Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/751/16092
Socialist Party regional conferences
Building the fightback
East Midlands Socialist Party (SP) held a successful and inspirational regional conference on Sunday 3 February.
We started with a video of campaigns and events we have been involved in during 2012, from picket lines and demonstrations to campaign stalls and public meetings.
Hannah Sell, SP deputy general secretary, introduced 'worldwide austerity and workers fight back'.
We heard about the tragic consequences of austerity on the working class but also about the determination to struggle to stop these attacks.
Particularly inspirational was hearing about the launch of the new mass workers' party in South Africa.
This was linked to building the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in Britain and our demand for a 24-hour general strike, as well as the increase in new international members in the East Midlands.
We held workshops on work in the trade unions, among young people, among women and building SP branches.
A report from regional secretary Steve Score reflected on the campaigns we've been involved in and we discussed plans to develop branches in new areas over the next year.
Karen Seymour, regional fighting fund organiser, gave an excellent fighting fund appeal which raised £180.
Members left the conference feeling our 'batteries had been recharged' and well prepared to take part in and lead bigger movements against austerity this year.
Around 50 people attended this year's Yorkshire Socialist Party regional conference, held in Leeds on 2-3 February.
A trade unionist involved in the Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust strike introduced a report from that dispute.
This inspirational struggle against pay cuts shows how workers are prepared to fight back against austerity.
In the session on Britain, London SP secretary Paula Mitchell highlighted the SP's role in leading struggles against the cuts and offering a clear alternative to working class people.
Yorkshire organiser Iain Dalton outlined the key priorities of youth work, SP branch development and trade union work.
Workshops on each of these themes examined how the party can build across the region through political education and branch activity.
The second day of the conference was introduced by Judy Beishon, CWI International Secretariat. Judy highlighted global turmoil and instability arising out of the crisis of capitalism, but also the potential for building mass revolutionary parties, as was demonstrated in South Africa. We held workshops on Greece, Israel/Palestine and South Africa.
The fighting fund appeal raised an excellent £607.
Michael Docherty, Harrogate Socialist Party
On 27 January, SP members from across the southern region met up for a conference in Southampton.
CWI International Secretariat member Clare Doyle spoke on world perspectives with encouraging reports on South Africa and China, among many other important developments taking place in the international arena.
There were three well-attended commissions: youth and student work, trade unions, and women and socialism.
In the commission I attended, trade union work, there was strong emphasis on supporting the National Shop Stewards Network.
Unite's 'community' membership was discussed and it was generally agreed that if it was linked to a programme in defeating the government cuts, it could be valuable in uniting the unemployed and the disabled into the struggle.
James Bibey, Bracknell Socialist Party
Pete Dickenson introduced a discussion on his book, Planning for the Planet - How Socialism Could Save the Environment, at the Brick Lane bookshop in Tower Hamlets, London, on 31 January.
Another talk will be held at the Housman's bookshop in Kings Cross on 27 March. Contact 020 8988 8777 for more details and to book your place, or to get your copy of the book.
Order your copy now to get a special offer of £7 including postage and packaging. See www.socialistbooks.org.uk
In The Socialist 6 February 2013:
Socialist Party NHS campaigning
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party reviews and comments
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis