While the SWP lost dozens of its own members to Galloway’s populist, Stalinist split from Respect, Student Respect remained almost totally solid, with the vast majority of independents siding with SWSS. The positive consequence of this has been a left turn by Student Respect — in terms of a willingness to talk about women’s liberation and abortion rights, for instance — as well as a greater willingness to engage with other socialists like the AWL.
Nonetheless, Respect/SWSS is still supporting Ruqayyah Collector, the very soft-left candidate put forward by Student Broad Left/Socialist Action, for NUS president. And it appears that in doing so they will be helping their rivals in Respect Renewal get a foothold in NUS.
Rumours have been circulating for a while that Ruqayyah is a supporter of Galloway’s organisation (though, being an opportunistic politician, Collector mentions it even less than she mentions her support for SBL.) Now the evidence is mounting up. Student Socialist Action members were all over the founding Respect Renewal conference, and SBL candidate Bryony Shanks has a quote from Salma Yaqoob on her manifesto. Moreover, the second issue of Respect Renewal’s paper features a centre page open letter from Collector about her candidacy — a letter entitled “Offering students a real alternative in the NUS” and advertised prominently on the front page.
Student SWP and Respect members should protest against this alliance and make an alternative one with other socialists in organisations like Education Not for Sale and Workers’ Liberty.