So I went to the long-awaited, much anticipated etc national conference for the co-ordination of student struggles. Not having a snappy name is a fucking pain, though of course I recognise that the minute you gave it a name the swoppies would jump all over us going "HA! you've set up a rival group; prepare to be obliterated!" yawn.
In the run-up weeks to the event, held at UCL case you were wonderin', was full of much to-ing, fro-ing and bor-ing by the libertarians, whom I won't give the privelege of labelling as anarchists.
- Their slavish devotion to the middle-class, single-issue mindset that their activist milieu molds them in very nearly derailed this whole process from the start. Would you believe that they genuinely didn't want to have a vote to approve a date to actually meet up?
Presumably they thought that if we planned far enough ahead and took into account everyone's diary commitments then no doubt we'd've been able to find a day. Foolish.
Anyway that's merely background and very much by the way. I knew going into the conference that there would be two 'blocs' i.e. "us" - the organized and -dare I say it - bureaucratic, Leninist(!) Left and "them" the above-mentioned libertarians led principally by the two loudest mouths who seemed to speak for everyone opposed to taking any form of decision or approving any popular motion, when in fact they represented no-one but themselves. Still, this is a united front, and what was 'good' was that people could get up and discuss whether to vote on resolutions/proposals/tea breaks etc.
In the end, the choice to vote on resolutions was lost 35-30 to the libertarians, which is a shame as it meant that the valuable discussions we had throughout the day, had nothing concrete to capitalise on.
Having gone to the 'Fees/Cuts' workshop, I think that it was very good-natured, with voting, but principally decisions were achieved with (after hashing out the minutiae) virtually unanimamous consensus.
Points were raised by myself and a sister from LDN about the need to organize, radicalise and politicise school/college students who are criminally neglected by the NUS and university student politics at large.
The comrade is currently building a London School Students Union, which I think is an extremely important task, especially with the disgusting cuts and incompetence delivered on schools and colleges by the Labour government.
Having to pay back the billions they frittered away on banks and bankers' pensions the government now finds, mysteriously, that it has a £200m funding shortfall for 6th-form places this september, even though it is gov. policy to encourage as many students as possible to stay in education.
I presume that is because they don't want to have to provide employment, training or the dole to school leavers, instead forcing parents to maintain us.
Sadly I won't be playing much of a role in the LSSU though I'll definately keep a close watch on it, 'cause college is nearly finished. Apparently. I think there's about 6 weeks left, including 'study leave' and exams... so yeah, then summer, then uni. o_O So yeah overall positive. 100+ attending making it the biggest non-NUS/SWP/StWC/ENS/ANIP student conference this year. It brought together what can loosely be called the progressive vanguard of the student movement even though that includes reformists, reactionaries, and even Zionists (yes, that's you AWL).
If it wasn't for the scheming, pre-meditated sabotage of the democratic process of voting at the end of the conference by endless debating and stalling by a minority of hardline libertarians, we could have counted it a rousing success. As it is, we will definately have to look more closely at our approach in the next meetings, scheduled for early summer and autumn.
Student activism isn't dead, and slowly we're taking into our own hands and out of the bureacratic grip of the reformists, careerists and bureacrats.
Broadly the conference has agreed to: - Fight all fees, and fight for universal free education - Fight all cuts in education - Use the tactic of occupations, but in a mass, co-ordinated fashion - Co-ordinate for national days or weeks or direct action and protest - To link up with Trade Unions in our struggle against job cuts, cuts in welfare, etc etc.
The conference communicated its solidarity with the brilliant struggle of the Visteon workers in Enfield, N. LDN who are picketing their factory, demanding redundancy pay after being sacked at 6 minutes notice.
We also extended our solidarity with the RMT Tube Workers who look set to go on strike very soon. More on the class struggle as it comes in