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Enthusiasm for socialism at freshers fairs
At Leeds University, we signed up 81 students, gave out 500 leaflets and sold ten copies of Socialist Students' magazine Megaphone on just our first day! Socialist Students in Leeds had one of our best ever freshers interventions this year. 68 people attended our first event of the year, a film showing of Pride. Ray Goodspeed, one of the founding members of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) spoke at the very successful event. There's new enthusiasm for socialist ideas among students and young people following the Labour leadership election victory of Jeremy Corbyn. Many students who joined our society said they were doing so because Socialist Students stood head and shoulders above the other groups on campus. We've campaigned against the student loan privatisation, run campaigns against sexism and won the women's rep position in Leeds Beckett Student Union. Now we're leading the Leeds For Free Education campaign, which is organising a demonstration on 24 October.
Socialist Students made an appeal to Cardiff freshers to join the campaign to end the refugee crisis. Even the dazzling opportunities of freshers week couldn't distract students from demonstrating their solidarity. The society set up campaign stalls both inside and outside societies' fairs and called on every student who walked past to sign the petition to defend the right to asylum. The generosity and solidarity that we tapped into shames the capitalist governments of Europe who have done everything in their power to block refugees from getting the help they need. £100 was contributed over the course of two days, helping to pay for material to get the word out and other campaign expenses. The outpouring of sympathy has very clear, concrete aims - to fight to get the needs of desperate people what they need. But it also has another meaning: it is a protest against a system that puts profits before the satisfaction of the basic needs of ordinary people.
Swansea Socialist Students kicked off the year with a successful stall at the student union's freshers fair, the best for years. We spent two full days distributing over 750 leaflets, selling 46 copies of the Socialist, and signing up almost 90 students. This was followed by a well-attended meeting where we planned our first protest.
Four members of the Socialist Party attended Sunderland University freshers fair. There was an enthusiastic interest in discussing the ideas of socialism as shown by the 62 who signed up to Socialist Students. Also, 26 copies of the Socialist were sold and many expressed an interest in joining the Socialist Party. We spoke to a Colombian student who signed our petition against tuition fees and couldn't believe that a "rich country like Britain" charges its citizens for education, whereas in her "poor" home country she had completed two university degrees free of charge.
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