Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/469/1958
How to become a fees fighter
Students now face tuition fees of up to £3,000 a year and the government can't even be bothered to measure the effect this is having on students from working-class backgrounds. Socialist Students launched the Campaign to Defeat Fees (CDF) immediately after the 29 October NUS demo where it was clear that there is a huge and growing anger amongst students on the issue. Since then the campaign has had a great response and we aim to build on this in 2007. So join us and become one of many fee-fighters leading the struggle for free education on campuses across the country.
Matt Dobson Socialist Students national co-ordinator
The first thing to do is to let other people on campus know that you are serious about this and want to start a campaign. You could hand out CDF leaflets at the student union or the main entrance, the canteen and student accommodation. People will see you doing it and also get to read about what you are saying!
You will need leaflets, petitions and clipboards, pens and something to collect donations towards the campaign in, so you can pay for photocopying and material for demonstrations and stunts. If people understand that this is why you are collecting they will be more likely to give - 20 people giving 50p each is a useful tenner!
You can also get people signed up on the CDF petition. Keep hold of completed petitions as we want to collect them nationally - we already have hundreds of signatures. You can keep a record of people who want to get involved and create a local email list for the campaign, to organise your activity and meetings.
Call a CDF meeting for the first week of term so that straight away there is something for people to come to and you can discuss and plan how to build the campaign.
You could start with a short introduction, explaining why we have to oppose fees and how we can build a mass campaign to force the government to scrap them. There are plenty of facts and figures and other useful information on the Socialist Students' website: www.socialiststudents.org.uk.
Suggest some ideas for campaigning and get people to give their own ideas and say what they can help with (see below). See if you can get an article in the campus paper or magazine and if the campus radio station will interview you about the campaign. The student union may let you put something on their website. Every activity should be advertised with posters all over campus - the more people you can get involved the better.
If there doesn't seem to be a huge response at first, don't panic! We have to see ourselves as the pioneers of the fight against fees - our determination will inspire others to get involved but you will need persistence to get a bigger campaign going.
Socialist Students is calling a national day of action on 22 February and it would be good to have protests on every campus or local area on that date. You could organise a stunt with a 'ball and chain of debt', a 'debt line' where students can mark up their debt, a protest outside a bank on campus or the finance department or a debate with the vice chancellor. Let us know your own ideas!
Contact students in other colleges and universities. You could work together, alternating your campaigning on the different sites. Ask the trade unions in your university or college for support and ask if you can send a speaker to their meetings. Build up points of support anywhere you can. If there are other campaigns on campus or in the local area you think might be sympathetic, ask them to sign the petition.
With a united struggle of students, trade unionists, parents and everyone who opposes fees we stand a much better chance of forcing the government to back down. Contact Socialist Students for more information and anything you have questions about.
- Write to (and send completed petitions) : Socialist Students, PO Box 858, London E11 1YG. email@example.com
- Download campaigning material and get more information at www.socialiststudents.org.uk
In The Socialist 11 January 2007:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Violence against women
Socialist Party review
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news