UCU strike: “Momentum has been absent at the national level”

Nita and Daniel

On 29 March, Daniel – our co-editor and a candidate for Momentum’s NCG – spoke at the victory party for Nita Sanghera, the UCU’s VP-elect. Here is an extended version of the speech:

I’m delighted to be here among heroes of the labour movement!

I’m also so excited to celebrate the election of Nita as VP. The Clarion magazine, which I co-edit, recently published an article by Nita and Rhiannon Lockley on the National Education Service, and I know both have excellent ideas about how the education system needs to change. Nita’s victory is truly emboldening and I can’t wait to see what is achieved in the months to come. We need more victories for the combative Left in our unions to push for real change.

The UCU strike has provided huge inspiration and encouragement over recent weeks. It has shown what activists can do and achieve, even when opposed by some bureaucrats in their own trade union. The solidarity occupations at unis up and down the country have also brought out the very best in our movement. I was fortunate enough to be alongside some of the key figures in the occupation movement a couple of months ago at the LCC occupation against gentrification.

I have been asked to pass on solidarity to you all from student occupiers and NCAFC members who are currently in Glasgow for the NUS conference: “Keep fighting. Our real power is outside of established institutions and in our common organising.”

Labour now backs strikes, a hugely significant change under Corbyn and McDonnell. But one would expect Momentum – now the main vehicle for the Labour Left – to actively support workers’ actions. Unfortunately, as we have seen with the Picturehouse strikes and more recently your own action, Momentum has, basically, been absent at the national level. Almost as absent as the NUS leadership…

I’m standing in the election to the NCG to argue for a Momentum that more actively supports workers’ struggles. Momentum should be there – not just on social media, but fundraising at the national level, sending activists to nearby picket lines, using technology to coordinate occupations, and yes, raising hell in universities and workplaces. I’m also standing on a platform of democratising the organisation and making it the radically participatory movement that it initially aimed to be. Momentum needs new structures to make that happen, and I will argue for them on the NCG if elected.

If you are a Momentum member, please come and find me and we can have a chat.

Thanks for listening, and solidarity!

  • To donate to the UCU fighting fund, please click here.
  • To follow Daniel’s campaign, please go to @daniel4ncg on both Twitter and Facebook.
  • Daniel is standing in the Midlands, Wales, East and West regional division; please also consider supporting, among others, Sahaya James, Michael Chessum, Yannis Gourtsoyannis and Ruth Cashman in the South East/London; and Ed Whitby, Camila Bassi and Tracy McGuire in the North/Scotland. 

Let us know what you think? Write a reply? Email theclarionmag@gmail.com

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