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– Aidan Rowe discusses UCD’s Disaffiliation from the Union of Students of Ireland, its implications for the student movement, and whether there actually is a student movement in Ireland .
It is something of a paradox that leftists – those progressives who fight for a radical restructuring of society – often end up adopting antiquarian positions that, viewed from the outside, appear bizarre and irrelevant to present-day struggles. This has certainly been true of left-wing students’ positions on the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) for some time. We understand more keenly than most the historical importance of trade unions, which leads to the adoption, often without much debate, of a moralistic pro-USI position based in an abstract pro-unionism: one which loses sight of why leftists engage(d) with unions in the first place. We feel morally obligated to beat our heads against that particular brick wall regardless of the outcome, and then wonder aloud why more students don’t wish to join us in this particular form of Sisyphean masochism.