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Lines drawn in the SAlt as sides pick presidential candidates

The deal between Socialist Alternative, Unity, NLS, and SLS for the upcoming SRC election is a huge blow to Grassroots, writes Andrew Passarello.

Socialist Alternative (SAlt) has joined forces with Unity, National Labor Students (NLS), and Sydney Labor Students (SLS) in a preference deal for the upcoming Students’ Representative Council (SRC) Election, uniting against Grassroots’ presidential candidate Kyol Blakeney.

If successful in the September election, the cross-factional deal would see an NLS candidate installed as President, a Unity General-Secretary, and SAlt most likely guaranteed the Education Officers’ portfolios.

Kyol Blakeney is the current National Union of Students (NUS) NSW Indigenous Officer and SRC Indigenous Officer. NLS, whose candidate is receiving the backing of all Labor factions and SAlt, is yet to select a candidate, but are tipped to be running Amy Knox, the current NUS NSW Women’s Officer.

2013 saw the election of the first Indigenous student councillor and the first Indigenous Vice-President of the SRC.

The deal between SAlt and the assorted Labor factions is contrast to last year, where SAlt and Grassroots worked together to take a record number of seats on the SRC.

The development continues a rapid rise on the USyd campus for SAlt, who following the 2013 SRC election, recruited some elected Grassroots members to SAlt including Education Officer Eleanor Morley. It also follows SLS being reduced to a rump after a dispute over whether to support a factional Labor or Grassroots presidential candidate.

An anonymous Grassroots member told Honi they were disappointed with the decision.

“It’s frustrating that groups like SALT are working with those in power … with a view of getting positions,” they said.

“The fact that they abandon their own principles, reverse on their vitriolic anti-Labor sentiments of last year’s election demonstrate that in truth, that they are the real left traitors.”

The deal impacts negotiations at the National Union of Students conference at the end of the year. At last year’s conference, SAlt negotiated an unprecedented deal with Labor factions to take the National Education portfolio, similar to these SRC negotiations.

At time of publication, SAlt was yet to respond to Honi’s request for comment.