The student Stop the War conference last weekend saw over 100 students from more than 25 universities attend the meeting at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
The opening session heard speeches from Gemma Tumelty, the president of the National Union of Students (NUS), Stop the War convenor Lindsey German and Stop the War president Tony Benn.
The students were surprised by Gemma Tumelty’s speech, as she began by issuing an apology for the NUS’s position over Israel’s illegal war against Lebanon last year.
The NUS was one of the few organisations which had not asked for an immediate ceasefire, with the vice president education Wes Streeting saying that at least Israel dropped leaflets before it dropped bombs.
However, things have changed since then. NUS has affiliated to the Stop the War Coalition and is beginning to take positive steps to encourage student activists around the country to attend Stop the War’s demonstration outside parliament on 8 October.
The theme of the conference was that the movement was correct before the war began in stating that it was based on lies, a fact that most people have since realised.
The recent decision to withdraw British troops from Basra to a base outside the city was evidence that the war is being lost and that the Iraqi people are not happy with the occupation.
Students agreed to campaign around Stop the War with the knowledge that the NUS is now fully backing them.
The conference also demanded that the military should keep away from freshers fairs. Activists will try and ensure that their unions and universities do not invite the military onto campus.
Students left feeling motivated to continue building on the successes of Stop the War.
We will make sure that no government can go to war again without knowing our movement will expose their lies and block their actions.
Assed Baig is Student Respect’s candidate for NUS black students’ officer