Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/767/16793
Building the Socialist Party
'Brilliant' South West conference sees record turnout
Robin Clapp, South West Socialist Party secretary
"It was amazing to learn from some brilliant and thinking people yesterday. It was inspiring. Capitalism must end and I'd like to learn a lot more about how I can go about bringing about that change."
That was the verdict from Chris, one of three young people who joined the Socialist Party (SP) at the end of the largest South West regional conference for a number of years.
Delegates and visitors from 19 different towns and cities heard SP deputy secretary Hannah Sell deliver a thorough analysis of the volatile situation unfolding in Britain and Europe.
Over 20 members followed this up with contributions that dealt with attacks in the workplaces, organising the fightback, a programme for opposing the far right, and lessons from struggles in Greece and Spain.
Workshops on challenging women's oppression, youth and workplace campaigning followed. Each resulted in practical initiatives - a regional women's meeting in July, Sick of Your Boss campaign plans, and an Exeter trade union meeting in September.
I introduced the closing session that looked at the progress made in the last twelve months. With a 50% increase in the rate of new members joining, every area has new campaigners eager to help build the socialist fightback.
It was agreed to build a SP branch in Somerset, starting with a Saturday 'super stall' in June. At a similar campaign stall in Poole, members sold 82 papers in four hours, raised £46 in fighting fund, with two people joining since as a result - who are now out campaigning on Saturdays themselves!
The conference mood of optimism was expressed concretely by a magnificent fighting fund collection of £1,125.
The last word must go to Matt Stabb from Trowbridge, who is new to our ranks but a veteran in the struggles of disabled workers: "Cheers for a brilliant South West congress yesterday! Thank you for making me so welcome! It was so good to meet other members and feel part of the good work that is going on."
In The Socialist 29 May 2013:
Scrap the Bedroom tax
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
International socialist news and analysis