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Socialist Students: showing an alternative to cuts and fees
Socialist Students members and supporters have had a busy start to what promises to be a busy academic year.
Many have been discussing with students about socialist ideas, figures like Karl Marx and Che Guevara, the origins of this economic crisis and more.
But more than just organising discussion groups, Socialist Students is starting to launch the fightback against cuts and fees in this new academic year.
Students facing cuts want to know how to campaign, how to mobilise for the NUS demonstration on 10 November and how to stop the likely increases in university fees.
At the Swansea Metropolitan University freshers fair, Socialist Students campaigned against tuition fees and cuts in education funding.
Not being allowed into the main hall, we set up our stall outside the entrance. After ten minutes, having already signed up 15 students, the students union told us that we were not welcome on campus but we could go outside the main gates.
We left the campus and set up our stall outside but went back in with just our petitions handy. Again, security came and told us we were not welcome, so back outside we went.
The principal of the university came out protesting that 'his' students union did not want us there and demanded that we leave, despite the fact that we were campaigning on issues of central importance to the lives of his students.
We said "no way" so he called the police. The police arrived in force, and after much deliberation said that we were perfectly entitled to set up our stall outside the campus.
The principal was clearly infuriated at the police decision to do their job properly. Then, showing how low he is willing to sink, went back inside and instructed security to make placards stating "this organisation is not approved by your students union" and to stand beside us until we left.
Almost everyone who walked past stopped to talk and signed the petition. The level of support from the students was overwhelming!
Khalid Qassem Swansea Socialist Students
Leeds Socialist Students kicked off the new academic year with a fantastic week of campaigning. 125 people wanted to find out more about Socialist Students or join. Many did the same for the Socialist Party.
326 people signed the Socialist Students petition against tuition fees and education cuts. A fantastic meeting saw 21 people discuss "What is socialism?" and the struggle against cuts. Nearly all those who attended joined the society or requested more information on our activities.
Leeds University Against Cuts (LUAC) held an internal organising meeting in preparation for a big public meeting. Last year, alongside lecturers in the University and College Union, LUAC won a partial victory by staving off compulsory redundancies until January 2011. LUAC will now have to fight the attempted closure of the student union bookshop.
Ian Pattison and Alicia Blackett
The Socialist Students stall at the Lincoln University sports and societies fair, maybe due to the student union's distaste for politics, was placed upstairs, away from the majority of freshers, despite having applied for a downstairs stall months prior to the event.
This didn't stop us from generating a lot of support for our campaigns, including a no cuts, no fees petition.
In addition to this we handed out leaflets to students that contained information on socialism, and the time and date of our first meeting.
In the evening we hosted a meeting to discuss "What is socialism?"
We will be organising campaigns and marches in the coming months, including taking part in the 20 October day of action against cuts and supporting the Lincoln TUC demo against cuts on 23 October.
Huseyin Kishi and Jo Sams
On Tuesday 21 September Socialist Students held a stall at Brunel University, campaigning against tuition fees and higher education cuts.
With around 40 students interested in getting involved in Socialist Students, we hope to form a campaigning society at Brunel, to fight against cuts and tuition fees.
We will build for a day of action on 20 October, involving students and staff, to protest against cuts to higher education.
First stop for the Staffordshire Socialist Students 'freshers tour' was at Wolverhampton University.
Many students signed our petition calling for decent jobs for young people and a fightback against the Con-Dem government cuts.
Over 20 people also signed up to help launch a Wolves Uni Socialist Students society.
Staffordshire Socialist Students
In The Socialist 29 September 2010:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party feature