
> Disciminatory immigration
> Conference:
> Notes:
> * UK Home Secretary Theresa May stated that international students
> “count towards 2/3 of the net migration in the UK”.
> * May has announced plans to reduce international students number by 80,000
> * May and other members of the government have publicly opposed key
> portions of the Human Rights Act legally protecting routes for
> students to migrate to the United Kingdom.
> * Further government plans will make it more difficult for
> international student graduates of UK universities to continue study
> and work in the UK, such as:
> ** Restriction of student visas to five years, while completing a
> Masters Degree-level course in Scotland takes six years;
> ** Requiring students to find a job with an income of over
> £20,000/year for post-study work, while the average wage in much of
> the UK is as low as £17,000; this is especially an issue in Scotland,
> Wales, Northern Ireland which face lower average salaries than elsewhere
> in the UK.
> * Research indicates immigration of skilled workers helps, rather than
> harms, the economy.
> * A similar experiment in drastically slashing student visa numbers in
> Australia resulted in massive harm to the multicultural experience on
> campus, as well as academic research in that
> country.
>
>
> Believes:
> * A thriving culture of international exchange is critical to academic
> Freedom, multicultural experience of all students on campus, and
> productive research;
> * International students, as a vulnerable part of the migratory
> community, are being singled out by the UK government as a scapegoat
> to distract from the government’s poisonous economic policies;
>
> Resolves:
> * To campaign against the plan to single out international students as
> the easy target to reduce “Net Migration”
> * To mandate NCAFC to work with and lobby NUS to launch a national
> campaign to take international students out of the “Net Migration” debate.
> * To mandate NCAFC to work with NUS International Students Campaign and
> NUS Black Students Campaign to defend the equal human rights and working
> rights of international students
> * To mandate NCAFC to work closely with NUS and NUS International
> Students Campaign on international students immigration related issues.
>
> Proposed: Christina Yan Zhang, NUS International Students Officer
>; Edmund Schluessel, Cardiff University>

>
> Racism and International Students
> Conference:
> Notes:
> * Lancaster University student Anuj Bidve, an Indian citizen, was
> murdered in Salford on 26 December 2011. Police are treating the
> murder as racially motivated.
> * Kaplan College student Ashraf Haziq, a Malaysian citizen, was beaten,
> then robbed in London
> on 8 August 2011.
> * Research carried out by NUS indicates that hate incidents against
> students are widely underreported, often because students do not feel
> police will take the incidents seriously.
> * Hate incidents and racially-motivated crimes against students cross
> “black/white” ethnic lines, with students of Eastern European origin
> increasingly targeted.
> * Hate groups in the UK such as the EDL have increasingly turned their
> attention to Eastern Europeans, Catholics, and other groups not
> included under the traditional scope of “BME”.
>
> Believes:
> * The UK government has tacitly encouraged a pre-existing mood of
> discrimination against all non-English residents of the UK;
> * It is common that Students’ unions’ structures are less effective in
> engaging with and supporting
> international students than they support UK-domiciled students;
>
> Resolves:
> * To recognize the systemic discrimination in the UK against non-English
> people and people of all minority religions and ethnicity;
> * To create a dedicated International Students Rep position in NCAFC’s
> structures to campaign on issues of international students.
> * To mandate NCAFC to work with NUS International Students Campaign and
> NUS Black Students Campaign to challenge racism against international
> students.
> * To mandate NCAFC to work with NUS International Students Campaign and
> NUS Black Students Campaign to produce a briefing to all students union
> to ensure the safety of international students against all forms of racism.
> * To mandate NCAFC to work with NUS International Students Campaign and
> NUS Black Students Campaign to engage more international students in
> events advocating multiculturalism on campus and in the UK, eg “One
> Society, Many Cultures”.
>
>
> Proposed: Christina Yan Zhang, NUS International Students Officer
>; Edmund Schluessel, Cardiff University

***
Defend our pensions

Conference notes:

1. That pensions of workers in local government and education are currently under attack from government and employers.

2. That the proposed changes will increase employee contributions, raise the retirement age, change the inflation uprating from RPI to the generally lower CPI measure and result in an absolutely smaller pension for most workers.

3. That in the USS pension scheme, which applies to academic and academic-related staff in pre-92 HE institutions, a two-tier system will be created where existing members retain a final salary scheme while new entrants will become part of a care-averaged (CARE) scheme.

4. That the USS pension scheme was valued to be in surplus in 2008 and has a positive cash-flow.

5. That on November 30th of last year the UK saw the largest display of collective industrial action in decades.

6. That in light of this display the government made approaches to public sector and university trade unions and made a new ‘final offer’.

7. That the UCU NEC voted by a margin of 3 to 1 to reject the proposal for the TPS scheme, which covers staff in post-92 HE and FE institutions, and that the proposals were also rejected by other teaching unions the NUT and NUSUWT.

8. That the university employers association have offered to hold two reviews, relating to the CARE scheme for new entrants and issue around redundancy, for the USS scheme.

9. That on Tuesday January 31st UCU will hold a special conference to decide whether to suspend or escalate action in the USS dispute.

Conference believes:

1. That everyone deserves a decent pension.

2. That the current attack on university and public sector pensions is motivated not by a desire to make the schemes affordable but as a means for government and management to save money and represents a direct attack on workers.

3. That young people not yet in pension schemes will be disproportionately hit by the proposed changes and it is therefore in our own interests to support action in defence of pension schemes.

4. That industrial action was instrumental in forcing the minor concessions already offered in both the USS and TPS pension schemes and that further improvements will only happen if action is escalated not suspended.

5. That the proposals currently on offer for both USS and TPS represent a deterioration of previous conditions, will require workers to work longer, pay more and get less and should therefore be rejected.

Conference Resolves:

1. To issue a statement condemning the government and employers’ proposals to reform the TPS and USS pension schemes.

2. To call on UCU not to back down while their members’ interests are still threatened and while momentum from November 30th and the recent partial victory over the HE bill still exists.

3. To offer our unconditional support to UCU in whatever action they deem necessary, including but not limited to extended strike action and non-marking of exams, in order to win their fight and to call on the NUS and students’ unions to do the same.

4. To work with UCU at both a national and local branch level to support future action and to highlight the need for solidarity between staff and students.

5. To call for a campaign of direct action including occupations of university buildings in support of future action.

Proposed: Alasdair Thompson (Edinburgh Uni Anti-Cuts Coalition)

Seconded: Kate Harris, Mike Williamson (both Edinburgh Uni Anti-Cuts Coalition), Craig Gent (Royal Holloway Anti-Cuts Alliance).

***

Don’t Attack Iran
Proposed: Sean Rillo Raczka

This Conference notes:

1.1 The recent discussions of a possible future war with Iran over an alleged nuclear weapons programme.

1.2 That UK officials have indicated a plan is in place to engage militarily with Iran and that ministers in Israel are calling for a ‘pre-emptive strike’ against Iran.

1.3 That former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Hans Blix, who was instrumental in the decision to go to war with Iraq, has condemned war with Iran as having the potential to lead to “serious and devastating conflagration in the Middle East which could undermine regional peace and stability”.

1.4 That estimates say that between 600,000 and 1,000,000 Iraqi civilians were killed as a result of the war and that many more were made homeless and displaced.

1.5 That the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost Britain £20bn – £13bn more than is spent on Higher Education.

1.6 That the Stop the War Coalition has condemned a war with Iran.

This Conference believes:

2.1 That we must not allow ourselves to be led down the road to war based on spurious accusations and double-standards.

2.2 That war with Iran would be disastrous for the stability and peace of the Middle East and could plunge the entire region into conflict.

2.3 That the loss of life, human and financial cost of engaging in military action against Iran would be unacceptably high, and that spending exorbitant sums waging war when cuts are being made to the most vulnerable in society is entirely immoral.

2.4 That Israel’s insistence that, as a nuclear power, ‘all options are on the table’ is incredibly worrying and reckless.

2.5 That nuclear weapons are a serious and impending threat, but that war is not the solution to this problem.

2.6 That nuclear disarmament should be a long term goal, not just in the Middle East, but for the international community as whole

This Union resolves:

3.1 To condemn any future with war with Iran, and release statements to this effect.

3.2 To organise with others to actively oppose military action against Iran.

3.3 To call for negotiation and co-operation in order to bring about a sustainable plan for peace in the Middle East.

3.4 To advocate for nuclear disarmament and to support organisations which campaign for disarmament.

Amendment A:
Add: “1.7 The war waged by the tyrannical, misogynist, homophobic,
anti-working class regime against Iranian student activists and trade
unionists, women and LGBT people”

“3.5 To make links with left-wing Iranian student organisations and
Iranian trade unionist and socialist groups, and reaffirm our
solidarity with them against both war and the regime led by
Ahmadinejad”

Proposed by Bob Sutton, LgoS

***

March 7 Demonstration

Notes:

1. The UCU has called its next day of industrial action over pensions on March 1st

2. The NUS has called a national lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 7th March 2012 against changes in fees, education cuts, and the debt regime

3. Further, NUS has called a week of action from March 12-16th and for a national student walk-out this term.

Further notes:

1. The 52,000 strong national demonstration called by UCU and NUS in November 2010 was the largest education demonstration to date.

Believes:

1. The fight over pensions is central to the fight against the HE White Paper as both seek to drive down labour costs. Private providers, for example, have warned Willetts that the HE market is inaccessible due to the current public sector pensions scheme

2. The lobby is an important opportunity to show students’ continued opposition to the government in the face of the indefinite postponement of the HE Bill

3. The call for a national student walk-out represents a real shift from NUS in regards to the tactics it employs.

Further Believes:

1. We are strongest when the official unions such as NUS and UCU alongside the unofficial networks such as CoR, EAN, NCAFC, No Confidence, Campaign for Public University mobilize and act together.

Resolves:

1. To join others in calling for student strikes on the respective days of industrial action taken by UCU other unions.

2. To welcome NUS’s call for a national lobby and support the call for a feeder march on the day of the national NUS lobby, and work together to ensure that maximum turnout for the day.

3. To welcome NUS’s call for a week of action and help to co-ordinate in local university/colleges general union meetings and student assemblies and meetings to discuss what the most effective strategy and tactics for that week are.

4. To support the call for NUS to name a day for a national autumn demonstration now. If NUS doesn’t follow that call, to work together with those networks to maximize the turnout for such a mobilization.

***

PROPOSAL FOR THE FUTURE DIRECTION OF THE NCAFC

Conference notes:

– There has recently been a downturn in popular involvement in the student movement. This has been shown in the decreased attendance of national demos. November 9th saw 10,000 attend (at the most optimistic estimate), as opposed to the 50,000 during the 2010 mobilisations.

– The increase in anti-cuts activity in other sectors, as shown with the electricians strike, and the November the 30th strike. These struggles against cuts are now predominantly led by people struggling over the conditions of their workplaces, employment terms and pay, whether they are employed in the education sector or not.

Conference believes:

– The NCAFC has a responsibility as the leading network of student activists to fight against cuts in any, and all, forms they take.

– As a consequence of the changes described in conference notes, we should be looking towards developing a new approach orientated towards the new struggles.

Conference resolves:

1. The NCAFC moves away from the strategy of calling national student marches, until there is a clear opportunity for student mass mobilisation as we saw in late 2010.

2. The NCAFC move toward the building of support for emerging strike actions in any sector.

On a practical level, this entails:

a) Supporting pickets where they occur

b) Establishing working relationships with labour activists involved in building for strikes.

c) Distributing material in support of actions, on the day and before the strike.

3. The NCAFC to support local groups through the production of material in support of upcoming strike actions. This would allow a group to print off the existing leaflet rather than lay out their own, and remove duplication of work.

Submitted by

Tom McKee, Joseph Brownridge, Joseph Jones

***

We have political prisoners: we should defend them

Believes

1. That since November 10th 2010, there have been numerous arrests and prosecutions of student demonstrators, with many being jailed for lengthy periods of time – for instance Frankie Fernie, who received a 12 month sentence for throwing sticks.
2. That Edd Bauer, VP Education at Birmingham Guild, was remanded in custody for 10 days prior to trial for doing a banner drop.
3. That state repression of emerging social movements has occurred by legal and policing means many times before – from the poll tax protests to the trade union movement.
4. That there are more than 100 student and anticuts protesters still awaiting trial for jailable offences.

5. That a motion similar to this one was proposed by Michael Chessum to the NUS NEC and passed almost unanimously in November.

Further Believes

1. That the student movement now has political prisoners: people who are, or will be, sent to jail for extremely long periods of time not because of they pose a corresponding danger to society, or the ethical nature of their crime, but because their (alleged) acts took place in a political context.
2. That the case of Edd Bauer’s banner drop, as well as the use of the charge of violent disorder in other cases, illustrates the political use of the legal system to target political dissent.
3. That it is a fundamental duty of all serious political movements to defend political prisoners.
4. That in protest situations the police are a political organisation, not a neutral arbiter.

Resolves

1. To commit to providing political and material support as far as possible for student and anti-cuts protesters who end up in jail for essentially political reasons, including public campaigning and personal support such as letter-writing.

2. To do our best to keep track of what is happening and to whom within our movement, working with organisations like Green and Black Cross.

3. To campaign for the ‘official structures’ of the anti-cuts movement such as NUS and major trade unions to take up this cause, materially and politically.

***

Support further action over USS Pensions

Conference:
Notes:
* Lecturers in pre-1992 universities are members of the Unified
Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension system, which is not
publicly-funded;
* University and College Union (UCU) members in pre-1992 institutions
are currently in dispute with their employers over imposed changes to
the USS system which mean lecturers:
** will be easier to sack,
** face a higher retirement age,
** pay a higher portion of their salaries toward pensions
** receive a considerably smaller pension in return
* UCU pre-92 members have undertaken action short of a strike since
October 2011 and have taken three days of strike action, including on
30 November 2011, over USS pensions
* Members of UCU’s national executive have recommended the suspension
of the dispute, including the stopping of all industrial action, in
exchange for minor concessions from employers;
* UCU pre-92 members will be debating the union’s response at a
special conference on 31 January 2012.

Believes:
* Lecturers are right to fight to defend their full pensions without
detrimental changes;
* Industrial action is the best tool a trade union has to defend its
members’ interests;
* Students, who are largely current or future workers, should support
their lecturers’ action against pension cuts.

Resolves:
* To coordinate with grassroots activists in UCU to show student
support for UCU members’ continuing the fight;
* To propose to these activists a student lobby of the special
conference on 31 January at noon in University of London Union, Malet
Street, London;
* To make a public statement announcing student support for further
industrial action by pre-92 UCU members, as part of a class-based
strategy of coordinated industrial action against the cuts.

Proposed: Edmund Schluessel (CAFCC & Cardiff University UCU (personal capacity))

***

Defend Eric Jinks and the occupy Cardiff Protestors

Conference:
Notes:
* On 11 November 2011, Eric Jinks, a student at Cardiff & Vale
College, Cardiff, was arrested along with seven other peaceful
protesters while attempting to launch a camp on public property as
part of “Occupy Cardiff”.
* Jinks was aged 17 at the time.
* Jinks has been charged under section 61 of the Criminal Justice &
Public Order Act 1994 based on claims by Cardiff Council that the
protest was damaging public property and faces up to three months
imprisonment if convicted. Jason Simons was also charged.
* Cardiff Council’s leader claimed Occupy Cardiff members were
hammering nails into Cardiff Castle, but has not produced any evidence
to support this claim.
* Occupy Cardiff are demonstrating peacefully in defense of Jinks and
the other arrestees on the date of their trial, 8 February 2012 , and
have circulated an e-petition in support of those charged.

Believes:
* Eric Jinks was not engaged in criminal behaviour at Cardiff Castle
on November 11th;
* The legal rights of Eric Jinks and other protesters were infringed upon;
* Cardiff Council and South Wales Police taking a draconian step in
threatening a teenager with imprisonment and a criminal record for
taking part in positive, peaceful protest.

Resolves:
* To write to Eric Jinks offering solidarity & support;
* To write to Cardiff Council and to South Wales Police demanding
charges be dropped against Jinks & Simons;
* To circulate Occupy Cardiff’s e-petition, available online at
http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/right2protest , to NCAFC’s
members and supporters;
* To publicise the 8 February demonstration at 9am at Cardiff
Magistrates Court, Fitzalan Place, Cardiff.

Proposed: Steffan Bateman, Alesh John, Andrew Bagshaw (Cardiff & Vale
College); Edmund Schluessel (Campaign Against Fees & Cuts Cymru,
Cardiff University).

***

Motion: To Boycott the NSS

This conference notes:

1. The NCAFC has publicly stated its opposition to the Higher Education White Paper and made it a focus for its agitation over the previous several months.
2. That the National Student Survey (NSS) is an integral part of White Paper, as it is the key mechanism for students to ‘rate’ their modules and courses as ‘consumers’ (see sections 3.5-3.9 on ‘Student engagement’).
3. That ‘January and February see the launch of the National Student Survey (NSS) 2012 at most Higher and Further Education institutions across the UK.’ (http://www.thestudentsurvey.com/).
4. That boycotts of the NSS for reasons related to the marketisation of education have previously been encouraged at Nottingham, Sussex, and Portsmouth. In 2010 the boycott was encouraged by the University of Sussex Student Union.

This conference believes:

1. The NSS’s function is to increase the marketisation and commodification of higher education, consistent with the vision outlined in the Higher Education White Paper.
2. That boycotts of the NSS can and should form part of an effective campaign against the Higher Education White Paper.

This conference resolves:

1. To support a boycott of the NSS.
2. To commit the NCAFC to producing propaganda against the NSS and encouraging affiliated anti-cuts groups to organise an NSS boycott on their local campuses.

Proposed: Liam McNulty (Cambridge Defend Education)

Seconded: Chris Page (Cambridge Defend Education).

***

Motions on NCAFC NC and voting

1. “That the number of ordinary members of the NCAFC NC increases from 14 to 21”
Amendment A: “… increases from 14 to 18″

This amendment is for flexibility of discussion

2. That the number of reserved places for self-defining women be 40% of the total seats

3. To discontinue the use of STV. Elections for the NCAFC NC ordinary members take place by the method that each voting delegate be allowed half the number of votes as there are places on the committee, each equally weighted.”

Michael Chessum NCAFC NC

***

Liberal Democrat Spring Conference Demonstration

The Liberal Democrat Spring Conference is in Newcastle/Gateshead on 9th-11th March. Anti cuts campaigners ACN and NFEN are planning a demonstration at the conference.
NCAFC resolves to work with local organisers, pledge its support for the protest and call on National Union of Students, and other Student Unions to make this a northern national demo against the coalition government’s attacks against working people and students.

Luke Neal, NFEN

***

Motion to clarify the voting process for National Committee elections
This conference notes:
1) In August 2011, a motion was passed at conference for the implementation of the Single Transferable Vote (STV) voting system in National Committee elections, for the purposes of achieving proportional representation.
2) The results of STV fundamentally rely on a calculation determined by the type of quota used.
3) Of the various quotas, the most commonly accepted for the purposes of proportional representation is the Droop quota.
4) There was no discussion of the appropriate quota to use at conference in August 2011.
5) The quota used in August 2011 was the result of a Google search for STV calculators.
5a) The quota used in August 2011 was the more obscure Hagenbach-Bischoff quota.
6) Under the Hagenbach-Bischoff quota, it is possible for more candidates to achieve quota than there are seats available, meaning if there is a tie a candidate is disqualified at random.
6a) Under the Droop quota this is mathematically impossible.
7) Ties and random disqualifications can distort the results of successive rounds and the distribution of votes within them
7a) This is not conducive to achieving proportional representation as originally intended.
8) In the elections of August 2011, had the Droop quota been used it is possible that every round after round one (the election of Edward Bauer) could have produced a different result.

This conference believes:
1) Proportional representation was the desired effect of selecting the STV voting system.
2) Proportional representation is more likely to be achieved by adopting the Droop quota.
3) The Droop quota will prevent the random disqualification of candidates.

This conference resolves:
1) To use the Droop quota for all STV elections in future.

Proposed: Craig Gent (Royal Holloway Anti-Cuts Alliancea)
Seconded: James McAsh (Edinburgh Uni Anti-Cuts)

***

Motion for the creation of a lower socio-economic background caucus

This conference notes:
1) The NCAFC is an organisation fighting tuition fees, public sector cuts and the charter for privatization set out in the H.E. white paper.
2) The NCAFC liberation caucuses (women’s, BME, LGBTQ, disabled) exist in the recognition that these groups are both systemically disadvantaged in society and disproportionately affected by tuition fees, public sector cuts and privatization in H.E.
3) People from lower socio-economic backgrounds are both systemically disadvantaged in society and disproportionately affected by tuition fees, public sector cuts and privatization in H.E.
4) People from lower socio-economic backgrounds are also specifically affected by the scrapping of EMA, cuts to the provision of free school meals, cuts to free milk provision by local authorities, and the H.E. white paper’s attempt to discourage bursaries in favour of fee waivers.

This conference believes:
1) Disadvantaged groups should be at the forefront of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts.
2) This can be ensured by the representation of a lower socio-economic background place on the National Committee.

This conference resolves:
1) To create a lower socio-economic background caucus.
1a) Membership of the lower socio-economic background caucus will consist of those who identify as being from a lower socio-economic background.
2) To create a place on the National Committee for a representative from the lower socio-economic background caucus.

Proposed: Craig Gent (Royal Holloway Anti-Cuts Alliance)
Seconded: Naomi Beecroft (Edinburgh Uni Anti-Cuts)
***

Motion for the creation of a school and FE caucus

Motion for the creation of a school and FE college caucus

This conference notes:
1) The NCAFC is an organisation fighting tuition fees, public sector cuts and the charter for privatization set out in the H.E. white paper and taking place through the academies and ‘free schools’ programmes.
2) The NCAFC caucuses succeed in representing either that a group is systematically disadvantaged in society; disproportionately affected by tuition fees, public sector cuts and privatization in H.E.; or has a special interests (e.g. SAC).

This conference believes:
1) School and FE students are a valuable part of the student movement and subsequently the wider anti-cuts movement.
2) School and FE students should be better facilitated within the NCAFC structures to retain their participation.

This conference resolves:
1) To create a school and FE student caucus.
1a) Membership of the school and FE caucus will be limited to school and FE students, and those within one year of leaving school or FE.
2) To create a place on the National Committee for a representative from the school and FE student caucus.

Proposed: Craig Gent (Royal Holloway Anti-Cuts Alliance)
Seconded: Tali Janner-Klausner (University College London)

***

Left Unity and March 1st

The recent debate over the NUS Left Slate has demonstrated a broader problem within the student movement in the UK. Members of the NCAFC National Committee have responded to the annual problem of assembling a left slate from the myriad of different progressive student campaigns by proposing a slate composed entirely of NCAFC leaders, which they argue can be amended and voted on at the NCAFC conference with the aim of giving NCAFC a policy in entering into discussions with the other groups.

The student movement is larger than just NCAFC and any slate running for leadership of the NUS needs to reflect that fact. The NCAFC conference is not the most appropriate forum to vote on a left slate as it will, by definition, marginalise those activists who are not supporters of this campaign.

It is difficult to see how any arrangement could be seen as satisfactory by all the anti-cuts campaigns and left-wing groups when there is a culture of hostility and suspicion between these different organisations.

One of the problems was the student movement of 2010/11 was the disunity that existed between left-wing groups, which was reflected in the anti-cuts movement. Demonstrations, conferences and assemblies had to organise between a number of different campaigns, and local groups were forced to pick which national organisation they’d affiliate to, and to choose between national events to mobilise for.

This is not a trend which should be allowed to continue, where work is duplicated by different national campaigns all competing with one another. To overcome this, the incoming NCAFC NC will propose a unity conference to be co hosted by NCAFC, EAN, SBL, PS, and all others interested in finding unity in action, to be held in the summer.

REVO, Sally Roberts

Amendment:
After “EAN” insert “, Youth Fight for Jobs”

Proposed: Edmund Schluessel, Cardiff University Youth Fight for Jobs

***

**************
NCAFC Women’s Motion
Esther Townsend UEL
Aimee Kent Payne Hull Uni

NCAFC conference believes that the gains made by women’s movements over the last five decades are under attack from the Tories’ dual agenda of cuts and reactionary moralism. In education, too, the Tories’ attacks will affect women disproportionately, from attacks on sex education, to higher student debt which women will take longer to pay off, to the gutting of subject areas where women students and workers are concentrated.

Student women have been at the forefront of the revival in feminist discussion and activism. There is an obvious, pressing need to build a strong student women’s movement. We think this movement should be based on the principles of anticapitalist feminism – organising women workers and students for self-liberation, to challenge the structural basis of women’s oppression under capitalism.

In that spirit, we will give our support to efforts to build NCAFC Women as a strong national campaign among women students and education workers.

NCAFC Women will base its work around a Charter for Women in Education, which we will seek to develop over the coming months. Some ideas for the kind of demands we want to include in this charter are included below. We will seek to make links with broader feminist and women’s activist groups and women activists in UCU, Unison, NUT and other education unions in this campaign.

We will also seek to make links with campus women’s groups, and help activists to build women’s groups where they don’t currently exist; campaign for a women’s officer, and other dedicated liberation officers, in every student union; and seek to build a left opposition in NUS Women’s Campaign, with the goal of transforming it into the kind of fighting campaign student women need.

***

Charter for Women in Education – some ideas

* A commitment to support all those fighting sex and gender discrimination in our universities, schools and colleges.
* Fight the funding cuts, which will effect subjects where women are concentrated. Fight for publicly owned universities with decent funding.
* Free education and a living grant for every student to eliminate student debt.
* Support workers’ fight to depend they pay, conditions and pensions – women will lose out worst from the Tory attacks.
* Defend and extend university and student union childcare provision. Improve representation and support for student carers; and fight barriers to learning, including cuts to services and grants.
* Defend sex education against the Tories’ reactionary moralistic agenda. Fight the religious take over of parts of our school system. Defend and extend sexual health and reproductive rights services on campus.
* Fight for safety on campus – for decent lighting and transport, stop the cuts to campus support workers.
* Eliminate poverty pay – a living wage for all workers on our campuses.
* A serious fight to make equal pay a reality in our universities and colleges. Explore why women are underrepresented in our universities and how we can fight to change this.
* A woman’s place is in her union – no to sexism in our student unions. Campaign for a women’s officer and a full-range of liberation officers in every SU. Fight to scrap men’s officers wherever they exist.
* For a campaigning women’s group on every campus

Welcome to ‘Bitter Britain’: repression of student demo is a sign of the times

By Luke Cooper. Luke is a postgraduate student and associate tutor in International Relations at the University of Sussex, and a supporter of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts. [Read more…]

London: Give Our Kids a Future demo – SATURDAY 13!

www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=260822497262285&view=wall#!/event.php?eid=260822497262285

A North London Unity Assembly Demonstration
Give Our Kids A Future!
Saturday 13th August, 1pm
Assemble Gillet Square, Dalston, N16 at 1pm. March to Tottenham Green, N15

Our communities need a united response to both the riots and the causes of despair and frustration that can result in riots.

We call for:

– A culture of valuing, not demonising, youth and unemployed people
– Support for those affected by the rioting, including the immediate rehousing of people made homeless, grants for affected small businesses, and restoration of damaged areas
– Reversal of all cuts to youth services in our boroughs
– No cuts to public services! Instead, investment into community-led regeneration of our communities, including access for all to decent housing, jobs, education and sports facilities
– An independent community inquiry into policing methods in our boroughs, and an end to discriminatory stop and search
– Availability of legal support for all those people arrested by police. Young people face potential sentences that will affect them, their families and their wider communities for years to come. Recommended solicitors are Bindmans 0207 833 4433 and Hodge, Jones and Allen 07659 111192

We are responding to the events of the last few days, in particular the Tottenham protest over the killing of Mark Duggan and the disturbances that followed in Tottenham and Hackney.

By coming together and calling for unity we want to encourage all sections of our local communities, young and old, black and white, residents and workers, to work together to find solutions to some of our long-standing problems.

We know there are all kinds of strong feelings and differing views. We do not claim to represent the whole community, but merely seek to promote unity in the communities in which we live and work.

Simply labelling rioters as opportunistic criminals does little to relieve tensions and provides a poor explanation for the worst riots in decades. While the shooting of Mark Duggan provided the trigger, against a background of oppressive policing, especially towards ethnic minorities, the root causes are deeper.

Our communities have been blighted by high levels of deprivation, poverty and lack of opportunity for decades. Inequality is growing and recent funding cuts to local services, particularly youth facilities, along with rising unemployment, and cuts to EMA and benefits have exacerbated the conditions in which sections of frustrated young people turned to rioting, which unfortunately has resulted in people losing their homes and small/family businesses losing their livelihoods.

Britain is a wealthy country, but with deep inequality. The economic crisis created by greedy bankers and financial speculators is further impoverishing already poor areas like Tottenham and Hackney. The £390 billion of combined wealth of the richest 1,000 people in Britain should be redirected to fund the services we all need.

In the last few months we have seen mass local protests against cuts, student occupations to defend free education, a half-a-million strong demonstration on March 26th, and 800,000 public service workers out on strike on June 30th.

We need to build on these and other inspiring local and national struggles. Let’s work together for a decent society, based not on greed, inequality and poor conditions, but on justice, freedom, sharing and co-operation.