Thursday, 7 August 2008

Left Student Blogging?

This is my contribution which hopefully will be included in the forthcoming Carnival of Socialism on the left and blogging.

So whats so special about students that it is worth blogging about? Well I am one, albeit part-time, so I suppose 'student politics' matters to me, especially when we have an NUS that seems to be tied to the Labour government on most things that matter to students.

Anyway, the thing that bothers me is the lack of representation that these blogs cover. I mean, what have we got a handful of Respect, AWL, Communist Students bloggers - and they usually spend most of the time arguing with each other again and again(of course, this doesn't mean that all these arguements are not important). And we've got a few green student bloggers too I suspect, although the only one I've come across is Aled Dilwyn Fisher, who's blog seems to have gone cold - nwhich is disappointing seeing as he is currently LSE SU General Secretary. And then representing the Socialist Party there's me, Nation of Duncan and AVPS, but we're both postgrads! (Plus AVPS generally doesn't ever, ever blog about student stuff, but he's doinga PhD so its quite peripheral really)

Anyway, the point is that you generally can't find out anything all that much about what students are doing on the ground. I mean, it seems to me that most student bloggers I've come across are from Manchester or Oxford, which is great if you want to know the positions of the various left groups at that University, but not if you want to hear about any actual campaigning that affects ordinary students, although the silence seemed to be broken for a while around the Reclaim the Uni thing.

On this blog, I've chronicled the struggle against a Student Union leadership that was one of the biggest supporters of the NUS governance review. Now given that apart from a small People and Planet group we're the only active political society at this uni, that may be why I don't get bogged down so much in those arguments, but i'd like to think that I'd spend some of the time discussing the day to day stuff too.

Of course, this may just be my own limited knowledge of the student left blog-o-sphere, but I'd like to hear more about eroding the support for the local Student Union bureacracies that prop-up the current NUS leadership than yet another re-hash of the same debates all the time.


Duncan Money said...

I don't blog much about student politics because I've steered well clear of it for two years and don't intend to alter this approach in my final year.

I would rather gnaw my own arm off than sit through one of our student union meetings.

Leftwing Criminologist said...

the problem is that although su meetings are usually boring as sin - su's have quite a lot of resources and we should be challenging for them to be used properly.

this can include going to su meetings but most importantly it means putting forward a political alternative and challenging su leaderships

Daniel said...

Well, here's what we've been up to in Cambridge:

Leftwing Criminologist said...

wow, looks quite good. I've heard about some of the stuff you've done with socialist students there already.

what are the student unions like there? the thing for me is that it seems like most left student activists seem to concentrate on NUS nationally without waging a fight against local bureaucracies seperate to that (ie. that any fights against local bureaucracies are about NUS natioanlly and not the countless sell-outs at a local level).

Daniel said...

Drat, looks like I clicked the wrong button or something, my reply is gone.


In short, we do concentrate on CUSU a fair bit, but we have the added complexity of the SU being federalised into 50 or so college student unions.

The leadership and prevailing culture is a long way from ENS, but at the same time, we do manage to sway things to the left by electoral pressure and by making the arguments and being in the room.

Anglia Ruskin is very different, seems to be firmly services-side.

Local Sixth Forms (3 of them) show signs of radicalism, but we're still building our links, it's unclear how widespread this is.