Here are the motions submitted to Student Left Network National Conference 2019, at Sheffield Hallam University. Individual members of the Student Left Network can submit amendments to any of these motions, which can either add, delete or change parts of the motions.  Send your amendment to studentleftnetwork@gmail.com by midnight on Thursday 28 February.

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Supporting the Youth Strike for Climate school walkouts

Proposer: Alex Stuart

Seconders: Steff Farley, Charlie Porter, James Steel, AK Gurung, Justine Canady, Andrew Peak

SLN Notes:

  1. Tens of thousands of school students walked out of class on Friday 15 February to demand action on climate change as part of the global Fridays for Future school walkouts started by Swedish school student Greta Thurnberg
  2. School strikers raised demands around renewable energy, scrapping Trident and a ban on fracking, as well as cheaper public transport. Generally the demands focused on social need over profit and the need for systemic change to tackle the climate emergency.
  3. The next Youth Strike for Climate on Friday 15 March will be global.

SLN Believes:

  1. Climate change threatens a global catastrophe; we may only have ten years to reverse its effects.
  2. The student and labour movement should play a major part in this exciting new movement.
  3. NUS should supporting school students taking part in the walkout, producing guides on how to organise and seeking to use them to build lasting organisation in schools and colleges (sixth formers are members of NUS).

SLN Resolves:

  1. To promote and mobilise for subsequent climate walkouts.
  2. To take motions regarding climate change into the NUS and Students’ Unions.
  3. To circulate a guide to help school students use the walkout to build lasting organisation in their schools and colleges.

Strategy motion – amend with proposals!

Proposer: Maisie Sanders

Seconders: Ross Tayler, Jacob Elliman, Bradley Allsopp, Aris Shukuroglou, Christie Neary, Justine Canady, Ella Wilkinson

The Student Left Network should exist to support, spread and link up local campaigns and struggles on campuses across the UK. It should lead campaigns on a national level, seeking to mobilise students on a mass scale around radical left demands. That means organising national mobilisations, speaker tours, meetings, direct action and demonstrations.

We want to build a democratic, vibrant and militant student left with a culture of unity in action and open political discussion and debate. The student left is more effective when it is united, organising around a set of democratically-decided political ideas and demands. The SLN launch meeting adopted the Left Unity Charter: we should see this as a live document to be updated and debated at every SLN democratic event so that it continues to form our common ground as activists.

We aim to take the politics and the spirit of grassroots student struggles into NUS and Student Unions to democratise and radicalise these institutions into political, campaigning bodies through which students can fight for our rights and to transform society. We need to break the bureaucracy which currently dominates NUS and SUs and build a movement which can support, pressure and hold to account left representatives.

This year we should:


Free our unions

Proposer: Zack Muddle

Seconders: Steff Farley, Vijay Jackson, Justine Canady, Ella Wilkinson, Rida Vaquas, Christie Neary, Dan Davison

Between 1980 (Thatcher) and 2016 (Cameron), around a dozen laws have restricted the ability of workers and their unions to organise and  strike. These laws have made most forms of workers’ action illegal.  They insist on cumbersome and atomising postal ballots, extensive  notice periods for employers and other disabling procedures; limit  industrial action to narrowly industrial issues; ban solidarity action  with other workers; ban flying pickets going from workplace to  workplace; establish state control over various aspects of union  decision-making; and much more…

Recent strike ballots by UCU and others have fallen victim to the most  recent anti-union law, the 2016 Trade Union Act, but all of them make  strikes and workers’ action harder to organise and win. That is true  not just in terms of national ballots, but also building the  widespread grassroots workplace organisation we need to revive trade unionism.

Anti-union laws are an important part of what the bosses have done  over three decades to weaken workers’ organisation; and they play an important role in keeping the labour movement weakened. So does most union leaderships’ and the Labour Party’s acceptance of most of these laws, despite clear union and Labour conference policy to repeal them.

We support the ‘Free Our Unions’ campaign developed over the last year by socialist Labour Party magazine The Clarion and a network of  unions, demanding repeal of all anti-union laws and their replacement  with strong legal workers’ rights – and a clear commitment from Labour.

We will

– Add SLN’s name to the ‘Free Our Unions’ statement initiated by The Clarion and Lambeth Unison.

– Write about the importance of this issue and also how it relates to legal restrictions on student unions.

– Develop model motions for SUs, Labour Clubs, etc.

– Encourage SLN supporters and left students generally to contact UCU and other campus trade unions about the campaign.

– Seek to work with UCU activists to organise direct action around this.


Stop Brexit

Proposer: Justine Canady

Seconders: Maisie Sanders, Nadia Whittome, Christie Neary, Charlie Porter, Ed Williamson, Vijay Jackson, Andrew Peak

We oppose Brexit.

We are not supporters of the European Union’s bureaucracy, its neoliberal policies, or the capitalist governments that underwrite it. Neither are we fans of its cheerleaders on the right wing of the Remain movement.

We are against Brexit because Brexit is a right wing project; it was born of xenophobia and its victory will mean a boost for far-right ideas and a major attack on migrant rights.

Migrants do not drive down wages or degrade public services; capitalists do. We are for freedom of movement being defended and extended, from EU to non-EU citizens. Brexit means the opposite.

There is no democratic case for carrying through May’s Brexit. Democracy must mean the ability for the majority to be convinced by the minority and change their minds; democracy does not mean a narrow one-off vote binding the hands of all future generations.

We are in favour of a pan-European socialist movement to destroy Fortress Europe and level up rights across the European continent. We are in favour of socialist governments across Europe that can break the rules of the neoliberal EU.

We support a public vote in which we will fight for a distinctively socialist Remain position.

Resolves:

To organise a left-wing, pro-freedom of movement student block on the 23 March anti-Brexit demonstration.


Against antisemitism, solidarity with Jewish students at Essex

Proposer: Dan Davison

Seconders: Christie Neary, Andrew Peak, Charlie Porter, Maisie Sanders, Bradley Allsopp, Zack Muddle

We denounce the decision of 200 Essex University students to vote against the formation of a Jewish Society.

Some of the campaign against the Jewish Society being set up was on the basis that it would be “Zionist”.

We think that this decision was antisemitic. We do not agree with those who say that Jews, or any group who are subjected to discrimination or oppression, cannot be trusted with their own organisations.

Certainly this position has nothing to do with concern for the liberation of the Palestinians and everything to do with stigmatising Jews for their Jewish identity and presumed political opinions.

A majority of British Jews believe that Israel should continue to exist.

Jewish students have the right to organise; this right is not conditional.

We are in favour of an end to Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. We want to see an independent Palestine with equal rights to Israel, alongside Israel. We support the struggles of workers and the oppressed in both Israel and Palestine, against the occupation, against racism and militarism, and for justice and socialism.

We denounce the racists who use the plight of the Palestinians to stoke hatred and mistrust of Jews in Britain and elsewhere.

Resolves:

  1. To publish this statement in solidarity with Jewish students at Essex University