By Emily Robinson, Scottish Young Labour Press and Communications Officer
The Labour left won substantial victories this past weekend at the Scottish Young Labour conference, 11th-12th February at Strathclyde University Students’ Association in Glasgow. Scottish Labour Young Socialists (SLYS), Momentum’s youth affiliate in Scotland, had every member of their slate elected to the Scottish Young Labour committee and additionally had members elected to two out of the four liberation positions.
SLYS campaigned on re-politicising Scottish Young Labour, demanding that young members of the Labour Party be treated as valuable and useful activists and not simply cannon fodder for door-knocking, as has so often been the case while the youth and student wings of the party have remained under the control of the Labour right. They called for a realignment of socialism as the central tenet of the party’s politics and to ensure that the youth wing of the party continued to engage with trade unions, another facet of the labour movement that has been unfortunately deprioritized by the Labour right.
SLYS also managed to pass one of the most radical and meaningfully socialist policy platforms for Young Labour seen anywhere in the UK. The conference voted overwhelmingly to demand an end to the Trident programme, to withdraw from NATO, to demand democratic reselection processes for elected representatives, to condemn Community Union’s sweetheart deal with ASOS management, and to call for nationalisation of the six major energy companies. They further voted in favour of beginning a campaign to end period poverty in Scotland, to endorse free public transport and better BME outreach, and to put pressure on the Scottish government to intervene in the hunger crisis.
Vijay Jackson, BAME Officer for Edinburgh Labour Students, commented “It was encouraging to witness militant rank-and-file youth rack up a weekend of victories, especially so soon after the news that the Scottish Labour Campaign for Socialism had been successful in winning 5 out 8 positions on the SEC, the Scottish Labour party’s equivalent of the NEC.”
He continued, “I was honoured to be asked to give the ambassador talk on behalf of the BAME caucus and was glad to see that the near unanimous passing of my motion defending migrants and supporting freedom of movement, given it was a crucial part of my speech, alongside fighting the newly insurgent far-right and being bold about putting forward an independent, socialist feminist and internationalist politics based on working-class self-emancipation. SYL is now formally in favour of free education and universal living grants for students and opposed to the racist ‘Prevent’ legislation, a drastic step forward in building the revolutionary policy platform SYL deserves. John McTernan has already denounced it on Twitter; I take that as an endorsement!”
• For the conference report published on the SLYS website, by Aiden Anthony O’Rourke, see here.
The Scottish Young Labour Committee for 2017-18 is:
Chair: Liam Gleeson
Vice Chair: Laura Dover
Secretary: Christopher Barbour
Treasurer: Mhari Sharkey
Press and Comms: Emily Robinson
Campaigns and Membership: Andrew Bustard
Trade Union Liaison Officer: Alison Campbell Glass
Under-19s Officer: Ryan Bazga
Women’s Officer: Jodie Cunningham
LGBT+ Officer: Marie Charlotte
Disabled Members’ Officer: Finlay Archibald
BAME Officer: Khosrow Zanganeh