Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/462/1705

From The Socialist newspaper, 9 November 2006

Solidarity - Scotland's socialist movement

Conference agrees to build a socialist party

TWO HUNDRED and fifty members of Solidarity - Scotland's Socialist Movement attended the first national conference of the new party on Saturday. Philip Stott from International Socialists (CWI Scotland) reports.

SOLIDARITY - SSM was launched at the beginning of September by Tommy Sheridan, Rosemary Byrne and hundreds of socialists who had broken with the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) in disgust at the actions of the SSP leadership who sided with the News of the World against Tommy Sheridan in his defamation case during the summer. The International Socialists (the Scottish section of the CWI) were founding members of Solidarity - SSM.

During October more than 1,000 people attended ten Solidarity public meetings across Scotland, the largest in Dundee where 250 came to hear Tommy Sheridan speak.

This enthusiastic response to the idea of building a principled socialist movement has shown the potential to build Solidarity in the months ahead in the run-up to the Scottish parliament elections in May.

Saturday's conference was called primarily to agree a constitution and finalise the name of the new party. However, it was clear in the run-up to conference that there would be a very important debate on the character and type of organisation that Solidarity should be.

The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) used the conference to strongly argue against Solidarity being a socialist party. Instead they advocated that Solidarity should be a "movement of the movements", a home for those fighting Islamophobia, the anti-war movement and those opposing climate change.

During the debate on the name of the party one SWP member said: "Socialism should not be in the name if we remove it people will join us". The SWP supported a vote for the name to be Solidarity, dropping the reference to Scotland's Socialist Movement.

One SWP speaker after another emphasised that if Solidarity was socialist it would put people off joining. They argued that Islamophobia was the main political issue in society today and Solidarity has to prioritise winning more Muslims into its ranks.

It is correct to oppose racism and division and to appeal to Muslims to join Solidarity - SSM, but this can be done most effectively by explaining the link between the attacks on Muslim's by the political establishment and New Labour's anti-working class and pro-capitalist polices.

They counterposed, falsely, that a socialist party would inevitably be narrow and isolated, whereas a movement that was "broad" and concentrated on Islamophobia and the war would be far more appealing. They called essentially for an electoral coalition rather than a campaigning socialist party.

Thriving party

THE SWP's position found no support outside their own ranks. Speaker after speaker in opposing the SWP's ideas defended the importance of building a socialist party. Members of the International Socialists spoke in this debate.

Ronnie Stevenson, who is a UNISON convenor for 4,000 workers in Glasgow City Council explained that he personally knew of local government workers who would only join Solidarity if it was a socialist party. It is precisely by explaining ideas in the language of the working class, reflecting their concerns and linking that to the need for socialism as a solution that a thriving party can be built.

The contradictions in the SWP's position were also highlighted. Many SWP members said that "I'm a socialist but...." As one CWI member pointed out if it is good enough for the SWP members to have drawn socialist conclusions then why should the working class not have the same opportunity.

The SWP's prescription for how Solidarity should develop would inevitably leave it as an isolated and largely irrelevant force as far as the majority of the working class is concerned. On the other hand if Solidarity - SSM turns to the working class as a whole taking up the issues of immediate concern like the NHS, low pay, housing, unemployment, workers' rights as well as anti-war and anti-racist campaigning it can build into a significant force.

It is this strategy of fighting on the day-to-day issues facing the working class and linking that to the need for socialism that the International Socialists supports. It was clear that the majority of the Solidarity membership also want to build a socialist party.

The conference voted for the name Solidarity - Scotland's Socialist Movement and agreed to adopt an interim constitution, with a national policy conference in February 2007.

Tommy Sheridan made a very effective speech to open the conference, which made clear his views that Solidarity was the "Scottish wing of the international socialist movement." International Socialists members Brian Smith (Glasgow UNISON secretary for social work) and Alan Manley (nurse and UNISON steward) spoke from the platform in the opening session on the trade unions and the NHS.

The urgent tasks facing Solidarity - SSM is to rapidly establish campaigning socialist branches in every area and build its forces in preparation for the elections next year. 50 copies of the International Socialist were sold at the conference with many Solidarity members thanking International Socialists members for their contributions to the debate.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 9 November 2006:

NHS: stop this market madness

Doctor attacks Labour-backing Prentis

Health minister's 'scary' performance

The public-sector fat cats

Out of the horse's mouth


Socialist Students

Students can defeat fees

Campaign to defeat top-up fees

Build a real alternative to BNP


War and terrorism

Hanging Saddam won't end crisis in Iraq


International socialist news and analysis

Solidarity - Scotland's socialist movement

Reactionary Jewish and Arab groups in homophobic campaign


Education

National action needed against performance pay

Devon teachers get organised

Education protests


Marxist analysis: history

When British imperialism hit the rocks


 

Home   |   The Socialist 9 November 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Scotland:

triangleWhat does the left victory in Scottish Labour mean?

triangleScotland: BiFab workers' occupation and march secures jobs and pay guarantee

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Catalonia, Scotland and Wales

triangleSE London Socialist Students & Socialist Party: Catalonia & Scotland

triangleWhere is Scotland going?

Solidarity:

triangleManchester Socialist Party: Solidarity meeting - hear from Manchester strikers

triangleNSSN meeting brings together workers in struggle

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleCampaign against political repression in Hong Kong

CWI:

triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: The work of CWI members around the world

triangleZimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power

triangleSweden: 'Revolution2017' success

Tommy Sheridan:

triangleCoulson case collapses amid stench of hypocrisy

triangleA parting of the ways with Solidarity

International

International

6/12/17

US

Trump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

6/12/17

Ireland

Irish capitalist state: rotten to the core

6/12/17

Women

Fighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle

22/11/17

US

Trump's tax attacks

22/11/17

Australia

Australia: massive yes vote for marriage equality

21/11/17

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power

15/11/17

Minneapolis

USA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

10/11/17

Minneapolis

US: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

8/11/17

Sweden

Sweden: 'Revolution2017' success

8/11/17

Spain

Spain: Madrid rally celebrates October revolution

8/11/17

Minneapolis

US: Minneapolis Socialist chimes with voters

8/11/17

Ireland

Ireland: rail workers demand share of 'recovery'

8/11/17

Ireland

Ireland: dangerous ideas for the ruling class

31/10/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Rajoy's furious response to proclamation of Republic

25/10/17

Kurdistan

Kurdish referendum declared illegal

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2