This year, however, it's been different. Not ONE Trot candidate got in on the Exec. Every single one of them lost, and we now have an alliance of Lib Dems, NOLS, Jewish students, and left-wing independents. It didn't help that they smeared other left-wing candidates as right-wing (such as one of the girls who was running for Campaigns, who is actually for the same things as they are, but she's a member of HOPI, and we all know what the SWP think of them) and branded a non-J-Soc affiliated Jewish candidate as a 'Zionist'. IY"H the exec will be good this year. The students, it seems, are finally getting sick of idiots with placards and megaphones shouting at them.
Our Campaigns Officer proceeded to post about the elections on Educationet. Notice how nearly everyone in the comments basically tells him to fuck off.
This is my response to the Man Uni Student Respect statement by Andrew Cunningham to the results of the Union elections:
Well first, I have to commend you Cunni- this is one of the best works of fiction I have read in quite some time! Jokes aside though, this report, the culmination of the lies and slurs that you and your supporters have spread since this election started (and long before) has actually made me sick to the stomach.
Ever since the campaign started I have heard the lies that you have said about HOPI supporters; this is to be expected. But to dub Dan Lee a Zionist, and to call both Dan and Jennie right-wing is a disgrace. Dan is absolutely left wing, whatever his position on Palestine (which has never actually been asked of him), and he has even joined the ‘Convention of the Left’- a real chance for left unity which the SWP has unsurprisingly rejected. And as for Jennie, who is one of the kindest, nicest people I’ve ever met in my life, she is far to the left of your socially conservative bloc. To try to suggest otherwise in a bid to place the Women’s Office as a periphery of a party-controlled Campaigns Office is absolutely disgusting.
As for HOPI supporters themselves, and specifically Vicky who ran for Campaigns Officer, how did she run a right-wing campaign? Did you actually read her manifesto? I suspect you had come up with your party line before you even read it. And as for her campaign, the so-called ‘gimmick’, i.e. the v for vendetta was merely a bid to engage students. If you read her posters, which had on them LGBT liberation (which your bloc largely ignored save for a token mention on the odd manifesto); feminism (yes women’s liberation does actually extend beyond ‘a woman’s right to choose’); against war AND sanctions (again you failed to mention sanctions which are actually happening NOW); for religious freedoms (for ALL that is, not just Muslims, but for Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and any other religion and none) and a green union.
Does any of that sound right wing? No, in fact her campaign was left-wing, principled and in fact far to the left of you guys on many issues. And no, Vicky does not represent a huge core of activists, we accept this, HOPI is still in its infancy. But the point is if the ‘right’ backed Dan, and the ‘left’ backed Sundara, where did Vicky’s hundreds of votes come from? They came from the average student body themselves. Yes, Vicky managed to engage the average student to left wing policies far more than your bloc would ever manage to do.
As for you claiming that you represent the majority of campus, that is a joke. How would you actually know? For the entire semester that I spent in your party, you never attempted to engage with students beyond shouting at them through a megaphone. The only way to ever spread your ideas is to get out on the streets and talk to people, not shout at them and tell them what to think. The majority of your ‘successes’ have been composed of a handful of people, or more who have then dropped into inactivity again because you failed to capitalise on it. And as for the one quorate general meeting we had this year, packing a room with Isoc members does not mean that you represent the campus and engaged students. I was there and supported the twinning, but to claim that this was a victory for students is laughable. The fact that we rarely reach quorum at general meetings, where your faction always has a motion, shows that you absolutely fail to engage students.
I’ve also learnt from this election, where I actually talked to a lot of ‘the right’; that they agree with a great deal of ‘your’ policies. The majority do support a free education, were against the Iraq War and certainly are against an attack on Iran (though of course they would not be willing to apologise for a regime that hangs homosexuals and stones women to death for adultery like yourselves- the reason I was forced to leave the SWP), support the spread of feminism and the fight for women’s liberation, especially on abortion (they actually engaged with this issue long before you jumped on the bandwagon), and have a far more thorough-going and successful approach to climate change than one single meeting and a token march in London every year. The point is the great majority of current activists, let alone those on campus we need to stretch out to and engage, agree with all this. The problem is, you have deliberately tried to exclude and alienate them to make sure that the SWP seems to be leading absolutely everything. That I learned soon after joining the party, that if you guys don’t lead it, and wouldn't be able to take all the credit for it, you don’t want to know.
This I hope is set to change. Now your horrible little socially-conservative alliance has been booted out, then maybe this Union will finally be able to unite; and be a union that does not alienate or exclude students if they’re not quite the right sort of student, in a way that you have done for the past year. Yes, many members of the right were elected, but this year was a huge success for independents. On exec, Jennie, Dan, Robbie and Ellie are all very much left, and are independent. Council does have a host of left independents too, such as Andrew Speke and Rob Tidy. I supported these people for a very clear reason, they wanted to be elected to represent students not political parties, and to do what they think is right absolutely, without having to check with their party leader first. All of them want an active, campaigning union, but a union that excludes no one and embraces everyone. The Respect/Isoc bloc could never have said this.
This Union is on the threshold of a new chapter in its history. Free from the strangling influence of the SWP, the student left can finally grow and flourish. The student left in this context of course meaning every single student that wants to be involved, students that want to put issues not party allegiances first, and students that actually want to achieve liberation for ALL. The student body has finally had its eyes opened to the lies, slanders and cheating ways of Respect and its leaders. It has embraced those who want change, and those who actually want increased student participation, not those who have tried to block this at every available turn. I may not have supported every person who was elected to the new executive; but I will not refuse to work with them because we disagree on some issues. This is the philosophy that I hope will be driving the new union, a philosophy in which everyone will feel able to work with everyone else, and a philosophy that will seek to extinguish the religious and ethnic divides that currently split this union.
Viva Manchester! Or perhaps should I say Viva Manchester STUDENTS.