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From: The Socialist issue 364, 2 October 2004: Out Of Touch!

Search site for keywords: Socialist Students - Students - Socialism - Socialist - Top-up fees - University - Iraq - Freshers fairs - BNP - Education - Fees - The Socialist

Students Sign Up for Socialism

WAR AND occupation in Iraq, top-up fees, attacks on education, the BNP, inequality - just some of the issues that have motivated hundreds of students to find out more about socialist ideas at the university freshers fairs.

"Swansea Socialist Students got off to a flying start in freshers week" said Matthew Dobson and Sheila Caffrey. "We signed up a total of 70 members and sold 47 copies of the socialist. Top-up fees and cuts and closures were two of the main issues that students were angry about. Eight new people attended our first meeting on 'Is socialism the answer'.

"New member Chris said he was appalled by the obscene wealth gap in society. Others spoke about the hypocrisy of the Iraq war and how welfare and education suffer in capitalist society.

"Sarah and Clare said there was a lack of alternative in parties like Labour and they were impressed by the Socialist Party's campaign for a new mass workers' party."

Ten members were involved in campaigning at Sheffield University. Over 100 students were interested in joining Socialist Students with 31 paying to join. They sold 111 copies of the socialist and raised a 73 for the fighting fund as well as selling 41 Student Socialist magazines.

"The BNP were a big issue at the University of East London (UEL)" Uthaya Uthayasenan told the socialist. "The students were also angry about Iraq, attacks on education and had no trust in Labour. The BNP won a councillor in Goresbrook ward in Barking and Dagenham (with 51.9% of the votes) on 16 September. This is the first time the BNP have won a councillor in London for more than 10 years.

"Time after time, students said 'it's great to see someone doing something'. Everyone blames the local success of the BNP on the complete failure of New Labour - services being cut, housing privatised, wages driven down - and many people are just desperate for an alternative.

"More than 100 students wanted to get involved in a campaign and we set up an official Socialist Students society within three days. Eight attended our first Socialist Students meeting, including four new students. We agreed to have activities against the BNP on Barking campus, seeking support from the NUS and local trade unions".

Elsewhere, 26 students signed up to Socialist Students at Leeds Metropolitan University where 20 copies of the socialist were sold.

At De Montfort University in Leicester, Lesroy Hanley and others got 15 new members for the Socialist Students society and sold 33 copies of the socialist.

At Northumbria University the first Socialist Student meeting attracted eight students. Many others were interested in getting involved and wanted details of further meetings.

MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY Socialist Students' meeting last weekend about 'what we stand for' attracted 40 people, 36 of whom were new. We had to move to another room because the one we'd booked was too small!

This is the biggest socialist meeting at the Uni for years and the biggest we've organised there for a decade at least.

This was the climax of Socialist Students activity including stalls at three freshers fairs in Manchester and Lancashire: UCLAN in Preston, Uni of Manchester, and Manchester Met. All of these stalls were by far the most successful for years.

At UCLAN nearly 30 students joined the Socialist Students society, easily enough to get the society registered.

At Manchester Met we got a great response, with one student alone buying 5 of literature. And at Manchester Uni, some 100 students joined the society, many actively seeking us out as the only serious socialist organisation.







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