Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/456/5473
Socialist Students getting a fantastic response
All around the country, Socialist Students is meeting people disgusted with the policies of New Labour and looking for a socialist alternative. Students are angry about the brutal wars and occupations, top-up fees and course closures and the attacks on the NHS.
Matt Dobson Socialist Students national co-ordinator
We are getting a fantastic response from new students enrolling on courses in colleges and we are setting up new societies and groups in universities and colleges where we have never had Socialist Students before.
Sarah Sachs-Eldridge reports that Socialist Students attracted queues at the Liverpool freshers' fairs. Many who signed up said they were socialists and wanted to become organisers of Socialist Students on their campus.
"Socialist Students in Liverpool will be discussing building a campaign against fees and for free education across both campuses and the 6th form colleges. We need to build pressure from below to push the NUS leadership beyond their demand to maintain the £3,000 per year cap on tuition fees to taking up the struggle for free education for all and a living grant.
"We will be building support for the demo on 29 October and for a socialist contingent demanding an end to cuts and privatisation and for a fully publicly funded education for all."
Lambeth College Socialist Students had their first meeting on Capitalism equals war, poverty and terror - what is the Socialist Alternative? New members of Socialist Students turned up to the meeting wanting to know how to fight back against cuts in courses and facilities at the college and also were interested in the socialist analysis of terrorism and the crisis in the Middle East.
Ollie Paton from Sheffield Socialist Students reports:
"We signed up 51 students to the society, sold 37 Student Socialist magazines and 75 copies of the socialist - not a bad week at all".
Two lively stalls were run at the University of Huddersfield reports Iain Dalton.
"Fifteen new people joined Socialist Students with many interested in our campaigns on the NHS and free education. Ten copies of Socialist Student, 25 copies of the socialist and two books on Che Guevara were sold.
"Our campaigning methods were so successful that several businesses approached us to see if they could sponsor us to get their names on leaflets!
"Our first two meetings will focus on the mess that imperialism has created in the Middle East and on how the cuts and closures will affect students, particularly nursing students who face three years of study to end up jobless because of freezes on recruitment and cuts in staffing levels.
"We also intend to continue our campaign for a decent minimum wage and for free universal education at all levels, which we are hoping to get the Student Union to launch as its main campaign for the year."
Socialist Students were also at London freshers' fairs this week. At Queen Mary and Westfield, two meetings on consecutive days on What do Socialists say? attracted new members. Students were most interested in our Is socialism possible in the 21st century? leaflet.
At the University of East London, 43 students signed up to an email list and 11 Student Socialist magazines were sold. At Southbank University, we talked to student nurses angry about New Labour's attacks on the NHS and a number of students are interested in setting up Southbank's first Socialist Student society.
Lincoln Socialist Students had their most successful freshers' fair ever. Julie Payne is one of 31 new Socialist Students members signed up last week. "In total we sold 35 papers, 11 Socialist Students magazines and one book and got 31 people, including myself, signed up to our group," Julie wrote.
"On our first day, we expropriated a Pizza Express stall that was not being used and on the second day we had to contend with the Conservative Future society who, when approached to sign an anti-war petition, told us that "God blesses America" and that the West liberated Iraq! On the same evening, we had seven new people at our Socialist Party meeting, of which three have joined us in campaigning."
- If you want to find out more about Socialist Students, set up a Socialist Students' society and join us to organise and fight back contact:
Matt Dobson, Socialist Students national co-ordinator, PO Box 858, London E11 1YG. Tel: 020 8558 7947 email@example.com
In The Socialist 28 September 2006:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party campaigns
International socialist news and analysis