Conference 2010/11

Minutes from NCAFC Reinvigoration Conference 04/06/2011

Start time: 11.48; Minutes taken verbatim by Kieran Miles (Royal
Holloway).

Intro from Kelly (Birmingham Uni) – welcome, food and drink
downstairs, Joe’s Bar etc., toilets. Read out agenda, including
changes. Agreed change: women’s caucus to be held during lunch, men to
get lunch. This is to ensure that more women can attend. Afternoon
workshop and final plenary to be swapped (agenda had been changed to
fit more things in, but some people have booked earlier train tickets,
and as the final plenary includes substantive voting it was moved
earlier to ensure everyone can vote on motions before they have to
go). Kelly will chair the first session.

Opening speeches from Dan Cooper (Royal Holloway SU President-elect),
Ryan Barnes (Northern Ireland Student Assembly), Rhiannon Lowton
(Merseyside Network Against Fees and Cuts)

DC: Thank you all for coming to today’s National Campaign Against Fees
and Cuts conference. I’m Daniel Cooper, President-elect of Royal
Holloway student union and an activist in Royal Holloway Anti-Cuts
Alliance, one of the NCAFC supporting groups that called this event.

We are facing a government that has a clear vision for society – a
nightmare vision. As well as £9,000 tuition fees and the scrapping of
EMA, students and education workers face a huge wave of cuts and
closures. The cuts at London Metropolitan – including 70 percent of
its undergraduate portfolio – shows the scale of what is coming. What
is particularly striking about these cuts is that they hold a specific
class character – working class and mature students are being
predominantly hit. Education is being devalued as a social good,
transformed into a commodity like any other in capitalist society.

What the Coalition is attempting is a full-scale drive to reshape
education in the interests of profit, to create an education system in
which the majority are educated to know our place. Their education
policies are part of the all-out class war the Tories have declared
against public services and against the working class.

The NCAFC was central to last year’s magnificent student rebellion. It
called and coordinated the two big demonstrations after Milbank, and
more importantly launched the wave of action, walks and occupations
which shook the government to its foundation. This continued into the
new year with big demonstrations in January.  Since then, however, the
NCAFC has had spurts of campaigning activity as opposed to sustained,
long term plan of campaigning. Why that’s been the case is something
we’ll discuss today; and hopefully it’s something we will be able to
rectify. For my part, I think creating clear, democratic, accountable
structures for the campaign would be a good start.

Of course it is disappointing that the high tide of the student revolt
last November and December has receded, but things are not as they
were before. The retreating tide has left a thick sediment. There are
many more left activists than before, and most universities now have
strong, ongoing anti-cuts groups. Many of you here will have been
agitating locally against the cuts, creating local organising
campaigns, running in student union elections and going to demos.
There is more activist engagement in student unions, resulting in some
surprising upsets in SU elections – like at my university Royal
Holloway, but also Bristol, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Liverpool, for
instance.

And there is now much more of a culture among students of linking up
with and solidarity with workers’ struggles, as shown in the student
mobilisation around the UCU strike.

Although we have yet to mobilise the forces necessary to confront,
stop and bring down the Tories, resistance is growing. There were half
a million on the TUC demo – the biggest demonstration since the Iraq
war, and bigger than any demonstration during the heroic workers’
struggles of the 70s and 80s. On a local level, strike action has
already stopped some cuts, like the NUT members in Rotherham who for
now have completely smashed their bosses’ plans to smash jobs.

And on 30 June, we will see the first big salvo from our side, when
hundreds of thousands of workers in education, the civil service and
possibly in the post and on the Tubee to, strike against cuts and
attacks on pensions. The academic year will be drawing to an end, but
mobilising students in support of this strike, to help give workers
the confidence to move forward, take further action and win, needs to
be a priority for a revived NCAFC in the month ahead.

And we should not forget that our movement is international too. Our
struggles here are part of the same movement as the revolt for union
rights in the US, the demonstrations and strikes across Europe, and
the revolutionary upheavals sweeping North Africa and the Middle East,
including the inspirational new labour movement in Egypt. We should
take heart from these battles, and we know that any victories we win
here will boost our comrades in other countries too.

The question is how we can win those victories. With the government an
deducation bosses on the offensive, we need to get organised again,
and first. The reason why we’re here today is to prepare and rebuild
our movement for the struggles over the next couple of months and into
the next term. We need to discuss how we can develop a national
activist coordination that isn’t run on an ad hoc basis and is subject
to domination by unaccountable cliques, but which is open, democratic
and which we can genuinely use to plan, network and link up our
struggles on a national level. Those discussions about structure can
be difficult but I think they’re necessary if we’re going to put
ourselves in the best possible position to take on the government and
our university and college bosses. We’ve all been to conferences where
an endless procession of speakers tells us how bad the cuts are and
how we really have to fight back. I don’t want today to be another one
of those conferences. I want it to be an opportunity for us to build,
or rebuild, something we feel we have genuine ownership over which
will help us win the battles ahead.

That’s why anti-cuts groups from around the country have called this
conference, to revive the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and
open it up to a new layer of student activists and student union
officers. We want the NCAFC to play the role it has played at its best
– a broad, democratic network through which activists across the
country can link up to build the strongest fightback possible. This is
an important conference, so thanks for coming today.

RB: Growing resistance in schools from November. School knew the
walkout was happening, put Ryan in isolation and suspension for
political activity. 9 December a Committee was formed. 3100 at Belfast
City Hall, mostly FE and school students – v.impressive given history
of sectarianism. Linked up for common cause, particularly because of
police brutality. Had a road block and were kettled. Negative media
portrayal, only focusing on police being injured. Needed to form the
Northern Ireland Student Assembly. NUS and CSI turned up to meeting,
and they said they didn’t just oppose them, but condemning them. Just
wanted to ‘have their banner waving’. INTO (Teacher’s Union) and FE
students spoke. 300 Trade Unionists at the People’s Congress – NUS
took responsibility for the protests! Ryan called them on it, and the
mic was taken off them. The whole place walked out of the hall to
protest. Need to unite as a big group to win. Rally through city
centre on March 26th. Demo of 2000 people organised by NUS. Ryan
argued we shouldn’t be accepting any cuts, regardless of party. In
favour of the motion.

RL:  just elected Mature Students Rep. Many changes to HE publicised,
but also to FE – EMA, bus passes cut, budget cuts, John Moores has
announced they will stop validating degrees run through FE colleges
(important for people who don’t want to move their families). 100
redundancies pre-budget at Liverpool whilst Vice Chancellor increased
salary by 20%. Justification was to not have £9000 fees – now only
£8200! Merseyside Network Against Fees and Cuts established to link up
groups across Liverpool. Mature students often have an unconventional
route into uni, and have to fight their way there – very difficult to
enter whilst these cuts have been made. Important to involve lots of
younger people, leads to more acceptance. Need to ensure this happens
on a national level. NCAFC is a chance to do this, make sure all
people can get involved. Article complained that students were being
radicalised – good, we need more students to be politically engaged!

Group discussions started at 12:11, split up into 3 groups.

Report back at 12:48:

First group. (June 30th). Talked briefly about Open University –
strange situation as spread out over the country, no Union. Trying to
build through facebook page/online presence.

Second group: (Successes and failures of last year).

Wide ranging discussion – positives of student rebellion. Have been
defeated on cuts – though lots still to fight for – so where do we go
in the future? October strikes in the future. Discussion around NCAFC
– needs to be more organised to get geographical spread, and so this
meeting was a good step forward. We need to remain united and broad.

Some argued that NCAFC should not have a steering committee, but we
should address the failings by moving it around the country and more
frequently. Others were in favour of electing a steering committee
today. Some concerns that other NCAFC conferences have been larger.

Proposal: to help OU with their online presence – unanimous in favour.

Proposal: NCAFC needs a press release and statement on website in
support of the strike on June 30th as soon as possible. Got press
officers from last conference – give it to them to produce. London
region has a leaflet for school students which could be used.
Unanimously in favour.

Procedural motion: that we ask if people are in opposition first. So
no need to vote against. Agreed,

Proposal: NCAFC makes proposal and recommendations for people to take
in the  run up and on the day of June 30th, and make resources
available for people. On the website there should be a collation of
different groups acting locally on the 30th to find out what’s
happening in local area. – passed.

Proposal: NCAFC should work to get students in November and December
in FE involved again.

Clarification. Recommendation to activists in FE that now is the time
to phone around and organise. Phone local university groups. 1.
Organise inside schools etc and use internet to co-ordinate this. 2.
FE campaigns should be run by FE students, so we need to get them
active. Hence 2 proposals.

Amendment to proposal: also get FE students in getting them elected as
NUS delegates.

FE colleges and schools have councils and teachers already in place.
However a lot of them don’t do anything. Some schools have threatened
to withdraw UCAS applications through taking part in direct action. So
we need to inform people. Different case for sixth form students.
University student banned from speaking at college because official
student union was opposed to it. So essential we have people to take
positions. Esp. To get to NUS Conference. Mass national meeting of
school and FE students is being organised.

Amendment: make contacts through youth contacts and schools, and the
upcoming mass meeting.

Amendment: so many regional variances, that we need to create a forum
for people to share this advice. Email list – advice, tips, how to
organise, devolved. Every occupation should contact local schools. –
motion and amendments passed unanimously

Need to get FE students into our movement as points of contact. (I.e.
not just us going into FE institutions).

Proposal: University students need to support lecturers out on strike,
NCAFC to run a campaign around this.
No-one speaking against. No clarifications. Passed unanimously.

Proposal: orienting to school and students, NCAFC working group to
work on this.

Covered this already, no need to vote on again.

Proposal: reiterate our opposition to fees, cuts, and in favour of
free education.
Amendment: include ‘public sector cuts’. – passed unanimously.
Amendment: include ‘tax the rich’
Amendment: Support free education funded by progressive taxation.
Clarification: poll tax defeated after law was passed; some have
suggested the ‘battle is over’ so important to reiterate. All was
passed on 9 December was amendments to existing legislation, big delay
over working out plans. So haven’t lost anything. Free school, and
other non-consumer based education models. Is this is a semantic
argument, need to move on. Figure out wording later. Passed
unanimously

Proposal: Tory Party Conference demonstration. Could build at Freshers
Fayre, in Manchester, supported by NUS.

Amendment: Incorporate other party conferences too.
Clarification/discussion:
-Lib Dem and Tory conferences, we should be there, but it would be a
waste of our energies to actively organise them. Just need to get
people there.
-In favour of having demos at conferences, but need to clarify
differences between parties. I.e. Labour has TU links. Difference
between Labour/Lib Dem Tories. But not a proposal, something to bear
in mind.
-Labour set up Browne Review, are also capitalists, so need to demo
outside of them.
-We don’t want the student movement to be instrumentalised by a
party.
-There is a faction in the Labour Party which share our views but not
the whole party.
-In Scotland, SNP govt, also pushing through cuts.
-Need to remember we have students outside of England – important as
NationalCAFC.
-Avoid discussion of party politics.
-Differentiate between parties in power and out of power. Focus on
targeting those in power.
-Everyone opposed to Tories, right after Fresher Fayre and so easy to
mobilise for it.
-We should organise for others too (Labour, SNP), but this motion is
about the timing of the Tory party conference at start of term.
-Labour still in government in Wales. Same with Plaid.
-Need to escalate beyond demonstrations to strike, to occupy, to
overthrow capitalist system.
-Need to have message that struggles are international, not confined
to certain countries.
-We could be co-opted by Labour party, or struggle against the whole
system.
-Demos for all 3 would have big media traction.
-Conservatives are the controlling party in power, so deserves a
motion in itself.
Amendment: to only focus on Conservative Party conference.
-Need to put pressure on Labour councillors making cuts. Is it
possible to stop this.
-Running out of time, but we have time set aside in the last plenary
session to address other proposals, so shall finish this proposal,
then move on.
-50% of Labour votes come from TUs. Labour party bureaucrats and TU
bureaucrats.
-Need to differentiate Tories from Labour.
-Labour councillors need to vote against cuts in the council chamber,
not just say they’re against them. We shouldn’t give cover to them.
-Some may not be in favour of Labour, but we should support Labour
councillors who refuse to implement cuts.
-One councillor abstained in Lambeth, and were sacked; we need to
remember there is lots of opposition.
-UNISON one of biggest TUs in country but quite right-wing; speak to
rank-and-file and they don’t support cuts. It’s the bureaucrats who
are..

Proposal: to back demos outside all governing party conferences, and
to focus on Conservative Party demonstration in October. Need to
contact other organisations to sort out demos. Critique of the
political system as a whole, whilst calling on Labour to not make
cuts.
Clarification: the point to vote on is whether we protest outside
Labour conference. We need to lobby Labour.
Above proposal was passed, with 2 abstentions.
The point of disagreement is not over demonstrating outside Labour
Conference, but the message that we’re sending out. NCAFC should not
have a line on the Labour party.
Amendment: that we organise a demonstration outside the Labour Party
Conference
40 in favour; 13 opposed, 21 abstentions.

Ran out of time for session here. Remaining proposals were voted on at
plenary session, but were announced and discussed during this session
(included below).

Proposal: support mobilisation around the NHS and privatisation.

Proposal: to get students to walkout in the upcoming days for June
30th.

3rd group: National Demonstration.
(This was a large group, so it split into 2). 1) Nature of what
national demo should be. Couldn’t just be students arguing over same
lines and need to include Trade Unions more. Definitely needs to
happen. Don’t ask them for the demo in a letter, but we should call a
national demo and give NUS the opportunity to get on board before
dates etc are announced. Even if NUS didn’t seriously back it gives it
a ‘legitimacy’. How to get it? How NUS bureaucracy works. Liam Burns
spoke at Scotland NUS – in favour of it, but concerned about mandate
(voted down at NUS Conference). Motion only fell not because of
opposition to a demo but in opposition to a specific date. Call days
of walkouts leading up to it. Call it on a weekend to get workers able
to come. NCAFC in local areas having whole campus occupations. A
letter to NUS NEC and Liam Burns and also drafting a motion. Working
with Labour clubs and Students Unions saying they are committed to
building for a demo.

2) Other group: similar in letter writing. Get NUS to support action
in October.

Proposal: to start organising a demo and invite NUS to get onboard; to
draft a letter telling (not asking) NUS we want a demo. TO ensure the
demo takes place on a weekend. To work with labour clubs and SUs to
get their support for a demo.

Proposal: to call walkout days leading up to the demo.

Proposal: collaborating in helping get lefties into Students Union
positions.

Proposal: to have NCAFC domain names (e.g. UCL.anticuts.com)

Motions and Statement (to be addressed in order that the steering desk
received them).

Minutes taken by Matthew Alton (Birmingham University).

Motion 1: Democratic Structures

The most authoritative decision-making body of the NCAFC is its
conference, which will take place at least once a year.
Every conference will hold new elections for a national committee
composed of fourteen members. In addition to this the committee will
include one representative from each formally affiliated organisation
and one from each NCAFC liberation caucus. Functions such as
treasurer, website managers etc will be appointed by the committee.
The committee must meet at least once every six weeks, and minutes
must be posted on the NCAFC website within a week of each meeting.
Regional meetings of NCAFC supporters can take place and decide their
own structures.
Oppressed groups can self-organise liberation caucuses within the
NCAFC and decide their own structures.
(Proposed: Bob Sutton)

Amendments to Democratic Structures Motion:
(1-7 from Edinburgh; 8 from Greg Brown).
1)      The election to national committee should be conducted using STV.
2)      If regional conferences form then each should have a representative
on the national committee.
3)      National meetings should, when possible, be conducted over Skype or
a similar program.
4)      If meetings of the national committee are held in person NCAFC will
pay the necessary expenses for voting members to travel to the
location.
5)      Delegates from affiliated organisation such as local anti cuts
groups or students unions should be invited to the national committee
as non-voting members.
6)      Only currently matriculated students and elected student officers
are eligible to stand for election to the national committee.
7)      Of the 14 people elected from national conference to the national
committee at least 5 must be male and at least 5 must be female.
8)      Delegates to the national committee are recallable by the
respective selecting group. Conference-elected delegates can be
deposed by a motion of no confidence passed by at least 5 a groups and/
or liberation caucuses.

Counter-Proposal:

NCAFC currently has an open steering committee structure. This remains
the best way to ensure an open and inclusive campaign. But it has not
been representative enough of the regions and has often acted as
London-based body. To correct this it should meet every two months on
a similar model to Birmingham meeting and rotate locations in
different parts of the country.

Pre-motions:
Discussion on whether we should allow amendments other than those
tabled.  2 arguments: undemocratic, has to be an opportunity for
amendments to be presented vs deadline was clearly advertised, having
a deadline is not undemocratic, we can allow small changes but not
huge motions, we’ve had months to submit and have a limited timeframe;
some people may not have copies of new motions, need to have an in
depth discussion on topics at hand. Middle ground: setting broad
route, then have more detailed discussion afterwards. Vote was held
between the two: majority agreed stick to the previously agreed
deadline and rules (26 vs 32).

Motion 1 – Democratic Structures Motion
Proposer gave a speech in favour.

Motion 2 – Counter-motion to Democratic Structures Motion
Proposer gave a speech in favour.

Amendments to Motion 1

Amendment 1
Proposer gave a speech in favour. Discussion of whether it would lead
to the formation of slates. Proposer said people would vote as
individuals for individuals. It was said that it is too complicated.
Proposer responded that it can be done on a computer. Amendment 1 was
passed.

Amendment 2
Proposer gave a speech in favour. No speech against or debate.
Amendment 2 was passed.

Amendment 3
Proposer gave a speech in favour. A speech was given against. It was
said that meetings should not be based around the same area. It was
said that meeting every six weeks in different parts of the UK was too
expensive and unreasonable. It was said that it’s not practical to
have large meetings over skype. Proposer responded that he has
regular, large meetings over Skype. It was said that it’s one person’s
experience against another, there are more pluses to having face-to-
face meetings, meetings should be every six weeks or more, Skype
should be for emergencies, there should be a fundraising drive to fund
face-to-face meetings of the committee. It was said that Skype would
be a supplement to face-to-face meetings, they could happen very
frequently. It was said that time is also a commitment, not just time.
It was said that it would be a bad use of funds to help people meet.
Amendment 3 was passed, amended: “should, when possible” replaced by
“can”.

Amendment 4
Proposer gave a speech in favour. Speech proposed paying half.  It was
said that common sense could apply. It was said that discussion over
“necessary” would include people paying half etc. It was said that
there should be a pool. Amendment 4 was passed.

Amendment 5
Proposer gave a speech in favour. A speech against said that an
inclusive campaign would allow people to vote regardless, people
shouldn’t turn up and be disenfranchised. Speech said that it is not
possible to get more representative than this.  It was said that
people who haven’t turned up should not be disenfranchised because of
this. It was said that even 1,000 people would not be representative;
we can’t have every single anti-cuts activist in a room at once.
Amendment 5 was passed.

Amendment 6
Proposer gave a speech in favour. It was said that definition of
“student” is too complex eg: post-grad, life-long learning but agreed
in principle with the motion. Request for clarification over whether
“education workers” includes cleaners and invigilators. Proposer said
that yes, they are included. It was said that this is a student
campaign, it should be students only, and that common sense would
apply. It was said that NCAFC is a national campaign, not a national
student campaign, fighting every cut not just education cuts. It was
said that solidarity is different to knowing what people are going
through – there is no overarching “anti-cuts” group, NCAFC is a
student campaign including education workers. It was said that people
affected by cuts may not be able to go to uni, despite wanting to be
involved in the NCAFC. Amendment 6 fell.

Amendment 7
Women’s Caucus expressed concern that other minorities aren’t included
whilst agreeing with the spirit of the amendment. Proposer gave a
speech in favour. It was said that this amendment responds to the
structural bias in the left. It was said that male and female is too
binary, and the amendment is too rigid. It was said that there are
less BME present than women at the meeting, that prioritising women
was unfair. It was asked how this would work with STV. It was said
that more debate is needed on other oppressed groups eg: class. It was
said that the amendment isn’t perfect, but that is no reason to reject
it. It was said that the amendment is too archaic. “At least 5 must be
male and” was removed and “self-defining” was added. Amendment 7 was
passed.

Amendment 8
Proposer gave a speech in favour. (Importance of right to recall). It
was said in a small group that 1 person could represent a group and
thus vote to remove. It was said that if it reached the point that
Trotskyist groups used their blocs to remove people from other groups,
the whole state of the campaign would be of more concern and that it
would hardly be used – should be used just to remove incompetent
people, not have party battles. It was said that 5 was too low and
should be a proportion rather than an arbitrary number. It was said
that if 5 groups can call a conference then 5 groups should be able to
recall a member. Amendment 8 was passed.

Democratic Structures Motion (including amendments):

The most authoritative decision-making body of the NCAFC is its
conference, which will take place at least once a year.

Every conference will hold new elections for a national committee
composed of fourteen members. In addition to this the committee will
include one representative from each formally affiliated organisation
and one from each NCAFC liberation caucus. Functions such as
treasurer, website managers etc will be appointed by the committee.

The committee must meet at least once every six weeks, and minutes
must be posted on the NCAFC website within a week of each meeting.

Regional meetings of NCAFC supporters can take place and decide their
own structures.

Oppressed groups can self-organise liberation caucuses within the
NCAFC and decide their own structures.

The election to national committee should be conducted using STV.

If regional conferences form then each should have a representative on
the national committee.

National meetings can be conducted over Skype or a similar program.

If meetings of the national committee are held in person NCAFC will
pay the necessary expenses for voting members to travel to the
location.

Delegates from affiliated organisation such as local anti cuts groups
or students unions should be invited to the national committee as non-
voting members.

Of the 14 people elected from national conference to the national
committee at least 5 must self-define as women.

Delegates to the national committee are recallable by the respective
selecting group. Conference-elected delegates can be deposed by a
motion of no confidence passed by at least 5 a groups and/or
liberation caucuses.

Debate: Motion 1 (Amended) vs Motion 2

A speech was given in favour of 1:
As the motion clearly states, there have been actions called by a
small group in London, such as the demonstration in January. I do not
doubt that we needed to call such an action – it was necessary to do
something quickly. The reason this motion exists, however, is because
it cannot be said that actions were called by the whole of NCAFC. A
handful of left party full-timers in a small London room does not
constitute a broad and open movement which includes people from around
the country – and non-English countries too – and from different
levels of our movement: school students, FE colleges, universities,
and most importantly, workplaces. Most importantly, the decisions made
were completely undemocratic. There is no way to hold that small group
to account, to mandate them to do things, to decide what their remit
is, to have a voice in how decisions are made if you couldn’t make it
to London. Having a national committee ensures that we guarantee that
the people making these decisions are held to account. They are voted
upon, mandated to do things as we choose. Their remit is specified by
us, and we have instant recall if enough groups want to remove someone
from the committee. There are frequent elections. We recognise the
need to make decisions quickly. If there is a demonstration, and we
have another injured protestor, another Alfie Meadows, we want to be
able to release a press statement the next day.  If we need to quickly
react to government policy, or the NUS, we want to be able to call and
organise for a lobby or a demonstration efficiently. It is clearly not
sufficient to wait 6 months until the next NCAFC National Conference
to organise such an action. However, we need to make sure that the
body that does call this action is democratically held to account.
This body would not act independently of what we want them to do, but
purely as delegates of the movement who are mandated to do what we
vote for them to do. Yes, there are some problems with the motion for
the committee as it stands. We have addressed that there should be a
gender balance on the committee, but do so within a gender binary, and
we have not addressed the inclusion of other oppressed groups. This is
not a reason to oppose this motion however. We need to take action
now, over the summer. We need a national committee to start
organising. I agree we need to refine it. But this can take place
through a motion at the next conference, hopefully in Autumn term,
incorporating the inclusion of mature students, disabled students,
LGBTQ students, BME students – and no doubt a few months of committee
will show that other refinements are needed. But we need to ensure
that we do –something- now. I implore you to vote in favour of this
motion.

A speech was given in favour of 2. It was said that we need structure
for quick decisions, that a structure can help encourage people to get
involved, there exists a de facto committee. It was said the founding
members were not undemocratic or cliquey, and still managed to call
this meeting and other actions, having a structure would exclude
people and be undemocratic. It was said that a Northern Ireland
Assembly is a committee and it works well, and would be cheaper and
more efficient. It was said that the founding members did as well as
they could, and were in no way undemocratic or cliquey, as opposed to
this conference; that we have spent more time on this issue than on
more important things like 30th June, that is should move around and
we can cover the costs, and that the campaign would become less broad
and inclusive.

A vote was held on whether or not to hold more speeches. Conference
voted to have no more speeches.

Motion 1 was passed by 42 to 15. Motion 2 automatically falls.

People then could nominate themselves or others for election to
committee. (Started at 16.20 – some people had to leave at 17.00, so
agreed that we should vote now.) Conducted using STV. Photocopies of
everyone’s name who ran for election were given out, people could rank
them in accordance with STV. Voted through online program. 3 vote
counters introduced themselves. Agreed that because of time limit, we
should have speeches for people standing for election, but only for 30
seconds.

Nominees:
Ed Maltby (London)
Ryan Barnes (Northern Ireland Student Assembly)
Bob Sutton (Liverpool)
Kristan Bruun (SOAS)
Kelly Rogers (Birmingham)
Alice Swift (Birmingham)
Clare Lister (Birmingham)
Chris Marks (Hull)
Michael Chessum (UCL)
Aiden Turner
Chris Norton
Daniel Cooper (Royal Holloway)
James McAsh (Edinburgh)
Imogen Martin
Rhiannon Lowcroft
Jade Baker (Westminster, NUS Women’s
Craig Gent (Royal Holloway)
Sean Rillo Raczka (Birkbeck)
Aaron Peters (UCL; Royal Holloway)
Greg Brown (UCL)
Claire Locke (London Met) (in absentia)
Eshe Asante (London Met)
Ed Bauer (Bimingham)
Gordon Maloney (Aberdeen)
Andrew Tindall
Matthew Alton (Birmingham)

Nominated and withdrawn: Kieran Miles (Royal Holloway); Jill Mountford
(London); Esther Townsend (Birkbeck).

The votes took several hours and were announced outside of the
conference.

As we were running out of time, we agreed that instead of running the
afternoon workshops, we would hear speeches from the guest speakers
instead, and then go for our final plenary session of voting. Speeches
given by: Carl Mandy (NUT activist), Rebecca Galbraith and Yassin
Husseini (ESOL activists), students from the London Metropolitan
University occupation and campaign, Nick Hart. Concluding speech of
the conference delivered by Michael Chessum (NCAFC co-founder, UCL
Sabb, NUS NEC).

(As the voting count was still taking place, minutes were not taken
for this session).

Then moved onto voting (inc. Motions not finished at morning voting
session). Agreed that some motions would be discussed (Jarrow, NUS,
Tube) but that others would be decided upon – quickly – by the new
national committee.

Last section minutes by Kieran Miles (Royal Holloway); no-one
recording votes.

Motion 3 – Jarrow March:

Conference notes that:

1.      Youth unemployment has reached its highest level since records
began. There are presently just under 1 million 16-24 year olds not in
education, employment or training (NEET)
2.      That the ConDem government plans to axe an estimated 700,000 public
sector jobs. This will also impact on the private sector as people
spend less money in retail and companies losing contracts with the
public sector.
3.      We have also seen the most brutal attacks on the right to an
education in decades with government rasing the cap on tuition fees to
£9000 a year and scrapping the Education Maintenance Allowance.
Students have already led the way in fighting back against attacks on
young people’s rights and living standards.
4.      That this year marks the 75th anniversary of the Jarrow march where
200 unemployed workers marched from Jarrow to London against
unemployment and in protest at their poor living conditions.
5.      That Youth Fight for Jobs will be marking the event by holding a
march from Jarrow to London in protest against the lack of decent jobs
for young people and for the right to a free education
6.      The march will be a vital part of building the mass movement of
unemployed youth, students and young workers against the Con-Dems’
brutal austerity agenda.
7.      The NUS has failed to call a national demonstration against
education cuts next term, just as the cuts will begin to be
implemented in many institutions.
8.      The march will highlight that 75 years on from Jarrow we are still
in a position where we have to fight for the right to decent jobs and
an education. It is important that we put the issue of youth
unemployment and young people fighting for a future at the top of the
anti-cuts movement’s agenda
Conference encourages delegates to:
1.       Leave their details so they can be contacted about events in their
area to build for the march, and about demonstrations and public
meetings taking place along the route of the march.
2.      Advertise and publicise the above as widely as possible
3.      Help build for either the Northern demonstration in Jarrow on
October 1st or the national demonstration on November 5th, so as to
build unity between students, young workers and unemployed youth.
4.      Encourage someone from this branch/meeting/committee should
participate in the march or at least portions of the march

Proposed: Nick Hart. Unanimously passed.

Tube Motion:

NCAFC to write a statement of support to victimised RMT workers and in
support of potential future strike action regarding it, to be done
early next week. Passed. (Vote not recorded).

Proposal: to start organising a demo and invite NUS to get onboard; to
draft a letter telling (not asking) NUS we want a demo. TO ensure the
demo takes place on a weekend. To work with labour clubs and SUs to
get their support for a demo. Passed. (Vote not recorded).

Remaining motions and proposals to be taken to the Committee.

Motion: NCAFC to reinvigorate regional NCAFC groups. For those
regional groups to help organise with those institutions that are
facing the worst cuts.

Motion: That we occupy other universities than those which are
affected in order to raise awareness. (I.e. that when cuts happen at
London Met, we occupy Kings.)

Proposal: to call walkout days leading up to the demo.

Proposal: collaborating in helping get lefties into Students Union
positions.

Proposal: to have NCAFC domain names (e.g. UCL.anticuts.com)

Proposal: support mobilisation around the NHS and privatisation.

Proposal: to get students to walkout in the upcoming days for June
30th.

Conclusion:

Email list/website to let people know of results. No need to set a
date for National Committee to meet, but should say they should meet
online within a week (esp for June 30th).

Results of election:
Claire Locke, London Met president-elect
Eshe Asante, London Met
Ed Maltby, London
Daniel Cooper, Royal Holloway president-elect
Ed Bauer, Birmingham VP education-elect
Gordon Maloney, Aberdeen, NUS Scotland executive
Ryan Barnes, Belfast, Northern Ireland Student Assembly
James McAsh, Edinburgh
Alice Swift, Birmingham
Clare Lister, Birmingham
Jade Baker, Westminster, NUS Women’s Committee
Bob Sutton, Liverpool Guild of Students VP-elect
Aaron Peters, UCL
Greg Brown, UCL.

SUMMATION OF PASSED NCAFC POLICY:

•       To help OU with their online presence.
•       NCAFC needs a press release and statement on website in support of
the strike on June 30th as soon as possible. Got press officers from
last conference – give it to them to produce. London region has a
leaflet for school students which could be used.
•       NCAFC makes proposal and recommendations for people to take in the
run up and on the day of June 30th, and make resources available for
people. On the website there should be a collation of different groups
acting locally on the 30th to find out what’s happening in local
area.
•       NCAFC should work to get students in November and December in FE
involved again. Recommendation to activists in FE that now is the time
to phone around and organise. Phone local university groups. 1.
Organise inside schools etc and use internet to co-ordinate this. 2.
FE campaigns should be run by FE students, so we need to get them
active. Hence 2 proposals. Also to help FE students in getting them
elected as NUS delegates. To make contacts through youth contacts and
schools, and the upcoming mass meeting of FE students. To create a
forum (e.g. an email list) for people to share this advice regionally.
Every occupation should contact local schools.
•       University students need to support lecturers out on strike, NCAFC
to run a campaign around this.
•       To reiterate NCAFC’s opposition to fees, public sector cuts, and in
favour of free education. Committee to look at further wording – e.g.
either ‘tax the rich’ or ‘support free education funded by progressive
taxation.’
•       To build for demonstrations outside of all party conferences.
Particular focus on Conservative Party Conference as ruling party and
at start of Freshers Fayre. NCAFC to organise a demo outside of Labour
Party conference whilst pressuring Labour councillors not to make
cuts.

Democratic Structures Motion (including amendments):

The most authoritative decision-making body of the NCAFC is its
conference, which will take place at least once a year.

Every conference will hold new elections for a national committee
composed of fourteen members. In addition to this the committee will
include one representative from each formally affiliated organisation
and one from each NCAFC liberation caucus. Functions such as
treasurer, website managers etc will be appointed by the committee.

The committee must meet at least once every six weeks, and minutes
must be posted on the NCAFC website within a week of each meeting.

Regional meetings of NCAFC supporters can take place and decide their
own structures.

Oppressed groups can self-organise liberation caucuses within the
NCAFC and decide their own structures.
The election to national committee should be conducted using STV.

If regional conferences form then each should have a representative on
the national committee.

National meetings can be conducted over Skype or a similar program.

If meetings of the national committee are held in person NCAFC will
pay the necessary expenses for voting members to travel to the
location.

Delegates from affiliated organisation such as local anti cuts groups
or students unions should be invited to the national committee as non-
voting members.

Of the 14 people elected from national conference to the national
committee at least 5 must self-define as women.
Delegates to the national committee are recallable by the respective
selecting group. Conference-elected delegates can be deposed by a
motion of no confidence passed by at least 5 a groups and/or
liberation caucuses.

Jarrow March Motion:

Conference notes that:

1.      Youth unemployment has reached its highest level since records
began. There are presently just under 1 million 16-24 year olds not in
education, employment or training (NEET)
2.      That the ConDem government plans to axe an estimated 700,000 public
sector jobs. This will also impact on the private sector as people
spend less money in retail and companies losing contracts with the
public sector.
3.      We have also seen the most brutal attacks on the right to an
education in decades with government rasing the cap on tuition fees to
£9000 a year and scrapping the Education Maintenance Allowance.
Students have already led the way in fighting back against attacks on
young people’s rights and living standards.
4.      That this year marks the 75th anniversary of the Jarrow march where
200 unemployed workers marched from Jarrow to London against
unemployment and in protest at their poor living conditions.
5.      That Youth Fight for Jobs will be marking the event by holding a
march from Jarrow to London in protest against the lack of decent jobs
for young people and for the right to a free education
6.      The march will be a vital part of building the mass movement of
unemployed youth, students and young workers against the Con-Dems’
brutal austerity agenda.
7.      The NUS has failed to call a national demonstration against
education cuts next term, just as the cuts will begin to be
implemented in many institutions.
8.      The march will highlight that 75 years on from Jarrow we are still
in a position where we have to fight for the right to decent jobs and
an education. It is important that we put the issue of youth
unemployment and young people fighting for a future at the top of the
anti-cuts movement’s agenda.

Conference encourages delegates to:

1)       Leave their details so they can be contacted about events in their
area to build for the march, and about demonstrations and public
meetings taking place along the route of the march.
2)      Advertise and publicise the above as widely as possible
3)      Help build for either the Northern demonstration in Jarrow on
October 1st or the national demonstration on November 5th, so as to
build unity between students, young workers and unemployed youth.
4)      Encourage someone from this branch/meeting/committee should
participate in the march or at least portions of the march

Tube Motion:

NCAFC to write a statement of support to victimised RMT workers and in
support of potential future strike action regarding it, to be done
early next week.

Proposal:
-To start organising a demo and invite NUS to get onboard; to draft a
letter telling (not asking) NUS we want a demo. TO ensure the demo
takes place on a weekend. To work with labour clubs and SUs to get
their support for a demo.

Proposal:
-To start organising a demo and invite NUS to get onboard; to draft a
letter telling (not asking) NUS we want a demo. TO ensure the demo
takes place on a weekend. To work with labour clubs and SUs to get
their support for a demo.

Proposals to be decided by National Committee:

-Motion: NCAFC to reinvigorate regional NCAFC groups. For those
regional groups to help organise with those institutions that are
facing the worst cuts.
-Motion: That we occupy other universities than those which are
affected in order to raise awareness. (I.e. that when cuts happen at
London Met, we occupy Kings.)
-Proposal: to call walkout days leading up to the demo.
-Proposal: collaborating in helping get lefties into Students Union
positions.
-Proposal: to have NCAFC domain names (e.g. UCL.anticuts.com)
-Proposal: support mobilisation around the NHS and privatisation.
-Proposal: to get students to walkout in the upcoming days for June
30th.