Movement for Justice by any means necessary

NUS Conference April 2010

Bellavia Ribeiro-Addy #1 for NUS President

RIGHT TO SPEAK OUT ABOUT RACISM – NO MOTION OF CENSURE

On the eve of NUS 2010 National Conference many candidates have put themselves forward to lead the national union over this next crucial year. The most decisive question facing each candidate is whether they can step out of the business as usual and stand, without fear or compromise, on the side of the students to open up education to students of every race, gender and class background. Over the next year we need strong leaders opposing cuts and tuition increases, and we need student leaders who understand the importance of building an independent student movement and mass action as a necessary way to respond. That question separates creative leadership that can inspire the widest numbers and win, from mediocre leaders who routinely undersell the aspirations of young people in the face of threatened cuts and increased far-right activity. The Movement for Justice endorses Bell’s candidacy because Bell stands out as a candidate who over this past year has taken an uncompromising stand against racism and bigotry. Bell has had the courage to speak for Muslim, black and immigrant students who face physical racist attacks, stereotyping and bigotry on campus and off, and to articulate the experience of racism. The right and duty to speak out about racism and bigotry. Earlier this year a debating society at Durham University invited key leaders of the BNP to speak at the university on multiculturalism. Swift and practical action based on the NUS policy of No Platform for fascism was the obvious and least thing to be expected from all NUS officials. Two NUS national leaders rose to the challenge: Bellavia Ribiro-Addy as National Black Officer, and David (Daf) Adley as national LGBT Officer. They brought it to their committees, prepared for demonstrations against the BNP, and sent a strong and unequivocal letter to Durham calling for the BNP to be cancelled. They stated the reasons: the history of racist abuse by the invitees, the violent fascist organizations they had been leaders in, and the physical danger resulting for oppressed groups targeted by neo-nazis following similar events. Standing up strongly for black and lgbt students, Bell and Daf have since been targeted for threats by far-right nationalists. Nevertheless, silence was not an option. Taking this stand also meant taking on the more insidious racism that especially afflicts traditionally elite institutions. Those inviting the BNP to the campus defended their plan by claiming ‘free speech’. In their upside-down world fascists are merely people with a set of ideas to discuss. Whereas students who are targeted for intimidation by the fascists, simply for being openly Muslim or gay for example, are deemed to be the problem if they protest against the welcoming of fascists. Black and LGBT students are the ones denounced and ousted. Students would be rightly outraged if a convicted rapist, who continues to be an activist against womens’ rights, was invited to express his misogynist views in a debate on gender. It would be utterly malicious and twisted if the organizers of the debate told the women’s representative who protested against such an outrage that she is ‘anti-free speech’ and should be punished. The right to free speech is not a right to abuse people for being who and what they are, or create the conditions for them to be abused and harassed. A hostile environment is cultivated when the very right of minorities to exist and be treated as equals is put up for debate, and even more when black students are punished for protesting against such mistreatment. Yet there is suggestion for a motion of censure to conference to punish Bell and Daf for the stand they took.

For a strong democratic NUS opposing cuts, and fighting for equality: Bell: #1 President Daf: #1 VP Union Dev Assed: #1 VP Soc-Cit Nikita: #1 VP FE Mark: #1 VP Higher Ed Fiona: #1 VP Welfare Joshi: #1 Block of 15

Conference has the opportunity to genuinely place the NUS on the side of fighting racism. 1. Elect Bell as NUS President, and the left slate 2. Defeat the motion of censure Too often on campuses racist slights are brushed of as ‘jokes’, or go unchallenged. This hostile environment covers up the truth about racism and inequality, it builds invisible walls between peers, and stifles the development of every person – black and white. It takes courage to speak out, and is essential to the development of a strong student movement. Our historic opportunity We are in the midst of a moment in history containing both tremendous opportunities, and real dangers. We face an exciting challenge that demands the stepping forward of the most determined and dynamic people on every campus and in every college. Students are already testing our strengths through campaigns, marches, and occupations against war in Iraq and Afghanistan, against the increasing anti-Muslim bigotry incited by the war drive, and to withstand education cuts. The bombing by Isreal of Gaza last year sparked an upsurge of action around the country – defending Palestinians right to exist, and asserting a direct connection to the people of Palestine unimpeded by the cynicism and reticence of British and US governments. The new Equality Act has just been passed. Building mass, united, integrated campaigns we can to turn the pro-working class anti-racist anti-sexist measures in the Act into programs capable of opening the doors of every elite university to the black, Asian and working class students currently outside. This is the way to create jobs and hope. The far-right, BNP and EDL want to render the Act inoperable. To make real the Equality Act’s promise of equality and politically defeat the BNP, we must be mobilizing to: confront and defeat the EDL, defend Muslim black and immigrant communities, and to end to the war in Afghanistan. Business as usual will not defend and expand free education, or defeat the racism and bigotry on the campuses or elsewhere. We need an NUS leadership who do not sit in fear of the high expectations and demands placed on it by the aspirations we hold as students embarking on the life-changing experience college should be. Our struggles provide hope for a better future; we need a central leadership of the national union prepared to speak the plain truth about racism, bigotry and sexist mistreatment, ready to relate to the dynamic fights going on, and not afraid or hesitant to mobilize youth to lead the movement for equality, justice and an equal, quality, free education.

**VOTE BELL, DAF, ASSED, NIKITA, JOSHI, MARK & FIONA** Join Movement for Justice by any means necessary Build the integrated, independent, mass civil rights movement
The Movement for Justice exists to build the civil rights movement and to develop the new, young, integrated leaders of the movement. We are not scared to speak the plain truth about racism and we relish the opportunity to organise the enormous social and political power of the oppressed communities. Britain needs change and it needs it now. Every person who wants to defend the right to be free of persecution and fear, should be organizing to stop the EDL and BNP wherever they target. Through building our movement we can end the cynical policy of war; and turn the new pro-working class, anti-racist, anti-sexist measures in the Equality Bill into real programmes that change the terrible conditions of life that increasing numbers of poor, working class and small business people face. We need a new generation of optimistic and proud young leaders, committed to building the civil rights movement. Cynicism and fear must give way to hope and determination. To win, we need a new youth leadership to emerge, and this struggle provides us with a great opportunity to advance this process. The next phase of history is going to be so exciting. It is our moment to lead and shine. We can inspire everyone to action, to be ourselves, whether as Muslims or members of other religions or of none, and whatever our national background or culture. We can make a new Britain and WE CAN WIN!

Movement for Justice by any means necessary
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