Over 30 delegates attended the Student Respect organising meeting last Sunday to discuss and debate our campaigns in the coming term.
John Rees, the national secretary of Respect, emphasised that the work students do around the Stop the War movement is vital if we are going to change the government’s foreign policy and politicise others around wider issues.
One of these issues has to be the fight for free education which the National Union of Students (NUS) has all but abandoned.
Rob Owen from the NUS national executive put to the meeting a strategy for students to “lobby their vice chancellors, hold debates and occupations, and force free education onto the agenda on campus”.
Reports were also heard from the black students’ campaign, where Student Respect has been the only group to raise the issue of gun crime, resulting in an NUS-backed campaign of education about the poverty and violence that characterises so many young lives.
Student Respect has also had a significant impact on the LGBT liberation campaigns which have in recent years become individualistic and apolitical.
Students have mobilised around the issue of means tested grants, which hugely discriminate against LGBT students.
The recent strikes by public sector workers were also discussed, with reports of students visiting picket lines and being warmly received by workers.
We must continue to do this and to build Respect as the force on the left that can unite students and workers against war, discrimination and privatisation.