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.