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Fighting anti-cuts meeting in Scotland hears socialist alternative
Clare Daly, Socialist Party TD in the Irish parliament , photo Socialist Party Scotland
Socialist Party Scotland hosted two successful and inspiring public meetings this week on the theme of fighting the cuts and the case for socialism. More than 70 socialists, trade unionists and young people came along to our meetings in Glasgow and Dundee.
Article first published on the Socialist Party Scotland website
A majority of those attending were not yet members of the Socialist Party.
More than 50 people came to our Glasgow public meeting. An impressive platform of speakers underlined the roots that the Socialist Party is putting down in Scotland's largest city.
Jamie Cocozza, a member of the Youth Fight For Jobs campaign in Glasgow outlined the attacks on young people and the campaigning work of YFJ.
Janice Godrich, photo Paul Mattsson
Janice Godrich, the national president of the PCS union explained the militant approach PCS is taking to fighting the cuts. The union is currently balloting its members for a national strike on 30th June against attacks on pensions.
Up to 1 million trade unionists will be striking that day.
Brian Smith, leader of the Defend Glasgow Services campaign and Glasgow City Unison branch secretary, exposed effectively the reality of the SNP government's cuts agenda.
18,000 public sector jobs are going in 2011-12 in Scotland. Workers are facing pay cuts and attacks on pensions and terms and conditions.
Brian called for a campaign of coordinated strike action against the cuts. The need for political representation was also discussed with the Socialist Party supporting the idea of a coalition of anti-cuts candidates committed to opposing all cuts to stand at next year's Scottish council elections.
Clare Daly, Socialist Party TD in the Irish parliament was listened to intently as she explained the savage attacks facing the working class of Ireland.
Clare highlighted the fact that the new Fine Gael/Labour coalition government is carrying out the same brutal austerity measures as the previous discredited Fianna Fail/Green government.
The successes of the Socialist Party were underlined by the fact that the party now has double the number of seats in Dublin than the traditional capitalist party Fianna Fail.
The United Left Alliance - which the Socialist Party is part off - has four times the number of seats in Dublin than Fianna Fail has. Clare, Joe Higgins TD and the Socialist Party are using this position to build support for a mass movement against the cuts and the capitalist establishment in Ireland.
Peter Taaffe addresses Socialist Party Scotland meeting, photo Socialist Party Scotland
Peter Taaffe, the general secretary of the Socialist Party of England and Wales and a leading member of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) spoke last.
In a powerful speech Peter outlined the approach of the Socialist Party to the economic crisis that has gripped the world economy since 2008. This is not an episodic crisis but a systemic crisis of capitalism - and one in which they have no way out other than to attack remorselessly the livelihoods of the working class.
This is leading to mass revolts as has been evident in Tunisia and Egypt and across the Middle East. But also in Greece, Spain and Portugal where there have been massive mobilisations of workers and the youth.
The missing link is the lack of fighting trade union leaders and political parties that can act as a point of reference to give direction to these developing movements.
However, this can and will be built in the months and years ahead within which the Socialist Party and the CWI will play an important and in some cases a decisive role.
A lively discussion took place with contributions and questions from those attending the meeting. £360 was collected for the fighting fund and 15 people put their name down to either join or to come to more meetings of the Socialist Party Scotland.
School student David Mundt
In Dundee 21 people came along to the previous evening's meeting to hear Clare Daly, Peter Taaffe and school student David Mundt speak. David outlined the work of the Students Defending Dundee Schools campaign in Dundee that has organised a sizable campaign against cuts by the SNP council to education funding.
SDDS, in which Socialist Party members play a leading role, organised a walk-out of hundreds of school students on April 1st this year. The meeting was also attended by a number of school students who are involved in this important campaign.
In all, well over 70 people attended the two Socialist Party Scotland public meetings. Our party has grown significantly over the last months with new young people, shop stewards and trade union activists joining the Socialist Party.
The success of these meetings, and in particular the work that Socialist Party members are doing in the anti-cuts movement through the Defend Glasgow Services and Scottish Anti-Cuts Alliance, the Youth Fight For Jobs and school students campaigns and our work in unions including Unison, PCS, EIS etc means the Socialist Party is well placed to grow significantly.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 10 June 2011 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.