Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/550/6446
Lots of new recruits for Socialist Students
ALL OVER England and Wales, Socialist Students have been holding stalls at university 'freshers fairs'. The response has been good, not just on issues such as tuition fees but on wider political issues too.
At Cardiff University, over 40 students agreed to join Socialist Students and 16 students attended a meeting of over 30 people, jointly organised by Socialist Students and the Socialist Party, on the crisis of capitalism.
Socialist Party deputy general secretary Hannah Sell spoke at this meeting, outlining the shattering collapse of the financial markets and the dramatic political effects this will have. The lively, wide-ranging discussion was mostly about whether a socialist solution is possible in the new period of turmoil.
At University of Glamorgan in Pontypridd, more than 30 students signed up to join the Socialist Students society, and five later came along to its first meeting. At the University of Newport, over 45 students signed up, despite the student union bureaucrats attempting to bar political groups from the freshers fair.
At Swansea, 34 students signed up to Socialist Students with several indicating an interest in joining the local Socialist Party and getting involved in its campaigns. At Bangor the response to hard hitting posters saying 'Fight for Free Education' and 'Solidarity with Venezuela and Bolivia' was promising; 30 people approached the stand to sign up for further information.
Leeds University Socialist Students had a very successful freshers week. Around 140 people signed up for their society (Labour students got way under half that amount) and 20 attended its first meeting.
The difference in people's attitudes from a year ago is striking, with a lot more interest not only in student issues such as fees, but also in a political solution to problems like climate change and the economy. Many have already come to socialist conclusions.
Two colourful and busy socialist student stalls at Huddersfield freshers fair, attracted around 25 people to either join the society or commit to attend meetings. The Conservatives had a stall opposite the Socialist Students. This lead dozens of students to walk over to the Socialists (the only other political stall there) out of disgust at their appearance.
At Brunel university in west London, queues of people two lines deep waited to discuss the prominent Capitalism in Crisis: Was Marx right? posters.
Most students agreed that capitalism had created an almighty mess that clearly shows that a new way of running society is needed. Many students expressed their fears for the future now that jobs for graduates seem to be drying up.
Added to this is the knowledge that they would be weighed down with debt when they graduate. For this reason the Campaign to Defeat Fees was well received. As in other colleges, future meetings are planned to build on these successes.
Thanks to Sarah Mayo, Danny
Melia, Lizz Evans and Ian Slattery
In The Socialist 2 October 2008:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party review