Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/412/4685
University Freshers' fairs
Students are searching for a socialist alternative
The response to our stalls at Manchester University, Manchester Metropolitan University and Salford University was brilliant. We are the only society that puts forward a socialist alternative for students in Manchester.
Emma Linnacre, Manchester Socialist Students
Students who came up to our stall raised issues, such as debt, top-up fees and privatisation of halls of residence. But they were also interested in other local issues that did not directly affect them, such as the council housing sell-off in Wythenshawe and the closure of hospital wards in Trafford and Wythenshawe.
By linking them we made students aware that capitalism is the root cause of these problems and underlined the importance of linking up with workers.
We sold over 50 copies of Student Socialist magazines on the stalls and 50 people signed up for Socialist Students. Several were interested in joining the Socialist Party and coming to Socialism 2005.
Students this year were more politicised, radicalised and knowledgeable than last year. The many students looking for our stall demonstrated that our campaigning over the last year had shown us to be an effective and active society that does more than just talk about socialist issues.
Socialist Students are preparing to launch a campaign against the privatisation of university halls of residence and support student struggles against cuts, debt, fees and the privatisation of essential student services.
Over 20 students came to the first meeting of Socialist Students. This was especially impressive as the meeting was at 4pm on a Friday afternoon when many students were being tempted by cheap drinks in local bars or getting ready to go for a night out in Manchester city centre!
Our discussion on Marxist economics provoked an interesting and excited debate and students there had a good grasp of the problems of capitalist society and wanted to discuss the socialist alternative.
Everyone is now on our mailing list. Five more have joined Socialist Students and one person has joined the Socialist Party. We sold 70 Student Socialists magazines, ten copies of the socialist and collected £80 in fighting fund during the week.
More freshers' fairs reports
Newcastle Socialist Students had a very successful freshers' fair - despite being prevented from having a stall inside - 20 bulletins and 11 socialists were sold. They were campaigning for the student union to put on transport to Leeds on 2 November to take part in the anti-fascist demonstration when BNP leader Nick Griffin appears in court.
London Metropolitan University had their best response in recent years. At the north campus over 40 email addresses were collected for an egroup of those interested in coming to meetings.
At Liverpool University and John Moore's University, more than 50 young people and students indicated further interest in the Socialist Party and Socialist Students. Nine people came to the first meeting in the Liverpool Student Guild and made plans for a regular stall at Liverpool University each Friday and further meetings.
At the University of York, over 100 people signed up to Socialist Students, 33 paid to join, and 19 copies of the socialist were sold.
At Sheffield Hallam University, 30 papers and five Student Socialist bulletins were sold, with £19 fighting fund raised. This followed a successful week at Sheffield University when 93 signed up to Socialist Students, 31 paying to join on the day. 109 socialists and 37 Student Socialists were sold in total, with £69 fighting fund raised.
In The Socialist 20 October 2005: