From this weeks Socialist. An Article and a letter.
Over the last year Socialist Students and the Campaign to Defeat Fees (CDF) have been tirelessly campaigning for our students union to take a campaigning approach to the question of tuition fees.
April last year saw us hold a small protest to accompany the handing in of a 250+ strong petition calling on the students union to organise a referendum on whether the union should adopt the CDF demands on free education as its own. In the last few weeks the students union have finally got back to us with a proposed date for the referendum - Thursday 16 October, which coincidentally is the same date as the next CDF day of action.
In addition to this we have been informed that the national NUS leadership would like to come down and take part in the referendum. It has even been suggested that they would form the main opposition to our proposals. Although, based on their failure to campaign effectively against fees, we find it unsurprising that the current leadership of the National Union of Students is opposed to the CDF.
Surely the NUS's resources would be better spent on doing something about the ridiculous amount of debt just about every student gets into (of which fees are one part of), rather than using bully-boy tactics against students who don't want to accept the poverty we have to endure.
Letter: New broom needed
Increasing evidence of the growing levels of student debt has evoked an interesting response from Wes Streeting, president of the National Union of Students (NUS). In an NUS survey he describes students as “sleepwalking” into financial crises. But as the official leader of those ‘sleepwalkers’ shouldn’t he be doing something to rouse them?
His answer is to provide more information and advice to students about coping with debt. But students would probably not be in such a predicament if the NUS leadership didn’t keep squandering opportunities to build a mass campaign against fees and for the replacement of loans with a living grant. The Campaign to Defeat Fees was set up because of the failures of those like Streeting in the leadership of NUS. Part of the fight for a free education must be to sweep our student unions and NUS clear of these miserable creatures.