Why NUS must speak out against a US attack on Syria
Today’s decision by the Trade Union Congress to “urge the international community to redouble their efforts to find a peaceful solution, and strongly oppose external military intervention” against Syria is an example I hope my colleagues on National Union of Students (NUS) National Executive will follow when we debate this issue next week.
The Parliamentary defeat of David Cameron’s plan to attack Syria is very welcome indeed. By refusing to back yet another British military intervention in the Middle East, MPs have for once reflected the views of the anti-war majority in this country. Opinions polls – including amongst young people – show overwhelming opposition to war, with 71% agreeing with the decision of Parliament to reject Britain taking part in military action against Syria (YouGov, September 2013).
The vote against war in the British Parliament has also hugely disrupted and delayed the US drive to war. With the majority of international opinion against war on Syria, including within the US itself, the possibility of stopping the proposed military aggression from the US is now on the table.
The task of the pro-peace majority in the world at this moment could not be clearer: do whatever we can to build up pressure against the US militarily intervening in Syria. If this war is stopped enormous death and destruction will be avoided.
In this spirit I have put forward a motion to the NUS National Executive – a body which represents 7 million students in the UK – to welcome the British decision to not launch a military assault on Syria and to oppose all US military intervention in Syria. I believe this proposal reflects the views of the overwhelming majority of students in Britain.
Unfortunately the NUS President, Toni Pearce, alongside a number of other members of the NUS leadership are putting forward a proposal that NUS “maintain at this stage no position on intervention.” If this motion is adopted the student movement will absurdly be more right wing than the British Parliament. To prevent this I am urging students to contact the NUS President directly using this easy lobby tool to ask her to change course and support the motion against US military intervention.
Here is the motion in full I am putting forward to be debated on 17 September 2013:
No to US intervention on Syria
1. To welcome the British decision to not launch a military assault on Syria.
2. To oppose all US military intervention on Syria.
3. To support Stop the War Coalition protests against a US military assault on Syria.