Saturday, September 28, 2013

Defederate or Organize? The Student Left and the Canadian Federation of Students

Originally published at the New Socialist Webzine, September 28 2013

A September 4 press release published on Rabble has once again stirred debate among left-wing student activists about the Canadian Federation of Students. A network of left-wing students are at the forefront of a coordinated effort across 15 different campuses to gather sufficient signatures to initiate referendum campaigns on CFS membership.

Other left-wing students have responded with incredibly sharp criticisms, the most incendiary being the claim that defederation will actually aid the Right on campuses.

Seen increasingly through the lens of last year's Quebec student strike and the role played by l'Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSE), much of this debate centres on whether the CFS is a hindrance to the English-Canadian student movement, and to the student left's goal of a free, accessible and well-funded post-secondary education system.