Reclaim NUS!

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13 million people voted for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in 2017. Amongst those aged between 18-25 62% voted Labour and 100,000 are members. Seats like Canterbury and Sheffield Hallam (bibi Clegg) were largely won by the sudden turnout of students who were enthused by radical politics. The Labour Party achieved all of this with a flagship policy of a National Education Service, providing universal free education for life.

This surge has finally hit the student movement on the ground. In the past year, the Higher Education sector has been swept with new waves of activists and activism. Student struggles up and down the country are challenging overpaid and corrupt University Management and governance structures, using direct action against the ever-rising cost of rent, fighting for fully funded mental health services and actively supporting staff in the largest wave of industrial action that Higher Education has ever seen. We are standing at a crossroads in the student movement and education sector where, if we lose, it may jade this new movement into paralysis. However, if we win, this emerging movement could change the face of our education system and UK politics for ever! But… where is the NUS?

The current NUS leadership has busied itself cosying up to parliamentarians, attempting to look and be ‘respectable’. Their failure in aims and strategy was highlighted by, Despite NUS’ best efforts, being laughably blocked from the board of the Office for Students by Downing Street SPADS leaving an unelected student at Surrey to represent us. Simply playing Select Committee doesn’t work, we can never win at their game. We must use collective power to force our wins, but NUS has consistently failed to support activists on the ground: from blocking a motion to support the national demo from even being discussed on NEC to their complete lack of effort to show mean solidarity with the UCU strikes.

There have been over 20 occupations in the last few weeks around the country, students risking their studies to support the UCU, has Shakira Martin visited any of them? Has Izzy Lenga been to a Teach-Out? NUS have put out nothing about the UCU pension dispute since February. After our members on the NEC passed a motion mandating NUS to support the strikes, the leadership didn’t even bother to produce their own material to distribute to SUs, instead they lazily uploaded UCU’s leaflets to NUS Connect and said goodbye. The Labour Students/Organised Independents slate this year is so out of touch with the membership that, at the high-point of Corbynism, they have still managed to run a candidate for NUS VP who will go on national TV and argue for a Graduate Tax.

We need national co-ordination of this emerging new grassroots movements and a leadership forged from the bottom-up more than ever. That is why NCAFC are running the following candidates for the NUS executive:

Sahaya James – President
Ana Oppenheim – VP Higher Education

NEC Block of 15:

Stuart McMillan
Justine Canady
Monty Shield

They are standing alongside other candidates from the broader left of NUS:

Eva Crossan Jory – VP Welfare
Zamzam Ibrahim – VP Society & Citizenship
Ali Milani – VP Union Development
Neal Black – VP Further Education

Conference will be full of excited Corbynista delegates, new activists from the campus grassroots and many will be buoyed from waves of activity on the ground all over the country. We are making clear that whilst the opposition at conference may wear the tokenistic badge of ‘Labour’, they are not the representatives of the movement spawned from and around Corbynism. They cannot lead students through this forthcoming era of change and radicalism, but the movement can.

National Committee Election Results

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After the elections at this weekend’s Winter Conference, we can announce that our members have elected the following National Committee. They’ll serve until Summer Conference, since the conference also voted to move our main annual elections from winter to summer. More detailed reports from conference, including the decisions made, coming soon!

Open places

  • Ana Oppenheim
  • Andrew Peak
  • Chris Townsend
  • Declan Burns
  • George Bunn
  • Hansika Jethnani
  • Helena Navarrete Plana
  • Rida Vaquas
  • Rory Hughes
  • Sahaya James
  • Stuart McMillan
  • Tam Wilson
  • Tom Zagoria
  • Zoe Salanitro

Liberation caucuses

  • BAME rep: Sara Khan
  • Disabled rep: Edward Williamson
  • LGBT+ rep: Jess Bradley & Rob Noon (job-share)
  • Women & Non-Binary rep: Justine Canady & Maisie Sanders (job-share)

Sections

  • FE & Schools rep: Hasan Patel
  • Postgrads & Education Workers rep: Mark Crawford & Dan Davison (job-share)
  • International Students rep: Robert Liow

Regions

  • London: Monty Shield & Andy Warren (job-share)
  • South East: Alex Stuart
  • Midlands: [To be elected at regional meeting]
  • South West: Tyrone Falls
  • North: Charlie Porter & David Bullock
  • Scotland: [To be elected at NCAFC Scotland Conference 2018]

Announcing…NCAFC Winter Conference 2015!

11921816_965268716866375_6593609279777932551_o4-6 December 2015
Sheffield

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How our conference democracy works

Six months into the new Tory government and the attacks on students and education just keep coming, with the abolition of maintenance grants, hikes in loan repayments, and a whole array of nasty methods of pushing forward the marketisation of our education system.

The student fightback has already begun, with NCAFC organising the National Demo for Free Education in November and making plans for a national student strike in the next few months.

NCAFC National Conference is a chance to come together and plan where the student movement goes next. The weekend will include political discussion and debate, chances to learn about the student movement past and present, and make plans for the future.

With a mix of speaker sessions, workshops, liberation caucuses, and democratic sessions, the conference is your chance to meet student activists from across the country and have your say on what NCAFC does next.

This conference will include the election of the National Committee (NC) as well as hearing and voting on motions submitted by the membership. The deadline for motion submission is 23:59, Friday 20 November. (For more information on how motions work, see How our conference democracy works)

We will be providing accommodation. Please register online, and get in touch if you have any questions via [email protected].

NCAFC members to elect candidates for NUS leadership: nominations open now

Logo of the National Union of StudentsAs part of our National Conference 12-14 December, where we will debate and decide on plans for where to take our movement next, the NCAFC’s members will also select our endorsed candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presidencies of the National Union of Students.

Nominations are open now and will close at 23:59 Monday 1 December [extended to 23:59 Saturday 6 December]. Please read the details below about submitting nominations.

Mass mobilisation and democratic organising for protest, direct action and industrial action are the NCAFC’s focus. As activists we work both within student union structures – transforming them where we can – and independently of them as much as we need to. We aim to build a movement in our campuses, workplaces and communities, not just to win control of formal organisations. It is tempting to imagine, as some on the left do, that electoral victories at the top could offer a short-cut past the hard work of developing a healthy, democratic movement and union from the bottom up – this is a mistake.

Nevertheless, participating in these elections is worthwhile because they are a platform – one of many opportunities to argue for our ideas, challenge the direction of the bureaucratised NUS, and present the alternatives of a principled, militant student movement and a fighting, democratic union. And though elected officers are no substitute for a movement, they can help to build that alternative if they remain connected to the movement that put them there.

Therefore our candidates must be selected by, and democratically accountable to, our movement. So we invite potential candidates to put their proposed political platforms forward, and we invite members to.

  • The conference will discuss NCAFC’s candidates for the following full-time NUS positions: President, Vice President (Further Education), Vice President (Higher Education), Vice President (Welfare), Vice President (Union Development) and Vice President (Society & Citizenship). Candidates must be available to run at the NUS National Conference on 21-23 April 2015. Other NUS elections will be discussed separately.
  • Nominations must be received at [email protected] by 23:59 Monday 1 December [extended to 23:59 Saturday 6 December]
  • Candidates can include members and non-members of the NCAFC.
  • Nominations should include a political statement of no more than 800 words. This should be text only, with no graphics. Statements will be reproduced publicly and on the NCAFC members’ forum for discussion, and we hope that as many members as possible will join debate on that forum in the run-up to the conference.
  • If possible, candidates should attend NCAFC Conference 12-14 December, where there will be hustings on the Sunday.
  • We would be grateful if candidates could indicate whether they fall within any liberation strands (by self-definition – Women, LGBT students, Disabled students, Black students) so that representation in our slate can be considered. However, this is optional.
  • The NCAFC will campaign for its selected candidates. Our members who are NUS delegates will be encouraged to vote accordingly, but are not required to do so.

See also: how to submit proposals and run for election to the NCAFC’s National Committee