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UCU Elections 2013: Fighting back against the ‘UCU Left’

THIS IS A GUEST POST BY SACKCLOTH AND ASHES.

For rank-and-file members of the University and College Union, one of the principal challenges for the union is the effort by the Sex-Offenders at Work Party Socialist Workers Party and their fellow  travellers in the ‘UCU Left’ to hijack it, and divert it into following an extremist political agenda. Last year’s National Executive Committee elections enabled moderate academics and higher-education sector workers to recover some control of UCU from the SWP and their allies.

The forthcoming elections offer a further opportunity to take the union back.

There are eight vacancies for positions in the NEC. The post of Vice President from the Higher Education Sector and Honorary Treasurer are also open to election, amongst other posts.  For UCU members concerned about the fate of our union, the importance  of voting cannot be overemphasised. The need to fight back against the SWP and their lackeys is particularly important in the context of the ‘Comrade Delta’ scandal. The SWP’s actual attitude on gender equality and women’s rights (as opposed to its declared position) is obnoxious to any genuine trade unionist or academic. Ideally, UCU leadership should adopt the same position with this cult group as it does with the BNP – membership of UCU should be seen as incompatible with
membership of this party, and the SWP should be excluded from campus politics as a consequence.

Failing that, rank-and-file members can strike a blow by using the Single Transferable Voting system to thwart the efforts of ‘UCU Left’ entryists to gain seats on the NEC. They are as follows:

  • Elizabeth Lawrence (Standing for VP, Higher Ed Sector);
  • Gavin Reid (Standing for Honorary Treasurer);
  • Pura Ariza (Standing as an LGBT rep);
  • Adrian Budd (Standing for the NEC);
  • Marion Hersh (Standing for the NEC);
  • Sean Wallis (Standing for the NEC);
  • Paul Blackledge (Standing for the NEC);
  • Gavin Reid (Standing for the NEC, as well as the post of Honorary Treasurer);
  • Veronica Killen (Standing for the NEC);
  • Peter Dwyer (Standing for the NEC).

Looking at the election statements of the above, Dr Hirsh lists her membership of the Support Tyrants and War criminals Collective (STWC), whilst Mr Wallis proudly boasts that he ‘organised a teach-in against the Iraq War in 1991’. Quite why Wallis feels that his pro-Baathist advocacy is something to be proud of is beyond me, but then perhaps he is related to the Sean Wallis who recycles neo-Nazi propaganda.

In contrast, I was struck by the election statement of Joe Gluza, who is also standing for the NEC. Mr Gluza’s remarks here are worth quoting in full, as they highlight the core problem within UCU (epitomised not only by the UCU Left’s efforts to thwart the fight against anti-Semitism on campus, but also the fact that the union itself has been taken to court as a consequence:

As UCU Members it must be our first duty to protect the interests of fellow Members and not to promote narrow and sectional interests.

It is wrong to waste our limited resources (both Officials’ time and our finances) to pursue political causes which have little support amongst Members and which detract from the Union’s main duty to look after Members’ interests in their employment in the face of increasingly hostile employers.

It is especially wrong to use Annual Congress to set policies which not only alienate many of our Members but also can lead to our Union being brought before the Courts and forced to defend itself at great cost to Members.

Joe Gluza deserves the support of fellow UCU members, as do the following individuals whose election statements indicate a commitment to the union and to academics, higher education worker and students, rather than to a red-brown clique:

  • Dominique Lauterburg (Standing for VP, Higher Ed Sector);
  • Angela Roger (Standing for Honorary Treasurer) (To quote her, ‘[we] can’t afford to lose members because they see the union as wasting money on divisive and ineffective campaigns driven by political ideology’.);
  • Mary Jennings (Standing as an LGBT rep);
  • Gordon Watson (Standing for the NEC);
  • Julia Charlton (Standing for the NEC);
  • Roger Brooks (Standing for the NEC)
  • Dan Arthur (Standing for the NEC).

These candidates will get my vote, and I strongly encourage HP readers and visitors who belong to UCU to do the same.