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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 April 2019

'Reforms' hollow out the NUS

Socialist Students members address a left caucus at NUS conference 2019, photo by William Campbell

Socialist Students members address a left caucus at NUS conference 2019, photo by William Campbell   (Click to enlarge)

National Union of Socialists (NUS) conference met this year in Glasgow to decide the future of the union. The so-called 'turnaround motion', drawn up by the leadership in response to a financial black hole in NUS accounts, was passed.

It contained proposals which included swingeing cuts to full-time officers and campaigns, moves towards online voting for 'consultation' on NUS's political direction, and cuts to the National Executive Council.

Amendments were submitted which slightly curbed some of the attacks to NUS democracy. Some self-described 'left' delegates argued that with enough of the amendments passed, the reform motion should be voted for as it represented a chance to 'save' the NUS.

Socialist Students' delegates campaigned and spoke both at caucuses of left delegates as well as from the conference floor, highlighting that even with all the 'progressive' amendments passed, the final reform motion would still represent a huge attack on democracy within the NUS, as well as diminishing its ability to play a leading role in future mass student struggles - reducing its role to a think tank.

Alternative

Socialist Students delegates highlighted the potential solutions to the financial crisis which are available to the NUS on the basis of a fighting and democratic leadership conducting a political campaign among its members.

Of course it is impossible to say exactly how these reforms will take shape over the coming weeks and months. Socialist Students is calling for the convening of emergency student meetings, dedicated to discussing the task of building the democratic and fighting national student union we need.

Out of this could come an extraordinary national conference of all students and campaigners. Such a conference could democratically discuss the way forward in the aftermath of this reform motion.

These meetings and conference, even if acted on by only a handful of student unions initially, could decide whether or not to continue the fight to save the NUS in its current form, or to begin to take the steps necessary to found a new national student union.

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In The Socialist 17 April 2019:


What we think

Tories facing electoral meltdown - but only a socialist alternative to austerity can finish them off


News

100 billion for bosses - cuts for us.

Assange arrest: US and allied governments seeking revenge for exposing dirty wars

Labour looks to Bank of England to stall house prices

No-fault evictions ban, but cuts leave tenants vulnerable

Cuts drive council tax debt

Labour needs socialist policies to solve "climate emergency"


Minimum wage

20 years of the minimum wage: Fight for a real living wage for every worker


Workplace news

Newham bin workers ballot for strikes

Arriva Rail North cleaners fight bosses' punitive pay arrears

School staff demand action on pay and testing at NEU conference

Deliveroo workers protest at firm's Nottingham roadshow

PCS union: vital local strikes and a national pay ballot - vote for a fighting leadership

Unison union: right wing tries to block campaigning - elect a socialist leadership


International socialist news and analysis

Sudan: No to rule of the generals!


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Labour councils must act now to save our schools!

Council elections - an opportunity to present a socialist alternative to cuts

Activists rally in fight for more council housing and against high rents

Alternative housing awards

'Reforms' hollow out the NUS

Youth climate strikes: Democratic organisation and socialist policies needed


Opinion

Engels' classic essential for understanding socialist ideas old and 'new'

Real life on Universal Credit: "As soon as I get billed for my electric, I'm finished"

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

NUS:

triangleHow students can fight and win

triangleLincoln Uni NUS disaffiliation: a question of on-campus democracy

triangleReject the rotten NUS 'reforms'

triangleSocialist Students LJMU victory

triangleNational Union of Students faces bankruptcy

Students:

triangleSocialist Students & Young Socialists national zoom rally

triangleFight the schools Covid crisis

Student:

triangle"As a working-class student, I already faced struggles"

triangleStudent protests force government retreat

triangleStudents 2 : 0 Tories - Protests work!

Socialist Students:

triangleWest Midlands Socialist Students: What is socialism?

triangleYoung Socialists and Socialist Students day of action

Socialist:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Covid - A young workers' charter

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