The abolition of Labour Students presents an opportunity to re-establish a new organisation on a healthy basis. Socialist Appeal activists call for Labour Students to be rebuilt around democratic methods and bold socialist policies.

The abolition of Labour Students presents an opportunity to re-establish a new organisation on a healthy basis. Socialist Appeal activists call for Labour Students to be rebuilt around democratic methods and bold socialist policies.

Labour’s national student organisation was recently dissolved by the party’s leading body, after failing to meet the necessary standards.

This news was warmly received by most Labour student members, who rightly looked upon the moribund organisation with disdain. Labour Students had become completely divorced from the conditions and lives of ordinary students. Its name was synonymous with careerism and Blairism.

The demise of Labour Students opens up a political vacuum, and presents an opportunity for a new Labour student organisation to be built - one that is genuinely democratic, and which chimes with the socialist yearnings of young people.

Socialist Appeal and its supporters in the Marxist Student Federation believe that it is vital for any new student organisation to be founded on a healthy basis.

For this reason, we are endorsing the following open letter, and are proposing the model motion below. As part of this, we have launched the Students4Corbyn campaign, which we believe is necessary to unite the left on campuses in order to mobilise students for a Labour victory in the upcoming election.

Already, we have received encouraging reports (for example in Sheffield University) of Labour clubs and Marxist societies uniting together to prepare for a mass campaign to kick out the Tories and elect a Corbyn Labour government.

We hope that this open letter, model motion, and united campaign can be used to open up a comradely debate and discussion inside university Labour clubs about the necessary way forward for Labour Students - and the role that students can play in the fight for a Corbyn Labour government.

Support this initiative and help us in the fight for a socialist Labour government:

  1. Add your name to our open letter and share it on social media.
  2. Pass our model motion in your local university Labour club.
  3. Get in touch about joining the Students4Corbyn campaign, and send in any reports of activity in your area.

Open letter to Labour Students: refound on a socialist basis! 

If you agree with the aims outlined in this open letter, please add your name using the form below.

On Tuesday 17th September, Labour’s National Executive Committee voted to get rid of Labour Students, with an overwhelming two-thirds majority.

Almost half of the 90 affiliated Labour clubs to voted to disaffiliate recently, with notable examples being Oxford, Cambridge, LSE and Sheffield.

While a one-member-one-vote system was agreed upon in 2016, the bureaucrats who organised the last election rigged the system so that many Labour clubs were excluded from the vote, leaving only 507 participants out of a student membership of over 30,000. This is just one example of its undemocratic, cliquish behaviour.

The death of Labour Students is another nail in the coffin of Blairism. At the same time, its end represents a new opportunity.

Corbyn’s election as Labour leader has dramatically transformed the party. The left is clearly in ascendency. It is time the party was fully democratised in order to realise the true potential of this change.

We need a new Labour Students organisation founded on healthy democratic methods and socialist policies. On such a basis, Labour Students could be a powerful tool in the fight for a Corbyn government.

The importance of the student vote cannot be understated. Student activists transformed the 2017 general election, with constituencies like Canterbury turning to Labour after 100 years of voting Tory. We need to build on these successes in the next general election if we are to have any hope of defeating Boris and his reactionary gang.

What the death of Labour Students demonstrates is that the bland, Blairite politics of a bygone era do not resonate with students. Labour Students consigned itself to irrelevance because it refused to take up the actual demands of students, who are made to bear the brunt of capitalist decline and austerity.

Where have Labour Students been during the climate strikes? What have they done to fight against tuition fees, precarious work, and the crisis in mental health?

These are urgent issues that we must take up. On the basis of a clear socialist programme, the revolutionary potential of the youth could be channelled into a movement capable of transforming society.

We need to focus on issues like ending tuition fees, dealing with the housing crisis, ending precarious work, and ensuring that every student can afford to live comfortably at university with a non-repayable maintenance grant.

Demands such as these can only be achieved if we are prepared to organise and fight for them.

The recently launched ‘Students for Corbyn’ campaign can be the basis for a reconstituted radical socialist Labour student organisation. Labour clubs should unite and organise left-wing students on campuses up and down the country to fight for a Corbyn government with a socialist programme

We call on Labour societies to pass the following model motion.

Model motion to restablish Labour Students on a socialist basis

This Labour club notes that:

  1. On 17th September 2019, Labour’s National Executive Committee voted to disaffiliate Labour Students from the Labour Party, and to look into the establishment of a new student organisation.
  2. In the last Labour Students elections, only 507 people were able to vote, despite an eligible membership of over 30,000.
  3. The youth vote in 2017 was integral to Labour’s success at wiping out the Tories’ majority and will be so again in the next general election.

This Labour club believes that:

  1. The crisis of capitalism is forcing the working class and young people to bear the brunt of austerity.
  2. The dissolution of Labour Students has taken place amidst the biggest radicalisation an involvement of young people in decades.
  3. Labour Students has not played a role in mobilising students for the climate strikes and has failed to take up any of the major issues facing young people today – including precarious work, housing, and mental health.

This Labour club resolves to:

  1. Help re-establish a new Labour students organisation, based on class politics, genuinely democratic structures, and socialist demands.
  2. Link up with Labour clubs at other universities that share this aim, with the goal of holding a democratic national conference by the end of the current academic year to refound Labour Students as a fighting, socialist organisation.
  3. Mobilise and organise students come the next general election in support of Jeremy Corbyn and a Labour victory.
  4. Run a mass campaign on campus under the banner of Students4Corbyn, involving:
    1. Signing students up to vote en masse.
    2. Door knocking on student accommodation to engage with students and organising students to help with canvassing in in key constituencies.
    3. Organising rallies and mass meetings, in association with the local movement, to call for a Corbyn Labour government.

 Add your name to the Open Letter to Labour Students

Students4Corbyn: For a socialist youth movement to bring down the Tories!

Student4CorbynBy Fiona Lali, national organiser of the Marxist Student Federation

Labour Students was recently abolished for failing to meet the standards required of an official Labour organisation. Its death marks another nail in the coffin of Blairism.

At the same time, its end represents a new opportunity. There has never been a greater need for a genuinely democratic, socialist youth movement - one that actively appeals to young people across the country. The task now is to build such an organisation.

Students, workers and the most vulnerable sections in society have been forced to bear the brunt of austerity. Young people are leaving university in debt, entering a world of precarious work, paying all their wages out on extortionate rents for dilapidated housing.

4.5 million children are living in poverty in the UK. Schools are at breaking point. There is an epidemic of violence and knife crime. And university is becoming increasingly inaccessible. Young people are being hit in every direction.

The only way to begin solving these issues is by kicking out the Tories and fighting for a socialist Labour government.

Young people have consistently shown the way forward. It was students who were the first to move against Cameron’s coalition of cuts in 2010. In the 2017 general election, 67% of the youth vote went to Labour, on a 72% turnout amongst 18-25-year-olds.

And it is school students across the world who have taken to the streets en masse to demand urgent action on climate change, forcing politicians to sit up and take notice.

We have seen a surge of radicalisation amongst young people. This new generation is not inspired by the dull, Blairite politics of the past, however, but by the idea of a fundamental change in society.

It is in this context that we’ve seen Labour Students slide into insignificance and die. Where have the Labour Students leaders been during the climate strikes? Why have they spent all their energy on their own careers, rather than campaigning for a Corbyn government? And what have they done to fight against tuition fees, precarious work, and the crisis in mental health? Nothing.

These are urgent issues that we must take up. On the basis of a clear socialist programme, the revolutionary potential of the youth could be channelled into a movement capable of transforming society.

We need a mass youth movement founded on healthy democratic methods and socialist policies. On such a basis, Labour Students could be a powerful tool in the fight for a Corbyn government.

Our first task must be to get Corbyn’s Labour elected on a socialist programme. To do this, we need to be doorknocking, signing students up to vote, and organising a mass campaign on campuses across the country under the banner of Students4Corbyn.

University Labour clubs and Marxist societies should organise joint meetings and mass rallies. We should go to every accommodation block, lecture theatre, and student union bar and sign people up. And we should reach out to the local labour movement to link up with workers who are also looking for a Corbyn government.

We need to build on solid foundations. The coming general election campaign provides us with the perfect opportunity to set the tone for the struggles ahead.

Marxist society & Labour Students fight for a socialist Labour government in Sheffield

Olive Rickson and Stan Laight (Sheffield Marxist Society and Sheffield Hallam CLP)

With the current political, economic and constitutional crisis gripping the country, young people are increasingly seeking radical youth-led movements to begin to challenge 40 years of neoliberalism, which has left our generation worse off than our parents, saddled with debt and in precarious work - all while having to tackle the upcoming threat of the climate crisis.

Last week, at a large joint meeting at the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Marxist Society and Sheffield Labour Students agreed to join forces to fight together in the upcoming general election, under the banner of Students4Corbyn.

So far we have signed up 60 students to campaign under this banner, with many more being signed up in the coming weeks and months. With radical, bold political demands, we could appeal to the thousands of students and young workers who are looking towards Corbyn thus mobilising a whole generation to fight for a socialist Labour government.

On the basis of a clear socialist programme, the potential of the youth could be channelled into a movement capable of transforming society. With regular campaigning activity, stalls, fundraisers and organized rallies we could become the decisive factor in winning this election.

In the past, Labour Students (NOLS) may have given support and resources to societies who are unable to organise this themselves but now that they are gone it’s vital to pooling resources with other comrades on campus and off-campus. This is why a united campaign to mobilise students around bold radical demands must be used to rebuild inactive Labour Societies into fighting campaigning groups.

Such a grassroots campaign, with these methods, would then provide a platform for refounding a new Labour Students organisation – one capable of fighting for socialism and class policies.

To all other Labour Student societies, Marxist Societies, young labour members and socialists: it is time to join forces on campus, to fight for the interests of all students in winning a socialist Labour government.

Whether you’re in a marginal seat or not, it is important for us to talk to students and workers at universities and the community surrounding our universities about the need for a socialist Labour government. Our enthusiasm and free time for campaigning is a valuable asset to the Labour movement and will almost certainly be the decisive factor in getting rid of this rotten Tory government.

We should go to every accommodation block, lecture theatre, and student union bar and sign people up. In 2017, we turned Sheffield Hallam into a Labour seat for the first time ever since 1885 - and we can do it again!

It’s accurate to call this next general election a once in a lifetime opportunity for the working class to finally elect a Labour government that will transform society and spin Britain back onto its feet after a decade of cruel, inhumane Tory and Liberal austerity. To let it slip through our fingers will be a monumental and criminal waste.

We owe it to the billions of people around the world who have fought for our rights out of the hands of a wretched class in society. If we lose then we face the prospect of a deeper, harsher austerity than the last 10 years, as well as the likely prospect of a world economic depression.

This fight is between socialism or barbarism. It will undoubtedly be a difficult fight. But if we fight together as students and workers, arm in arm, then we will win!

Join the fight for socialism! All out for a Labour victory!