UCU elections: Anti-boycott people elected, Sue Blackwell loses seat

toplogoThe results of the annual round of elections to the NEC of the UCU have been announced. The elections are a contest between the SWP-dominated ‘UCULeft’ – which actually represents a small and diminishing number of the many left activists in the union – and an independent network, generally opposed to the idea of a boycott of Israel

While the results are not entirely clear cut, the elections this year show a progressive shift. One of the two anti-boycott candidates for president, Terry Hoad, won, as expected. Some rock solid opponents of a boycott were elected or re-elected: Alan Carr as Treasurer, Stephen Desmond is back on, Jimmy Donnaghy from QUB is a new face on the NEC, Roger Waters from the OU is re-elected. Congratulations to these and to other candidates elected on from the Unity Network.

But the big news for many is that Sue Blackwell, who has been the leading proponent of an academic boycott of Israel, has lost her seat on the NEC of the union. Sue got 246 first preference votes coming 14th out of 17 on first preferences, and being eliminated early on in the count. That’s 246 out of 6,569 votes cast, which itself represents around 1 in 8 of those eligible to vote.

Sue Blackwell voted off NEC

Sue Blackwell voted off NEC

Sue Blackwell has, for years, loudly promoted an academic boycott of Israel. On a weekly, and sometimes daily basis, she has pushed for such a boycott on the activists list of the union. She has failed to get her position adopted by a single branch of the union. She has opposed giving the members a vote, ignored the views of her own branch, threatened legal action against other NEC members, and called on members who disagree with her to leave the union.

When the membership have been given a chance, they have decisively rejected such a boycott. Even more mild, boycott-promoting resolutions have been repudiated – as by the Oxford branch. Sue Blackwell is known for little else in the union, but everyone knows her position on Israel. Now the small minority of the members who vote in union elections have made it clear that they have had enough of this. And if we have helped to get Sue Blackwell off the NEC, we are glad to have done so.

From looking at the figures, it is clear what that something else has happened. The Socialist Workers’ Party have concentrated their vote on their own members, and withdrawn some of their vote from Sue and others standing on the UCULeft slate, such as Marion Hersh and Jeff Fowler. The SWP may try to spin this as a miscalculation, but people will see through such claims. The SWP itself is continuing to distance itself from calls for an academic boycott and is sticking the knife into non-SWP members of UCULeft.

Turnout was once again pitifully low.

Posted in UCU. 13 Comments »

13 Responses to “UCU elections: Anti-boycott people elected, Sue Blackwell loses seat”

  1. Inna Says:

    For your sake, I hope you have elected a set of candidates who will focus on working conditions because (and I speak from personal experience) when your union is led by people who focus on issues not directly related to working conditions in This economy, things go downhill extremely rapidly.



  2. Mandrake Says:

    Great news.

  3. matt Says:

    seriously considering re-joining now – low turn out also shows that the percentage of ucu members who want their union to push for a boycott is even tinier than that of those vigorously opposed…

    agree with Inna – time to go back to employment issues!!!

  4. Harry Goldstein Says:

    As a UCU member I have heard nothing from the union regarding these results. Anyone know when they will be officially announced?

    Still, great news.

  5. Jon Says:

    Harry, the results are on the UCU website for all to see, here.


    They were posted yesterday morning

  6. blackeyed susan Says:

    So, the Jewish lobby, oops sorry I mean the Zionists struck again.

  7. Mira Vogel Says:

    Harry, good point. Sometimes I think that the UCU Activists list is a decoy list for anti-Israel obsessives and the worried people who oppose them and that most of the good union-related discussion is going on elsewhere. Do you? 😉

  8. Mikey Says:

    Out of interest, and looking at the make up of the NEC, how many Swappies are on the NEC, how many members of the UCU left and how many others of, how do I put this politely, more normal members?

  9. Agent with responsibility with for UCU Says:

    Look, let me tell you something. Believe me, next to the financial markets, the media, the UN, the US, the UCU was really no Florida………..now, let me tell you, that did take a lot of work……………………

  10. Mira Vogel Says:

    Less than 10% turnout. Is that a record?

  11. Bill Says:

    Has she claimed that her academic freedom has been violated yet like she did some time ago when her team lost a vote?

  12. david Says:

    Though I think Roger Waters might be flattered by the UCU support, it is Roger Walters who won.

  13. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Sue Blackwell voted off the UCU NEC: sorry to be rude and insulting (c “David”) but it couldn’t happen to a nicer person.

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