Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/459/1547
Build Socialist Students!
Socialist Students now has a presence in over 70 universities and colleges across the country. We have new groups and societies in Northampton, University College London, University of East London, West Suffolk College, Exeter College, Southampton Institute and Liverpool University.
Matt Dobson Socialist Students national co-ordinator
In many areas Socialist Students has had its best-ever response. Joe Fatallah reports from Glamorgan University: "The students we signed up were serious about getting involved, they are a bit wary of political parties but they want to come along to meetings and see, they want to learn about socialist ideas and get involved in fighting back.
"The provision of healthcare on campus is an issue students are angry about - we are going to build a Socialist Students society that campaigns on this issue and also gets involved in the struggles of workers in the community to defend the NHS and stop the Burberry plant closure".
In both Sheffield and Exeter, over 20 new students came to their first meeting to discuss socialism. Exeter Socialist Students are planning to campaign against commercialisation on their campus - students are having to pay £142 a week in halls of residence. They are also organising a week of discussion and debate over Latin America a continent in upheaval with discussions and film showings.
Alex Gounelas reports from Cardiff: "Our best freshers' fair ever! We had 23 new students all interested in socialist ideas turn up to our joint Socialist Stud-ents/Socialist Party meeting on the Middle East. We will be inviting them to all our Socialist Students' activities and meetings and encouraging them to come to those of the Socialist Party as well."
Steve Dobbs, Southampton, explains why he thinks people are joining Socialist Students: "We encourage all members and new people who have signed up to get involved in our activities. We are organising protests against fees, a debate with John McDonnell over whether the Labour Party can be reclaimed and are pushing our students union to get as many as possible to the 29 October fees demo."
In many areas, Socialist Students has met healthcare students angry about New Labour's attacks on the NHS. We will be leafleting their workplaces and residences with our new healthcare students leaflet and publicising the feeder march to the NHS TUC lobby of Parliament on 1 November.
This first term will be an extremely busy one for Socialist Students. A Week of Action is planned across England and Wales from 23 to 29 October, to build for the national demo organised by the NUS on 29 October. This will involve local protests and stunts against student debt and fees and meetings on how to defeat them. We will be pushing our student unions to book transport and publicise the demonstration.
Many students are also interested in joining the Socialist Party as well as being involved in Socialist Students - branches should invite students to their meetings and encourage them to ask questions about our ideas and read our material. Members should also discuss individually with students about joining the party and what it involves.
Sheffield Heeley branch has recruited four new students from local colleges and universities just this week. Also, if students are interested in socialist ideas make sure they are asked if they want to buy a ticket for Socialism 2006.
In The Socialist 22 October 2006:
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
War and terrorism
Socialist Party review