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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 September 2008

Fighting start to: freshers fairs

Thousands of young people across the country are hoping to expand their horizons by starting courses at colleges and universities this term. But the economic recession and the onslaught from the New Labour government and big business on the right to a decent education means many will struggle.

Matt Dobson, Socialist Students national organiser

Students face the prospect of mountains of debt, increasing university fees, rising costs of the basic essentials for living, and their courses and services attacked by cuts, closures and privatisation.

This year's college students are already suffering. Over 150,000 students have been left with no Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) because the private company to whom the government gave 80 million to sort out applications has had 'technical difficulties'. Their excuses aren't good enough! Many students who are struggling financially will have to drop out without this money.

Questions posed

This year's push.co.uk (university guide website) survey points out that debts could increase by 4,000 a year for those starting university in September. This year the government reviews the present cap of 3,000 a year on university fees. University vice chancellors are urging for the cap to be lifted. Universities like Manchester and Southampton are already budgeting for an increase to 6,000 a year!

Many students will be angry that the government and big business are wrecking education and the politicians offer no way out of the coming economic crisis. They will be asking questions about the way society is run; Why is the gap between rich and poor ever widening? Why is very little done by those in power about climate change? What causes horrific brutal wars like the recent conflict in the Caucasus? And what can we do to fight back against fees, war, racism and environmental destruction?

Socialist Students leads the way in active campaigning among students and raising socialist ideas on campus. As well as campaigning for improvements in students' and others' conditions, we point out that it is the capitalist system that creates war, privatisation, and poverty. We fight for a socialist society, based on the democratic running of society to meet the needs of the whole of the world's population.

Socialist Students activists are preparing for the new term and will be building societies and groups at the freshers fairs in universities and colleges across the country. As well as stalls at freshers fairs and on campuses, we will leaflet halls of residences, bars and poster around student areas.

Across England and Wales, Socialist Students groups are planning a series of political meetings on topics such as 'What is Socialism?' 'Crash - crisis in the world economy', 'The life of Che Guevara' and 'Combating racism and the BNP'.

Socialist Students will also continue to build the Campaign to Defeat Fees (CDF) and fight for a mass campaign against attacks on education. There have been three CDF national days of action and over 5,000 students have signed its petition for mass action. Socialist Students are planning a Campaign to Defeat Fees national day of action on 16 October which will see actions and protests across the country.

We are campaigning for local student unions to organise local anti-fees demonstrations on the NUS 'Students in the Red' day of action on 5 November. We call on the NUS leadership to organise a national demonstration against the government's attacks on education this year.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 10 September 2008:

Housing Crisis: Brown has no answers


War and occupation

End the wars and occupations

USA: Defying police, students walk out against the Republican national convention


Socialist Party editorial

US mortgage bank nationalisation - sign of deepening crisis


Scotland

Scotland council tax to be scrapped

Scotland: Council pay battle at critical stage


Socialist Party workplace news

Workers' anger surfaces at TUC

London bus workers inspired by strike

Fighting for decent pensions

In brief


Socialism 2008

Come to Socialism 2008!


Socialist Party campaigns

May Day detainees fight for justice

No to post office closures

Boom to bust in Cardiff Bay

Fans pay for the success of the 'beautiful game'

Protest against harassment!


Socialist Students

Fighting start to freshers fairs

Young workers ripped off

Bangor University students union fees referendum


Environment and socialism

Can we have 'the right to travel' - without adding to climate change?


Socialist Party review

Richard Dawkins: The genius of Charles Darwin, (Channel 4)


International socialist news and analysis

Thailand in grip of political deadlock


 

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Related links:

Students:

trianglePay full fees for virtual courses? - No way!

triangleCoronavirus: Students' charter

triangleCoronavirus - a students' charter

trianglePlymouth students discuss rent strike

triangleSocialist Students speaking tour

Freshers fairs:

triangleFreshers fairs 2019: Impatience for change and determination to fight

triangleEnthusiasm for Socialist ideas at the freshers fairs

triangleFreshers fairs: socialist ideas chime with students

triangleWinning a new generation of students

Socialist:

triangleLondon Socialist Party: Workers' safety before bosses' profits

triangleSE Birmingham Socialist Party: Role of the community and voluntary sector

triangleSE Birmingham Socialist Party: Was the Coronavirus pandemic inevitable?

Fees:

triangleNorth London Socialist Party: How can Corbyn's policies be implemented?

triangleStudents and workers unite against fees, low pay climate change

Socialist Students:

triangleTory student plot defeated at Cardiff uni

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