It is the beginning of a new year, a new start. Looking back, in the last few months, I see all the heroic struggles when students, on numerous occasions, united and came down to streets to raise their voice against the injustice being done to them. Be it the struggle waged by the students of MU, for their correct results on time, or to curtail UGC move against the non-NET scholars, the need for student’s unity is the highlight. Time and again, we have seen how students have stood together to raise their voice against injustice and have made a huge impact on policies affecting them.
It is through these struggles that we realize the need for a common united front of students. A platform, where all the students feel free to come ahead and express what they feel like on a range of issues, where every individual works towards the betterment of the collective, where an attack on one means attack on all and above all where every student feels empowered! Student unions are the first step to understanding how this unity works. It motivates students to empower themselves and realize that change is possible if things are done in the right manner and everyone works together. Realizing and trusting the power of the collective is the essence of a student’s union.
We see many political forces interfering and trying to take the lead in students’ movements. The main aim of such interventions is either to promote the ideology of these parties or to share the reflected glory. The agenda of most affiliated student unions today is no longer focused on student issues. This leaves the student’s union inactive. To me, it seems like a planned effort towards the destruction of the existing unions. What we need today is a student union whose primary role is to ensure the welfare of students. What we don’t need is a union meant to create political puppets, whose sole objective is to promote a particular party and expand its vote base. In our article on the MU students’ struggle(Spark, Volume 1, Issue 1), We saw how it was only because of the united efforts of students, that they got successful results! We should aim to build a students’ union where we believe that an ‘Attack on one is attack on all’ and how the collective is effective in dealing with it. This is very well explained in an article of ours-
‘We, not Me!!!’ (Spark, Volume 1, Issue 2)
Effective working of such a student’s union is ensured only when every student in the union feels empowered, every student feels responsible and accountable towards the union. We must ensure free and open discussions in the forum, a forum where age, sex, knowledge, language, etc. are not a barrier. Unlike today, where the decisions are taken unilaterally and are forced on the members of the union, only after discussions, must a decision be arrived at that would be binding upon all members. This democratic aspect ensures effective decision making. The democratic practice of the organization rests on the principle that collective decisions made by majority vote after a full, informed, and frank discussion are more likely to reflect the interests of every student than decisions made otherwise. At the same time, centralism is necessary to ensure unity of action in carrying out the organization’s decisions.Accountability is another important aspect of such a union. Its lack is one of the biggest problems we see in the organizations today. It must include periodic review of decisions, reports from the members on their work and analysis, and constructive criticism.
Democracy means tapping the creativity and experience of all the concerned people to make sure that the
organization’s decisions correspond to the real development of the struggle for rights. On the other hand, without centralism the experiences of the union’s members and would remain scattered. The organization would be unable to translate its knowledge and experience into a material force. Thus, there should be no democracy without centralism, and no centralism without democracy.