25 Jan 2011
I get criticised along the lines of 'Dr Wall only really takes serious notice if an event is happening in Habana, the Peruvian Amazon or Caracas'.
Point taken, companeros...So I have been putting some energy into seeking out the movers and shakers of the English revolution and buying them a pint or a cafe con leche...
Today I met up with James Haywood, who is a sabbatical at Goldsmiths College and one of the leaders of the student movement, I was lucky enough to teach him 'New Radical Political Economy' and have enjoyed some of his writings on ecosocialism.
It was very good to catch up with him and I had a useful meet up with Aaron Peters a couple of weeks back....got a few more movers and shakers to catch up with over coming weeks, nice to argue, debate and see where protest and direct action is going.
Anyway great to get in after chatting to James and find this interview with him from Socialist Resistance.
James Haywood, communication and campaigns officer at Goldsmiths’ College spoke to Socialist Resistance about the student mobilisations.
From emails sent to student union officers, NUS president Aaron Porter seems to want to focus all our energy on lobbying MPs, even after the Lib Dem scandal! They are terrified of unleashing a movement which they can’t control, because it will do radical things that they don’t agree with.
I have to admit that after Aaron came out in support of occupations at UCL, I had some optimism that the NUS was coming on board. But that has proved false. Career before principles!
SR: Is there a need for something in between, like a movement of radical student unions?
JH: We do need a network of radical Student Unions but we still don’t have the weight yet to form our own national union. I think if people are serious about the idea, we need to throw our weight into getting anti-cuts people elected in the spring, and re-assess our weight once the votes are in.
SR: What can British students learn from the struggles abroad?
JH: Well quite simply that radicalism works, and wins. If people genuinely want to stop the cuts and fees, we need to look at places where the campaign has won. France is the most obvious example. Those who dismiss this are not serious about the fight; and only want a symbolic campaign at best.
SR: What will happen next? How important is the campaign against Aaron Porter?
JH: I think the campaign against Aaron is fine, but if we really want a radical change we need to get people to the NUS conference, and, more importantly in my opinion, we need to get activists elected to local students unions. The SU hacks are the base of the right in NUS, if we reclaim our SUs we will be in a strong position to reclaim our NUS too.
Posted by Derek Wall at 8:23 pm