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The USI's idea of effective protest.

The USI’s idea of effective protest.

– Sarah McCarthy writes about her experiences of engaging with her students’ union and the Union of Students of Ireland (USI).

We’ve had two articles here on the ISLO concerning UCD’s Disaffiliation from the USI. While I have a number of more theoretical and comparative points I’d like to contribute to this debate, the last article makes me think it would be useful to explore what engaging with our SU’s and the USI actually looks like. I’ve had a relatively high level of engagement with the NUIG students’ union during the near three years I’ve been at University. I’ve been in Free Education for Everyone (FEE) since I began, was a class rep for two years, and ran for the position of Welfare Officer last year. This article essentially outlines the highlights of the experiences I’ve had during that time, in order to illustrate that we lefties don’t moan about our SU’s and the USI for no good reason.

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– Alán Camilo Cienfuegos weighs in on the USI Disaffiliation debate, arguing that left-wing students should remain committed to working with and within the USI.

The decision of University College Dublin to disaffiliate from the national Union of Students in Ireland is utterly foolish. In a time when the efficacy of the various organisations of working people and the disaffected in Irish society are being blunted by the ever-useful government tactic of divide-and-conquer (public vs. private sector, etc.), to have one of the largest universities in the country break with their student’s national union and essentially go it alone is nothing but a victory for those whose interests lie in seeing unions in general broken up and emaciated, namely the government and wealthy they serve. That the campaign in favour of disaffiliation was spearheaded by the likes of Young Fine Gael, the lapdogs of their parents in government, should be evidence enough of the motivations for such a move, but to see leftists standing in the same camp as such vermin is, to say the least, surprising.

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