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Stall at Leeds Uni Freshers Fayre

Several comrades from Leeds Socialist Party spent most of last week on the Leeds University campus, inviting students new to Leeds to join the Socialist Students society on campus.  In general a good response was seen, with over 20 fully paid members so far, and well over a hundred people asking to go on our mailing list.

Matt Booth, Leeds University Socialist Students

Friday 14th September was the first fresher’s event, the International Students Fair. We campaigned over the situation of their counterparts at London Met University, who face potential deportation in the coming months, despite being systematically treated as cash cows in the past, as a result of the inability of the current government to get a grasp on their own racist, anti-immigration laws.

The next four days of fresher’s fairs were especially rewarding and encouraging, both in terms of the number of people joining up to the society and the quality of those that attended the various meetings. The joint lead-off on Tuesday night by comrades Lizi Gray and Paul Callanan, ‘What is Socialism?’, gave an excellent introduction to socialism for a room of about 16 people.

Lizi Gray speaking at the ‘What is Socialism?’ meeting

Monday through Thursday saw the continuation of a steady sign-up rate of about 5-10 students per day. Despite the feelings of many that 9k fees were unreversable, given the failure of last years student movement, there was no shortage of students coming up to the stall and chatting to us though, about a range of issues besides just the rise in tuition fees. The enthusiasm and interest shown by many of the students we spoke to throughout the week was summed up by the level of discussion at the Thursday meeting. A ‘skype’ call to US comrade Brandon Mason went very smoothly, an excellent lead-off by Brandon, about the upcoming US elections and the Occupy movement was followed by many questions from comrades and new students alike, with several students again staying for further discussions in the union bar.

Skype meeting with Brandon from Socialist Alternative in the USA

Of course there is much work still to do to build on this initial progress. There are still thousands of students who may not have seen us during fresher’s week, for that reason it is vital that we maintain a presence on campus throughout the year, preferably by holding a stall every week. Apart from attracting yet more students, we also need to keep engaged those who have already shown interest, by organizing stimulating meetings, campaigning on relevant issues and promoting national events such as the demonstrations on October 20th (called by the TUC) and November 21st (called by NUS).