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: Bobby Sun

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
  • Scotland: [To be elected at NCAFC Scotland Conference 2018]

NCAFC conference: motions released, propose amendments now!

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The NCAFC’s national conference on 12-14 December is our chance to come together as education activists from across the country, and discuss and democratically decide the way forward for our movement. Debating and voting on formal proposals – motions – is one part of how we do that.

Below you can find the motions that affiliated groups have submitted. All individual NCAFC members are entitled to propose amendments to these – please send them to [email protected] before 23:59 Saturday 6 December. Amendments may add to, delete from, and/or edit the text of, these motions – please clearly indicate exactly which text from the original motion you propose to alter, and please specify the name of the person proposing the amendment.

Please register for the conference online as soon as possible! Please note that you must be a member of the NCAFC to participate in debating and voting on motions – join online.

These are the motions as they were received: please note that where separate motions discuss related issues, they may later be composited together for the debate if appropriate.

You can read more about motions, amendments and NCAFC democratic processes here.

Please note that the deadline for nominations to be considered for NCAFC endorsements in the NUS elections has been extended to 23:59 Saturday 6 December.


Motions receieved:

  • Intervening in NUS (UCL Defend Education)
  • NCAFC and the General Election (UCL Defend Education)
  • NUS NEC and other committees (Workers’ Liberty)
  • The General Election and free education (Workers’ Liberty)
  • Proposal for a national demonstration in Birmingham (Workers’ Liberty)
  • Creating a long-term strategy for the free education movement (Defend Education Birmingham)
  • Organising Regional Assemblies (Defend Education Birmingham)
  • International question (Defend Education Birmingham)
  • Our working environment (NCAFC National Committee)
  • Creating Safer Spaces (Defend Education Birmingham)

Amendments to the NCAFC constitution received:

  • Abolishing group seats on the National Committee (UCL Defend Education)
  • Having two democratic conferences per year (Defend Education Birmingham)

Intervening in NUS

Proposed by UCL Defend Education

NCAFC believes:

  1. Despite the heavily bureaucratised nature of NUS, and despite a history of betrayals by its leadership even where we have won the political arguments, we should continue to make interventions into it.
  2. NUS and local student unions are the only mass organisations of students. Activist groups like NCAFC and the local groups that make it up are vital, but they are a fundamentally different type of thing, made up only of those people already convinced of our goals. Though we can and should organise and take action outside unions, we can’t just completely ignore them and attempt to entirely substitute smaller groups of radicals in place of mass collective organisations.
  3. NUS and local unions are heavily bureaucratised. Legal frameworks, the influence of senior staff, relationships with university & college managers and government, and similar factors conspire to block radical activity and to place strong right-wing pressures on officers who get elected. So in the long-run we need to transform them – they should be participative, democratic, and founded in collective, combative action.
  4. We can’t transform NUS and our unions, or win things like free and democratic education, just by replacing right-wingers in the bureaucracy with left-wingers, or by diplomacy and manoeuvring within NUS structures. Instead our interventions have to be based on clear principles, and they have to be rooted in and accountable to activists on the ground.
  5. In the long-run, it is better to fight for our principles and our goals and find ourselves in a small minority, than to attempt to ingratiate ourselves with the circles and cliques that run in NUS and union structures.
  6. As a general rule, the prospect of losing a vote or losing allies should not hold us back from arguing for what we believe in.

NCAFC Resolves:

  1. We are not just a faction inside NUS. Our main purposes must remain organising and building for action, and convincing people to join that fight by discussing ideas: we should not let ourselves be consumed by competing within NUS.
  2. To put forward policies and election candidates in NUS on the basis of uncompromising, clear principles – NUS conferences and elections should be used as platforms to promote our ideas and our goals and to challenge the bureaucratised state of the NUS and the right-wing, anti-democratic records of much of its leadership. We should not water ourselves down in the hope of slipping through into power.
  3. Our interventions must be accountable to the movement we are building. Therefore, when we do win NUS posts for NCAFC candidates, we expect those officers and reps to remain closely accountable to NCAFC and its members. They should report regularly to the appropriate democratic structures in NCAFC, and consult with them over what they do in post at NUS.
  4. In general, the job of those officers and reps is to be the voice of grassroots left activists within NUS. Of course they should use their judgement to work with other officers and reps as appropriate, but they must put a priority on advocacy of our principles and goals and on representing activists on the ground, above diplomacy and manoeuvring within the circles and cliques that run in NUS and union structures.

NCAFC and the General Election

Proposed by UCL Defend Education

NCAFC Notes:

  1. The upcoming UK general election in May.
  2. That the general approach of NUS and most student union leaderships to elections is to emphasise the importance of voting and voter registration, and where concrete demands are put, this is with little real force.

NCAFC Believes:

  1. Parliamentary democracy under capitalism is far better than nothing, but it is profoundly limited, and to achieve the kind of radical changes we want to see requires more than just electoral action. Whoever is in government – even left or centre-left parties – students, the working class and oppressed groups need to organise and use direct action and industrial action to fight for our interests. Negotiation and lobbying, without leverage, are not enough.
  2. Too much of the student union movement either fails to recognise this or merely pays lip-service. Worse, much of our leadership, especially officers aligned to the right-wing of Labour, actively suppresses criticism and radical action in service of their personal careerist ambitions.
  3. NCAFC includes supporters of various electoral parties as well as supporters of none, and this breadth is a good thing. We are united by shared political goals and a commitment to democratic grassroots organising and action.
  4. Our priority, as the activist left of the student movement, must be to convince people to go beyond voting – to convince them that whoever is in government, we need to organise and fight. Disillusionment with parliamentary democracy is already common; what we can offer is a positive response to that disillusionment.
  5. It would be self-defeating to ignore the fact that elections provide a key opportunity that should not be missed – there is raised political awareness and an atmosphere of greater potential for engagement.

NCAFC Resolves:

  1. To take advantage of the politicised atmosphere around the election to emphasise the following message – that while it is useful to vote, it is much more powerful to organise for action, and that whichever party or parties are in power at any level of government, it will be necessary to take combative action to secure our needs and goals.
  2. To push for this approach to elections within student unions and NUS.
  3. To continue building a combative movement for free education before and after the election, based in democratic organisation, protest and direct action. This campaign for free education should be more explicitly broadened to highlight the demand for a decent living grant to every student over the age of 16. Before the election we should be clear that we will be organising to fight whatever government is elected.
  4. To make a particular point of clearly highlighting and criticising the political failures and betrayals of Labour, the Greens and similar electoral parties, as it is especially important to drive a wedge against the right-wing within such organisations.

NUS National Executive Committee and other committees

Proposed by Workers’ Liberty

Notes

  1. That NCAFC has a number of supporters on NUS committees including the National Executive Council.

Believes

  1. That this presence has played a useful role in promoting left-wing/grassroots-activist/class struggle politics from within the structures of NUS, and our comrades on committees including the NEC have done many good things with it.
  2. That the operation of our comrades on the NEC nonetheless leaves something to be desired.
  3. That problems include: NCAFC supporters on the NEC failing to communicate and consult with each other and with the NC in the run up to meetings; failing to write reports before or afterwards; and ducking political fights in various ways.
  4. That the political problem is dramatised by the fact that there was no motion on the 19 November demonstration submitted to the 2 December NEC meeting, despite the NUS leadership’s outrageous sell out of the movement and subversion of NUS democracy – because most of our comrades would not second the motion proposed – and that it was only possible to submit an emergency motion because previously non-NCAFC people seconded it.
  5. That while there are sometimes tactical considerations and reasons for caution, in general we should use the NEC and similar committees to fight boldly and audaciously for our policies and politics. We owe this to the student movement; it is far more important than not pissing off right-wing and soft-left people in the NUS structures.

Resolves

  1. To call on NCAFC supporters on NUS NEC and other committees
    1. To consult and communicate with each other and with the NC in the run up to committee meetings about what to submit, how to intervene, etc, and publish notifications on the website about the issues coming up.
    2. To publish reports on the website after every meeting.
  2. That none of this means that our comrades on such committees cannot hold, express and put forward different or minority positions. The point is that there should be consultation and where possible cooperation.
  3. That NC meetings should include a section where members of NUS committees report back.
  4. To call on all NCAFC supporters, whatever their position in the movement, to use it in the spirit of a bold and audacious fight for left-wing/grassroots-activist/class-struggle politics.

The General Election and Free Education

Proposed by Workers’ Liberty

Believes

  1. That the student movement should seek to use the general election to impose its demands, including free education.
  2. That UKIP’s racist anti-migrant agitation – and all mainstream parties’ acceptance of UKIP’s terms – will politically dominate the election period.

Resolves

  1. To organise meetings and actions in the student movement to assert the right of international students to free education; and more generally to oppose immigration controls and anti-migrant agitation.
  2. To ask the NC to consult on and produce a short statement of demands to campaign around in the run up to and during the general election.
  3. To work with the Labour Campaign for Free Education to demand that Labour adopts free education and other student demands.
  4. To work with the Young Greens.
  5. To seek public support from all the major national trade unions (and also their youth sections) for free education and our other demands.
  6. To work with local groups and student unions to organise a targeted rolling program of pickets and protest against MPs.

Proposal for a National Demonstration in Birmingham

Proposed by Workers’ Liberty

Next term the student movement will need to organise more action to keep free education (as well as opposition to cuts and privatisation, opposition to victimisations and anti-democratic crackdowns, and solidarity with workers in struggle) on the agenda. This will mostly be local action but it would also be good to have another national focus for the movement.

This is a proposal to hold a national demonstration in Birmingham sometime in the second term. Why?

  1. It would be good to demonstrate somewhere other than London.
  2. There is an important activist group in Birmingham, Defend Education, which has many of its own issues to highlight, needs support and can build effectively locally.
  3. The Labour Party’s Higher Education spokesperson, Liam Byrne, is a Birmingham MP, and is busy selling out even the crap 6k fees promise Ed Miliband made to students. We should take the demonstration to his constituency and embarrass him and Labour.

A national demonstration for free education in Birmingham, with has as one element condemning Labour’s repeated sell outs and wholesale capitulation to neo-liberalism and demanding it changes it policy to free education, would be a good thing to do.

We could also get trade unions locally and nationally to support and sponsor the demonstration – starting with local support and then demanding national support.

Clearly we are not going to get 10,000 students to Birmingham in February, but we can get a very substantial number if we start organising now. We should seek to get student unions and activist groups to organise transport.

NCAFC should work with BDE on this and call for wider support.


 

Creating a long term strategy for the free education movement

Proposed by Defend Education Birmingham

NCAFC notes:

  1. The amendments deadline, which has not yet passed

NCAFC believes:

  1. The past few months have been the product of an unprecedented level of work and strategy done by student activists – inside NCAFC and outside – and we need to keep this going and continue to develop a strategy that can keep the student movement going and beat the government.

NCAFC resolves:

  1. To develop a strategy which includes:
    1. More effective raising and using of resources, looking towards paying national organisers
    2. The expansion and improvement of local groups
    3. The expansion and improvement of NCAFC
    4. More and better direct action
    5. More effective and clearer strategies for interacting with institutions – including NUS and formal politics
  2. To release a ‘ free education battleplan’ and to develop an organisational strategy based on (a) the resolves of this motion (after amendments), along with (b) other actions and strategies we pass at conference and (c) elements of informal discussion from conference incorporated by the NC.

Organising Regional Assemblies

Proposed by Defend Education Birmingham

NCAFC notes:

  1. That the number of active local campus anti-cuts/free education groups has increased in the past few months

NCAFC believes:

  1. That helping these groups to co-ordinate regional assemblies could lead to greater links between activists in a similar localities, enable them to discuss issues relevant to their area, organise joint direction actions and pass on skills and knowledge between different activists and groups
  2. That these regional groups are potentially in a better position to help start up activist groups on nearby campuses than the National Committee

NCAFC resolves:

  1. To work with established anti-cuts/free education groups to work out sensible regional groupings
  2. To work with these groups to set up and publicise regional assemblies in the spring term where different groups and activists for a similar area can come together
  3. That these regional assemblies shall be autonomous from NCAFC but they may decide to establish themselves as a “Region” and thus secure a place on the National Committee. They may decide their own policy, hold their own elections and organise their own actions if they so choose

International question

NCAFC believes:

  1. That is a group primarily concerned with fighting against fees and cuts within higher and further education
  2. NCAFC should be composed of a broad coalition of groups with the aim of achieving the aforementioned aims
  3. Following this, NCAFC should avoid making statements around international matters not directly related to education

NCAFC resolves to:

  1. Avoid making statements around international matters not directly related to education

Our working environment

Proposed by: NCAFC National Committee

NCAFC believes

  1. That we should have high expectations of good behaviour to ensure as safe and pleasant a working environment as possible.
  2. That oppressive behaviour:
    1. is generally unconscious, unintentional and a product of an oppressive society and environment
    2. is nonetheless unacceptable and should be prevented and challenged
    3. must not be responded to with more oppressive behaviour in response.
  3. That we should take collective responsibility for each other’s’ behaviour:
    1. We should ‘police’ ourselves democratically, collectively and equally. We should not rely on policing ‘from above’.
    2. It is not possible to legislate away oppressive behaviour and it is not desirable to give anyone the power to try to do so.
    3. We should act to prevent, challenge and rehabilitate but never to punish.
  4. That poor behaviour should be challenged constructively, respectfully and, where appropriate, confidentially.
  5. That we should be as inclusive as possible but that it is, nonetheless, sometimes necessary to exclude people from a space.

NCAFC resolves

  1. Replace the existing Safe Spaces Policy with the attached:
    1. Good Conduct Policy and
    2. Events Policy

Good Conduct Policy

  1. It is expected that participants at NCAFC events:
    1. respect the authority of the Chair and only challenge it through the appropriate structures
    2. treat one another with respect and courtesy, even when challenging their behaviour
    3. do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, sex, gender, age, sexuality, language, disability, asylum status, religious affiliation or any other arbitrary criteria.
    4. get explicit verbal consent before touching someone
    5. avoid assuming the opinions and identification of other participants
    6. act in a spirit of comradely co-operation
    7. do not consume alcohol or recreational drugs
    8. give one another the time and space to speak, using appropriate, understood and agreed hand signals where relevant
    9. are responsible not only for their own behaviour but for challenging poor behaviour in others
  2. NCAFC will ensure that events
    1. are hosted in venues as accessible as possible to the widest range of people
    2. include, where possible, a supervised quiet room
    3. are halted for an access break of no less than 10 minutes at the request of any one person, providing that there has not been one in the previous 90 minutes
  3. It is the collective responsibility of all NCAFC members to ensure that this Policy is followed.

Events Policy

  1. There shall be an Organising Committee for each NCAFC event.
  2. That in serious circumstances this Committee shall have the power to remove, by unanimous decision, an individual from the event.
  3. The committee shall exercise this power if all of the following criteria are met:
    1. A member of the NCAFC has requested that the individual(s) is removed from the event or set of events.
    2. There is good reason to suspect that the individual(s) poses a serious risk to the safety of other participants.
    3. There is good reason why this request cannot be dealt with democratically and publicly.
  4. This decision:
    1. is based on whether someone’s presence could reasonably pose a serious risk to participants’ safety
    2. should not be interpreted as a pronouncement of guilt or innocence, nor a recommendation to other organisations for how they should act.
    3. should be reported to the
      1. excluded individual(s)
      2. the member who made the request

Creating Safer Spaces

Proposed by Defend Education Birmingham

NCAFC believes:

  1. That any campaign which concerns itself with education ought to be inclusive of all aspects of the struggle, specifically the struggles of those from marginalised groups
  2. That we can only ever create a ‘safer’ space, not an entirely safe space, and that this is an on-going process which ought to be regularly assessed and revised by a rotating working group
  3. That safer spaces exist in order to empower oppressed individuals and groups and to challenge oppressive behaviour within an organisation/group either by individuals or by groups involved in the campaign
  4. That we should take collective responsibility for each other’s’ behaviour:
    1. We should ‘police’ ourselves democratically, collectively and equally. We should not rely on policing ‘from above’.
    2. It is not possible to legislate away oppressive behaviour and it is not desirable to give anyone the power to try to do so.
    3. We should act to prevent, challenge and rehabilitate. Only through this approach can we build towards a more inclusive/unoppressive environment.
  5. That breaches of the safer spaces policy should be dealt with respectfully and constructively, with a sensitivity to aspects which should be kept confidential when necessary.
  6. That, in extreme circumstances, it may be necessary to exclude individuals or groups from the space.

NCAFC resolves:

  1. To replace the existing Safe Space Policy with the attached Safer Spaces Policy and Accountability Processes

Safer Spaces Policy

It is the collective responsibility of all NCAFC members to ensure the following points are acted upon both during meetings/conferences/events and online on the NCAFC Loomio, Facebook page and website (where points are applicable):

  1. Participants should respect the facilitatory methods of the Chair and only challenge them through the appropriate structures
  2. Participants should not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, sex, gender, age, sexuality, language, disability, asylum status, religious affiliation or any other structurally oppressive criteria.
  3. Everyone should get explicit verbal consent before touching someone, this is a part of respecting one another’s emotional and physical boundaries. Sexual harassment or sexual assault will lead to the perpetrator being banned from the premises and potential police involvement, if desired by the victim(s), will be fully supported. If you encounter any kind of harassment or assault please let us know, so that those responsible can be dealt with.
  4. We should avoid assuming the opinions and identification of other participants. Examples include, but are not limited to, assumptions regarding sex, sexuality, gender identity, preferred personal pronouns, neurotypicality, able-bodied status, socio-economic background, relationship model (monogamous, polyamorous etc.) and religious beliefs.
  5. Try to avoid speaking about obviously psychologically triggering topics (including not limited to: rape, sexual assault, self-harm, suicide, abuse etc.) in a public domain or, where possible, preclude this with a ‘trigger warning’. This can be simply a verbal warning of the content of the discussion, with adequate room for objection or avoidance for those who may find the topic triggering. In general we encourage open and frank discussion of issues related to oppression and ideology surrounding this. However, this should not be at the risk of alienating or causing others psychological distress.
  6. During meetings and other related non-social events refrain from consuming alcohol or recreational drugs
  7. We should give one another the time and space to speak, using appropriate, understood and agreed hand signals where relevant
  8. We are responsible not only for our own behaviour but for challenging poor behaviour in others
  9. We should always be aware of the social space we occupy, as well as the positions and privileges we may be conveying, including racial, class and gender privilege. If a member of a liberation group (keeping in mind that it is possible to be oppressive whilst identifying also identifying as a part of that oppressed group) requests that you change your use of language regarding topics about their liberation, please be respectful and change your use of language. If you are unsure as to the reason your language was inappropriate or offensive, please politely request that the complainant explain, if they feel they are able to or are willing to with the understanding that they in no way owe you this explanation. Failing this, remove yourself from the situation and take on personal research on the matter.
  10. During all meetings and events there should be access breaks for a minimum of ten minutes at least every 90 minutes and/or upon request.

Accountability processes

  1. NCAFC should elect a Safer Spaces working group/committee who are committed to ensuring the enacting of the Safer Spaces Policy both at events and in online organising spaces (e.g. the NCAFC Loomio , website and Facebook page).
    1. This working group will deal with any and all breaches of the Safer Spaces Policy, or complaints regarding it.
    2. The working group should be up for re-election at every conference at a minimum
    3. The working group should include at least one person from each liberation caucus (BME, Women’s, LGBTQ and Disabled) though other may join if they wish to
    4. The working group should be composed of at least eight people, if not more
    5. It shall be the duty of the working group to deal with complaints in a timely and sensitive manner
  2. During meetings if the Safer Spaces Policy is breached members on the working group should feel free to point it out and attempt to deal with it. Others may also come forward to inform the working group about Safer Spaces breaches. All complaints should be taken seriously.

Language/assumptions/biases complaints

  1. If oppressive language is used it should be challenged as soon as possible
  2. Generally, if people feel able, it should addressed immediately and called out, with appropriate explanations as to why it is oppressive and what language might be used instead
  3. If the offender apologises and changes their language immediately, and this is their first or one of their first offences, the matter need not be pursued any further
  4. If, however, this person refuses to change their language and/or is a repeat offender the matter should be taken up by the working group who will discuss further measures to take including:
  5. Issuing the offender with a formal warning (written or verbal) and explanation of how their use of language is offensive, reminding them of the Safer Spaces Policy
  6. Asking the offender to leave the group entirely if it is felt that they are not at all receptive, after the formal warning
  7. If it is felt this is a widespread or commonly misunderstood issue there should be discuss of a workshop to inform others on the issues surrounding this particular complaint

Oppressive behaviours

  1. If members behaviours are oppressive (e.g. constantly talking over others, turning up to meetings drunk, refusing to let others speak) this should be challenged immediately
  2. Generally, if people feel able, the behaviours should be called out by any members, in particular those who are part of the working group
  3. If the offender recognises their behaviour as oppressive and attempts to rectify this immediately, then the group should be supportive and continue to help them address these behaviours
  4. If, however, the offender refuses to engage with this process they should be:
  5. Asked to leave with immediate effect, that particular event, pending investigation
  6. Be under investigation i.e. the complainants and other witnesses should inform the working group of examples of their behaviour, including a statement from the offender, which should all be taken into account and final decision should be made regarding the offenders future involvement in NCAFC
  7. If the offender is found ‘guilty’ by the working group they should be asked to leave and to refrain from attending all future NCAFC events and banned from online spaces
  8. The working group may decide to put a time limit on these measures, or to only carry out some of them, depending on severity

Physical/Sexual harassment, assault and violation of boundaries

  1. If members or the working group witnesses or hears of any form of coercive, non-consenting physical or sexual assault they should encourage the victim to come forward and report it. Only if the victim is comfortable should this be taken to the official working group, they are under no obligation to report it.
  2. This matter should be dealt with by as few people as possible. One person on the working group should be involved directly with the complainant. They should remain anonymous to all other members of the working group to try and avoid bias. The case should be presented in a neutral, victim-led way.
  3. The case should be reviewed by the working group taking into consideration statement from both the victim and the accused, but with the understanding that this process should always depend on the victim’s wishes. It is NOT for the working group to decide whether or not the accused is guilt they ONLY decide if they consider them a threat to others and the victim’s safety.
  4. The working group may decide to take any or all of the following measures:
  5. Issue a warning to the offender that their behaviour has made others uncomfortable and that any further breach may lead to more serious action being taken
  6. Banning the offender from all future events and online forums
  7. Banning the offender for a fixed period of time
  8. Ensuring that the offender and the victim (and those affected) are not in the same spaces
  9. Supporting the victim in either legal action or restorative justice

Amendment to the constitution – abolishing group seats on the National Committee

Proposed by UCL Defend Education

NCAFC believes

  1. The ability for local groups, not just individuals, to take seats on the National Committee (NC) has failed as a system since it was introduced last year.
  2. These group delegate seats raise problems for democracy and accountability.
    1. They make the elections less democratic and more apolitical. NCAFC members at conference can vote for individuals on the basis of their different political ideas of the NCAFC, ensuring that different political tendencies are fairly represented within the NC via an STV voting system – but you cannot vote for a local group on a clear political basis unless you pretend that local groups are basically politically homogeneous and relatively unchanging. In reality the basis of the elections then tends to become more apolitical or clique-based.
    2. This raises the question – to whom is the NC accountable? These delegates are supposed to be accountable to their local groups – so they cannot be properly accountable to the wider membership of NCAFC, unlike individual members who can be held accountable to the politics on which they ran for election.
    3. These delegate seats mean that rather than the whole membership (via conference) being represented by the NC, instead a small number of local groups are given disproportionate power. Those members who happen to be in local groups that for whatever reason don’t get delegate seats elected, or isolated outside sustained groups, are less well-represented.
  3. Most of the examples of delegate seats this year have not worked in terms of being able to involve the whole group deeply and consistently in decision-making. This is not an easy system to make work unless a group is, and consistently remains, large, well-established and sustained in activity.
  4. The best way for the NC to be democratic, fairly representative and accountable to the whole membership of the NCAFC is for our elections to be as political and direct as possible. Individuals should stand and be elected on the basis of their ideas, their proposals and their activist work.
  5. There are better, more consistently democratic ways for activists and groups on the ground to participate in decision-making continuously between conferences. We should make more use of the new web forum to discuss issues, and we should develop our regional sections which could allow different activists and groups to meet more regularly and feed up and down.
  6. When it becomes necessary to bring new individuals into the private discussions of the NC between conferences (e.g. the central organisers of last month’s demo) the more consistent and democratic way to let that happen is for the NC to vote to let them be non-voting observers.

NCAFC Resolves:

  1. To amend Section 4.B.2. of the NCAFC constitution as follows so that the block of 14 seats on the NC must be taken by individuals:

The National Committee consists of:

  • 14 members, or affiliated groups, elected by single transferable vote (with 40% of the places 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, as either an ‘open place delegate’ or as a ‘women-only delegate’. They will then stand in the election along with the other individual members, in either the ‘open’ section or the ‘women-only’ section.

For the election count the group shall be considered as a normal candidate. If the candidate is a ‘women-only delegate’ it shall be counted towards the reserved places for women. If it is an ‘open place delegate’ it shall not.


If the delegate place is elected the group will be able to fill that seat with a recallable delegate as it sees fit. If the delegate place is ‘women-only’ then the delegate must be a self-defining woman.

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.


 

Amendment to the Constitution: Having two democratic conferences per year

Proposed by Defend Education Birmingham

NCAFC notes:

  1. At present, we only have one formal democratic conference per year (with some interim liberation caucuses in summer on an ad hoc basis).
  2. There is a high turnover in student activism: being an NC member in two academic years may lead to some people dropping out half way through their term.
  3. NCAFC has held 1 to 2 summer events every year since 2011.

NCAFC conference believes:

  1. We have had a historic problem with NC members becoming inactive following the end of an academic year. It does not make sense for some activists to be bound to a role which they cannot fulfil. It makes even less sense for activists not to run for NC because they are worried they would not continue in the role satisfactorily
  2. Ideally, we would re-elect the NC every six months. However, doing this at present would mean either electing the NC from an unreliably attended conference or expending a large part of NCAFC’s organisational energies into building another conference.
  3. We should hold a Summer Conference every year – which could be combined with summer training – which:
    1. Takes place in June, July, August or September
    2. Allows NC members who are about to become inactive to stand down, and elect replacements
    3. Discusses and passes policy and strategy proposals for the summer/autumn term
    4. Does not amend the constitution
    5. Does not re-elect the whole NC

NCAFC conference resolves:

  1. To amend the constitution as follows:

In Section 4, REPLACE all relevant mentions of ‘conference’ with ‘annual conference’
DELETE Bullet point 2 in 4.A.1: “There shall be at least one conference per academic year”, and REPLACE “There shall be at least one annual conference per year and one Summer Conference per year, as laid out below”.
ADD 4.A.6:

“In the months of June, July, August or September, NCAFC will hold a summer conference. This can be combined with another event (such as a training or gathering event) and will have the power to:

  • Discuss and approve strategies for the coming months through a motions process
  • Fill vacant or inactive posts on the National Committee, including through caucuses

Before the Summer Conference, NC members who are currently or are planning to become inactive in student activism are encouraged to resign so that their place can be refilled at the conference.”

NCAFC National Conference will be on 13-14 December – save the date!

ncafcdemo

This autumn we may well see a major wave of action from students for free education, against fees cuts and debt. We need action now to save education – demos, walkouts, occupations and more.

But action can’t happen in isolation. It needs to be co-ordinated nationally and it needs to be democratically agreed. That is why NCAFC exists.

NCAFC’s National Conference is where we students from all over the country come together to discuss the progress of the struggles for free, just and democratic education, and to democratically plan action in the months to come. We also elect a National Committee to coordinate things for the coming year. There will be workshops, discussions, debates and votes as well as caucus meetings of our liberation campaigns.

The date has been set for the weekend of 13-14 December, so put it in your diaries! Attendance, as ever, will be free of charge. More details will be released as the venue is confirmed and other arrangements are made.

In order to attend NCAFC conference, you will need to be a member. Joining costs just £1, and can be done online or by post.