Vote Callum Williamson for UWSU President!

picI’m standing in this election to fight for the ideas of communism; to fight for a free and democratic education; and to challenge the influence of capital in universities.

The capitalist system is based on relations of class exploitation, a system in which the means of creating wealth are owned by a minority and function purely to produce profit. This system is tied up and relies upon other forms of oppression. In its current form it requires the oppression of women, as it requires imperialism and racism; these play key economic and ideological roles in the continuation of the capitalist mode of production. There is nothing intrinsic in the profit-driven logic of capitalism that gears it to satisfying human need and ensuring ecological sustainability; instead it denies human need and plunders nature. Communists call for capitalism to be overthrown by the working class majority (everyone who has nothing to sell but their own labour power) and replaced with a democratic and classless society. The brutal dictatorship of the bureaucracy that existed in the USSR has nothing to do with communism. ‘Communism’ as a term needs to reclaimed and the idea that any attempt to abolish the class system will result in disaster rejected. We are currently in the midst of one of the most severe economic crises since world war two and austerity measures, attacking the living standards of millions and eliminating the last vestiges of the welfare state, have been used across Europe in order to make the masses pay the consequences. This crisis was not caused by the irresponsible behaviour of banks or governments but by contradictions in capitalism itself that mean the only permanent solution to capitalist crisis is to overthrow the capitalist class and their state system.

Communists and education

Our universities are becoming more and more geared towards providing capitalists with trained workers and research. Marketisation and increased employer provision have put higher education increasingly at the service of profit. The government are keen to push for a closer and closer relationship between businesses and universities, allowing unrestricted employer provision.

Teaching and research have been commodified, restricting access and requiring increased standardisation (leading to an increased emphasis on assessments and exams).  The tuition fees system remakes the student as an indebted, passive consumer of intellectual property. It is not enough to demand free education and a return to what existed before, education has always served business interests (in a less direct way) and even when grants existed, universities were spaces reserved for a tiny minority of the population. The changes within higher education today can only be understood through an analysis of capitalist development and the power of capital within society. The fight around education must be one that raises the question of who should own and control the means of producing knowledge.

Communists are for democratic universities run by students and education workers, where those who are involved with the processes of teaching and learning decide what is taught. Universities should be spaces that are open to public use, that encourage people to develop their interests and abilities and within which there is total academic freedom, nurturing subversive and critical perspectives.

Educate! Agitate! Organise!

I am for the unity of the revolutionary student left in order to patiently build a student movement that seeks to go beyond capitalism. Calling for demonstrations and strikes to resist tuition fees, course cuts and corporate influence is not enough, we need to propose an alternative to the government, the state and the economic system. For this we need to educate ourselves, organise around those ideas and fight for them on campus and in society. If you are for a democratic alternative to capitalism, then I urge you to vote communist in the UWSU elections and, whatever the result, join the fight for communism.

Communists demand:

  • Abolish tuition fees! For a living grant of at least 300 pounds/week
  • Unite the student and workers’ movement across the European Union to fight capitalist austerity
  • Opposition to all British imperialism’s military interventions, occupations and sanctions. For international working class solidarity against war and repression
  • For genuine democracy in society: for annual parliaments and representatives on a workers’ wage, for proportional representation. Abolish the House of Lords
  • Stop criminalising youth: legalise all drugs! For free abortion on demand, provision of non-moralistic sexual education and counselling services for the youth, protect the rights of individuals to enter into any consensual sexual relationships of their choice

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