Socialist Worker

Student unions: coffee, booze and a career - but no politics

Issue No. 2094

The depoliticisation and commercialisation of student unions has found a particularly strong expression in King’s College, London, says student John Cooper.

“Our refurbished building is complete with glitzy bars and coffee shops – as if we don’t have enough of those in central London already,” John told Socialist Worker.

“But there is nowhere to hold meetings, or even to store materials.

“Recently all our anti-war posters were taken down in the union.

“When I went to ask the union officers why, they said it was because they didn’t fit with the union’s ‘brand image’.

“The ‘professionalisation’ of the union was shown when people were encouraged to stand for the recent elections to our executive by a poster that pictured someone saying, ‘By the time I left university I had already managed a charity with a turnover of millions and over 300 staff.’

“One of the results of this is that there is a strong anti-politics culture in many student unions.

“Some have become so anti-politics that even Labour clubs are threatened.”

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