By Kate Carr
After discussions at the four major student conferences this year, a new student group, the National Broad Left (NBL), was established in Melbourne on July 21.
The group will initiate national campaigns, intervene in student unions and operate as a united faction within the National Union of Students (NUS). The new group brings together progressive individuals and a range of left organisations within the student movement, including Left Alliance (LA), Resistance, parts of the Non-Aligned Left (NAL) and Love and Rage.
The NBL is developing policies around the following themes: fighting all government attacks; developing visions for student associations and NUS; facilitating progressive social change; and developing perspectives relating to education.
More than 200 people participated in discussions held throughout the country before NBL's formation. The significance of the creation of a nationally unified left within NUS cannot be overestimated.
Until now the left has been divided into two major factions (LA and NAL) at NUS national conferences, resulting in poor collaboration and communication within the left around policy for NUS and the election of office bearers.
The NBL explicitly advocates challenging the ALP-dominated leadership of NUS and changing NUS's campaign strategy from one of lobbying the ALP to sparking broad campaigns which involve and inspire students to fight for progressive social change.
It is hoped that the formation of NBL signals a period of constructive collaboration between left activists around the country and will facilitate healthy debate around priorities for the student movement.
The NBL will meet in Melbourne September 26-27. The NBL has an e-mail discussion list, <email@example.com>. For more information phone NBL state conveners: Matilda Alexander (Queensland) on (07) 3875 7227; Marina Carman (NSW) on (02) 9690 1230; Kate Davison (Victoria) on (0418) 575 422; Kate Carr, NBL national convener, on (02) 9518 3978 or e-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>.