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Keith Narey

Keep Your Feet on the Ground!

(October 1977)

From Militant, No. 377, 14 October 1977, p. 5.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

One of the hardest things about coming to university is the unreality of the environment.

While outside storms rage about wages and conditions, inflation and unemployment, inside these well-upholstered walls, beautiful thoughts are mounted into high sounding concepts and academic debate replaces class conflict.

Under the evasive, ambiguous leadership of the Broad Left at the head of the NUS, student politics seem vague, disconnected and irrelevant.

It is therefore easy to become bemused and retreat to study, or seek refuge in beer, sport or whatever else is going on.

Among the confusion and apathy, the Labour Clubs stand out like beacons of light, attracting the disoriented students and guiding them back towards reality.

Starting with an honest, down-to-earth attitude to the political problems of the day, inviting open, free debate with all sections of the labour movement, they can draw serious students into political activity and direct them towards the local Labour Party, and in particular the Labour Party Young Socialists. This contrasts sharply with the impetuous, off-putting approach of some student groups on the left.

Through the labour movement students can play a part in the various campaigns, especially the Youth Campaign Against Unemployment.

The respect and influence the LYPS has in the labour movement will ensure the student a welcome among the local activists.

Here are tremendous lessons to be learnt, of the necessity for organisation, control over the leadership by the rank and file, and unity of all workers.

Students have more to learn from workers than to teach. Yet the students, with their energy, idealism and time to read and interpret, have a tremendous amount to contribute to the organised labour movement, provided they are prepared to take their share of the hard, routine work. Involvement in the Labour Party keeps a student’s feet on the ground.

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Last updated: 29 August 2016