Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/457/5488
Students seek out socialist ideas
UCL and Brunel Socialist Students had a big problem with the student magazine this year - there weren't enough of them at the freshers' fairs! 70 were sold at Northumbria and Newcastle, 29 at Southampton Solent University, 23 at Birmingham, 20 at Swansea and many more around the country.
Students were coming up to our stalls, wanting to discuss our ideas and what has been going on internationally. Matt Dobson reported on Brunel Freshers fair, "Many people told us they were angry about the war in Lebanon over the summer and the fact that they now have to pay top-up tuition fees. At our meeting War, terror, poverty - what do socialists say? four students turned up with lots of questions - whether it is possible to achieve socialism through parliament, the nature of the Soviet Union and if socialists can reclaim the Labour Party.
We organised meetings like this in many areas on the same day as the freshers' fairs, for people interested in finding out more. Cardiff Socialist Students organised a meeting on the crisis in the Middle East, with 21 new students attending. In every university where we had stalls, we met students interested in our ideas and wanting to help build a socialist alternative on campus. Birmingham reported 40 interested in finding out more, despite us not having a stall in the freshers' fair. In Huddersfield there were 30 keen to get involved.
At UCL, we had around 35 saying that they want to get involved in the society, and sold 42 copies of the socialist and 33 Student Socialists. One person has already agreed to join the Socialist Party, with several more interested. Discussions on the stall and in our meetings at the end of each of the two days were wide-ranging. They covered everything from the causes of war and occupation in the Middle East to the lack of democracy and accountability of the government, what socialism is, the working class, and a lot more! From not having a presence there, we now have the beginnings of a healthy society, with plenty of ideas for discussions, campaigns and more!
For areas that have now had their freshers' fair, the focus has shifted from meeting people on the stalls, to having in-depth discussions with people who have expressed interest in finding out more. We are also planning our campaigns, political discussions and who can take on what responsibility in the societies. It is vital that all students who have expressed an interest in the Socialist Party are seen as soon as possible and discussions arranged with them about joining - Socialist Party branches are holding meetings on topics that are especially interesting to people who we meet at the freshers' fairs.
With hundreds of people interested and involved in Socialist Students, it looks set to be a good autumn of discussion about socialist ideas and campaigning against the effects of this rotten capitalist system, leading up to the weekend of socialist ideas and debates at socialism 2006, and a good year for socialist students - we'll just have to print more magazines in future!
In The Socialist 5 October 2006:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party campaigns