Chris Strafford for NUS block of 12!
CS member Chris Strafford is standing for the NUS block of 12 on a full revolutionary platform. Join the facebook group! Here is his manifesto:
As the NUS bureaucracy – ever more firmly in the grip of the right – prepares to gut what remains of the union’s democratic structures, the fight for free education faces a growing series of setbacks, and resurgent student movements from Iran to Western Europe are met with brutal repression, there is a desperate need in the student movement for the revolutionary fighting spirit and consistent democratic politics of Marxism. Communist Students fights for that cause, and we urge you to vote for our candidate Chris Strafford in the NUS executive elections.
Chris is active in the Stop the War Coalition and radical union Industrial Workers of the World. Chris is also a member of the north-west steering committee of Hands Off the People of Iran, which fights against the threat of any imperialist intervention, war or sanctions against Iran. It looks to build active, practical solidarity with grassroots radical secular forces and the militant women’s, workers’ and students’ movements in Iran. Hopi wants regime change, both in Iran and in the imperialist countries. But that change must come from below – from the struggles of the working class and social movements – if it is to lead to genuine liberation.
Chris and Communist Students fight for:
Free education for all
- An end to tuition fees.
- A living grant, at a level based on the actual needs of students to educate themselves and live fulfilling lives: in present conditions, at least £300 per week.
- For an end to the subordination of education to the needs of capitalism. As they are currently taught, many subjects take capitalism as a system for granted, and rarely allow for the suggestion that another form of society is possible.
- For the direct democratic participation of students and staff in the affairs of the university.
- An immediate end to the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
- No war or sanctions on Iran.
- Solidarity with Iranian workers, students and democrats in struggle with the reactionary regime.
- We support the election of Anoosheh Azadbar as honorary vice-president of the NUS. She is one of the students arrested in December in Iran and has been actively campaigning both against a war and against the rule of the theocracy.
Democracy in the student movement
The governance review must be defeated – but this is not an attack out of the blue; rather a case of ‘death by a thousand papercuts’. It is an attempt by the NUS bureaucracy to make the students’ union into an even less transparent and accountable body than it already is. It will lead to more control by consultants, the abolition of conference and the block of 12, the further depoliticisation of the NUS, and allowing national conference delegates to be appointed by student union executives, rather than bothering with those tiresome election thingies. Rather than involving more students, the review will have the opposite effect and alienate many people.
But if we want to stop the NUS bureaucracy in its attempt to abolish the last vestiges of democracy, our campaign must say more than just ‘no’ to the attacks. We need positive answers in order to involve the mass of students – the vast majority of whom don’t even know about these proposed changes.
- No to the governance review.
- For the whole executive to be elected at conference (apart from the representatives elected by the liberation campaigns).
- For the executive to appoint its own officers. An end to the reign of petty Bonapartes.
- For the possibility to immediately recall officers of the executive if they fail in their tasks; for full accountability of the executive to the membership.
- For a unified national election day for both delegates and local executive positions.
- No more than a skilled worker’s wage for salaried officials and employees of the executive. Open the books.
- For full transparency in all matters, especially dealings with government ministers and commercial concerns.
Women are still systematically denied opportunities in today’s society. They earn on average 18% less than their male counterparts; they are subject to harassment in the workplace; they may be sacked for pregnancy or prolonged maternity leave.
Marxism represents the politics of universal freedom; therefore as Marxists, we insist that women’s rights are a fundamental component of the communist programme for radical democratic change. Because the oppression of women is deeply rooted in the capitalist system and the division of labour, we know that only when exploitation itself is defeated will we see the true emancipation of women. The struggle for women’s liberation is not only the concern of women: it is a struggle that cannot be separated from the fight for democracy and equality for all.
- Free, 24-hour childcare for all.
- Free abortion on demand.
- Free contraception on demand.
- Support and pay for students who are parents.
- The decriminalisation of prostitution.
Unlike some on the left, notably the Socialist Workers Party, Marxists see LGBT rights as a principle (the SWP might say ‘shibboleth’) to be defended and extended through a campaign for democracy in all spheres of life. We stand uncompromisingly for sexual freedom.
The definition of gender must be on the grounds by which a person considers him/herself male or female, and not by birth. We fight for the radical extension of democracy across all walks of life; the struggle for LGBT liberation must be undertaken as a struggle for the liberation of all of society.
- Equality of rights between LGBT people and heterosexuals.
- Equal opportunities for same-sex couples wishing to adopt.
- For the right to marry – not just civil partnerships.
- Free IVF on demand for all women.
For a campaigning NUS, which will pursue these aims actively and fearlessly.