These interviews originally appeared at www.workersliberty.org
By Jade Baker, University of Westminster SU VP Education-elect
Last week anti-cuts activists swept the board in our student union elections. All three candidates on the “Stop the cuts! Shake up YOUR union” slate were elected – Robin Law for President, Fatima Hagi for union Trustee and myself for VP Education. Leftie candidate Chris Jones was elected VP Communications.
Students at Leeds University have voted down a student union referendum on the following:
“Should LUU oppose industrial action on campus that negatively impacts on the education of students?”
– in other words, should it scab on lecturers?
The vote was 891 to 717. A Leeds student activists commented:
“I’m very happy that Leeds students voted to defend their own interests and those of staff, and didn’t violate the principle of unions by opposing another union.
“To LUU, I’d say that any move to oppose strike action would be against the interests and the wishes of your members.”
By Michael Chessum
The final NUS election results have now been released, showing a very weak overall position for the Left – and an NUS which is in general reluctant to take fees and cuts seriously. The election of right-wing establishment candidates to all of the full-time positions (President and Vice-Presidents) compounds the legacy of a conference which also refused to back Free Education, and took further steps to undermine grassroots activism.
There is, however, one piece of good news: Mark Bergfeld managed to make it onto the Block of 15 – a.k.a. the NUS National Executive Council. He came second, just four behind the lead, with 73 first preference votes. Unfortunately fellow National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts supporter Chris Marks didn’t make it.
These election results demonstrate that, while it is not impossible to win minor elections at NUS, the organisation is not the centre of the fight against fees and cuts; indeed it was as part of this realisation that the National Campaign was formed. Attention will now turn to co-ordinating the imminent anti-cuts battles on campuses across the country, with strikes announced on a number of campuses; and to how the anti-cuts movement can move forward outside of the NUS – something that will no doubt be raised at the next National Steering meeting.