The Socialist 7 October 2020 |
Join the Socialist
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£9,000 for education by Netflix
Now is the time to join Socialist Students
Birmingham Socialist Students street meeting (Click to enlarge)
After two days of leafleting on a path towards a local supermarket, Warwick Socialist Students lead a successful introductory open-air meeting. We discussed the attacks on students from profiteering landlords and university management, and the Tories who blame students and young workers for the failings of the profiteering capitalist class.
Attendees understood young people are being used for profit, with their physical and mental wellbeing fallen by the wayside due to poor funding for mental health services and little test-and-trace facilities.
We asked, 'who would fight for students?' Some wanted to give Labour leader Keir Starmer the benefit of the doubt. But another fresher said: "He only seems to get worse."
We will meet next week to discuss 'What is Marxism' and hope to start a series of campaigns to fight for students. Fees and rent refunds will be key demands.
But we also want better funding for mental health, better access to academic resources and study spaces - an issue which affects working-class students most - and no cuts to university workers' wages or teaching time for students.
As was stated at the meeting, university management and landlords have organised to get our money, we need to organise to fight back.
Over 100 students gave their contact details to find out more from Socialist Students in Cardiff over four days of campaign stalls. Students who had never taken an interest in campaigning before, signed up to fight for a refund of rent and tuition fees.
"We're getting mainly recorded lessons by our lecturers. I could have watched them at home, instead of shelling out for a crap room in a tower block and another £9,000 for education by Netflix", quipped one student.
We shot out emails, texts and phone calls to build for the all-Wales joint Socialist Students and Socialist Party online meeting on 1 October. 50 members and students gathered to hear Socialist Students national organiser Theo Sharieff on how youth can fight back.
By the morning, we'd already had an application to join the Socialist Party come through the website - a good start to the term.
Cardiff Socialist Students got its teeth into building for a protest to scrap fees on 4 October.
University of Birmingham Socialist Students organised our second street meeting on 30 September. The determination and interest of students overcame the challenge of organising safe, outdoor meetings during Covid.
This week's street meeting was 'What is socialism?' We also discussed the worry and anger of many students, who are disappointed at the mismanagement of campus return, and the carelessness and cynicism of government and bosses in planning it.
This was not a theoretical discussion, but practical. For young students today, an alternative to capitalism is not merely a fancy thought experiment, but rather a sharp necessity.
Socialist Students has met first-year students who instinctually want a political alternative to austerity and cuts, and are willing to organise to make that a reality.
Socialist Students was at both uni campuses in Leicester, campaigning for free education and signing up people. The mood was dominated by anger at tuition fees and a desire to fight.
Working-class students talked to us about the problems of being cooped up in halls with little face-to-face time. Several people are interested in finding out more about the Socialist Party, and even more want to get involved in Socialist Students and our campaign against tuition fees.
While the campuses were quieter - freshers was mainly online - we had longer conversations with students who have grown up with austerity, now being blamed for Covid spreading.
At Middlesex University, Students were angry. Many told Socialist Students they felt like unis were opened to make high rents.
We need to build unity between students and staff. University management, vice-chancellors, landlords and the Tories can't be trusted with our health and education.