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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 January 2006

ISR/Socialist Students conference:

An antidote to cuts, lies and corruption

At last year's Labour Party Conference, 82-year-old Walter Wolfgang was violently expelled for shouting "Nonsense!" at Jack Straw, who was trying to defend New Labour's support for the brutal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Thomas House

It would be hard to find an incident that stands in greater contrast to what will take place at ISR and Socialist Students' conference!

Our event will be a democratic discussion among students and young people about how we can stop war, terror and racism, how we can replace the unjust capitalist system, how to fight for our rights to education and at work and much more besides.

Those prepared to challenge Blair will not be a retired minority of one, but hundreds of young trade unionists and students! There will be an opening rally, with the opportunity to contribute and ask questions, followed by group discussions, and finally the business section of moving, amending and voting on motions. These will set the policy of ISR and Socialist Students for the next year. Throughout the day debate will be encouraged and differences of opinion treated respectfully.

All Socialist Student societies should start organising their delegations, in particular campaigning for money from their student union so that every member who wants to come is able to. ISR members should also ask their trade union branch to sponsor them.

Students fight canteen price hike

LAMBETH STUDENTS' Union is angry at price increases in the college's canteens. An average meal can cost 3 to 4 and a bottle of water costs more than in local shops. Scolarest, the private caterer, is cashing in on poor students.

Rob MacDonald, Lambeth Students' Union President and Socialist Students

They have a subsidy of 75,000 from the college. This was cut recently from 125,000 and they passed this cut onto the students. Now, the students' union has launched the campaign "Quality Food at Prices Students can Afford".

We're calling for all prices to be lowered, for a full meal to cost no more than 2; a guarantee of quality food which is fresh, healthy and ethical with a wide range of choices that students want. Scolarest should find the resources to bring prices down; Compass, Scolarest's parent company and the world's biggest catering firm, makes huge profits.

If Scolarest/Compass can't part with their profits and deliver cheaper, better canteens, then students want them out. The college should run canteens on a not-for-profit basis. The union's petition has so far collected 1,000 signatures.

Management promised a review by late February. The union, though, was not confident that Scolarest would meet the demands so we called a one-day boycott of the four canteens across Lambeth College on 26 January. To organise this, site meetings were held with over 100 class reps involved.

Lambeth Students' Union is calling for other student unions to join the fight. So far five other colleges are keen. The regional NUS has convened a meeting on 1 February at Kings College Students' Union at 3pm to discuss a joint strategy.

Students' Union activists reassured canteen staff that the problems are no reflection on them. They too need to get organised as Scolarest has a bad reputation and pays very low wages. NATFHE, the lecturers' union, has also backed the campaign.

To find out more contact:

ISR/Socialist Students' conference: A socialist world is necessary

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In The Socialist 26 January 2006:

Striking to save jobs & services

Fight cuts and closures

United action planned

City greed hits workers' pensions

PCS youth conference success

'Crisis in working class political representation'

Time for a new mass workers' party

A socialist world is necessary

An antidote to cuts, lies and corruption

Morales' presidential victory - a new phase in the class struggle

Chile: First woman president elected

Venezuela: Nurses protest in Caracas

Blair's 'high wire act' - heading for a fall?

Lincoln fights to defend council housing

Homophobia isn't the exclusive preserve of any religion

Scaring children into believing in Jesus


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