Chris Strafford for the Block of 12!
Chris Strafford, a member of Communist Students and Hands Off The People of Iran, is standing for the NUS Block of 12. This is his election manifesto
As the right-wing NUS bureaucracy 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:
Democracy in the student movement
– Abolition of the direct election of NUS officers at conference. The whole executive should be elected by STV at conference (apart from the representatives elected by the liberation campaigns).
– The NEC should then elect its officers from its own number. They must be accountable to and recallable by the executive – which in turn must be far more accountable to the membership.
– Salaried officials and anybody employed by the NUS should receive no more than the wage of an average skilled worker.
– Full transparency on all matters, especially in all dealings with government ministers and commercial concerns. Open the books.
– Abolition of student fees and their replacement by a ‘living grant’. We say that such a minimum wage must be based on the social category of human need. Under present conditions, this means a minimum of £300 per week.
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 to Honorary Vice-President of the NUS. She is one of the students arrested in December and has been actively campaigning both against a war on Iran and against the rule of the theocracy.
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 contraception and abortion 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 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.
– 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.