Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/465/1798

From The Socialist newspaper, 29 November 2006

Socialism 2006

"A brilliant and inspiring experience"

SOCIALISM 2006 more than lived up to the expectations of those that attended. Almost a thousand people took part in debates and discussions over the course of the weekend. BOB SEVERN reports on the main rally, IAN SLATTERY on the closing youth rally and ALISON HILL on the How to Defend the NHS rally. All photos PAUL MATTSSON. More reports and your comments next week.

"Almost half the world lives without clean water or modern sewage systems," said Hannah Sell, introducing the Rally for Socialism. "In Zimbabwe, the average life-expectancy for women has fallen to 34 years, lower than the Bronze Age. The richest 356 people on the planet now have more wealth than the poorest 40%."

"The discussion this weekend is how we can change the world".

After a short film showing action taken against hospital cuts around Britain, Len Hockey, the Unison joint branch secretary at Whipps Cross hospital in Waltham Forest, spoke on behalf of porters, domestics and switchboard staff and their battle against privatisation and to achieve parity of their pay and conditions. Len spoke of the solidarity between the older workers on better conditions and the new workers, who had maintained almost 100% attendance on the picket line during the eight days of victorious strike action this year.

"When we are told by the Whitehouse, the Kremlin and now Beijing that socialism is history, it is even more urgent that we fight for it!" said Chris Baugh, assistant general secretary of civil service union PCS. "The obituary of trade unionism has been written and rewritten since the industrial revolution but with globalisation unions are more important than ever."

The PCS, which is prepared to take strike action against cuts, privatisation and low pay, are encouraging young workers to join the union and fight. Unfortunately, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, was unable to attend due to a family emergency. However, he sent his greetings to the rally.

Solidarity

Introducing Solidarity MSP Tommy Sheridan, the rally saw news footage of a young Tommy holding a street meeting during the anti-poll tax struggle in Glasgow. His Labour Party branch was suspended for recruiting too many working-class people!

The next clip showed Tommy speaking after he won his libel case against the News of the World. Unfortunately, some socialists and former comrades - the current leaders of the Scottish Socialist Party - had supported the wrong side, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation empire.

On the new party Solidarity, Tommy said: "All over Scotland, we are rebuilding the Scottish Socialist Movement, based on sticking together - socialist ideas are back on the agenda. Tommy urged people to join the socialists: "Fight for socialism locally, but think globally - replace the billionaires' values of hate, war and poverty, with socialist values of love, peace and humanity".

Salonika university student and Xekinima (CWI Greece) member Anna Kleitsa reported on the biggest movement in Greece since the military dictatorship ended in 1974, against the government's moves to privatise higher education. University occupations began in May and by June 460 of the 485 university schools in Salonika were under student control.

From September, school teachers went on strike for six weeks, then pupils occupied one-third of the schools in Greece. However, "because trade union and 'left' party leaders didn't want to fight, the opposition lost" said Anna. "What we need is real democratic structures, based among workers and youth, that won't sell out and will win!"

"This year British business announced record profits, thanks to low pay and privatisation," said Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, speaking for International Socialist Resistance (ISR). "The wages of 368,000 Tesco workers have been cut by 8.8% while the supermarkets' profits are up by 12%."

France and Greece are not so different to Britain, said Sarah, young people here are angry too! Both ISR and Socialist Students are linking up with young people to fight against low pay, for free education and a socialist alternative to the big business parties.

Germany

"The PDS (formerly the East German Communist Party) talk socialism on Sunday but carry out cuts on Monday", said Lucy Redler, SAV (CWI Germany) and WASG (the new Left party) national committee member. In September, the PDS lost half their votes in Berlin but continue their coalition, and policy of privatisation and cuts, with the SPD (Social Democratic Party). Ex-finance minister Oscar Lafontaine joining the WASG made it well known, but working with the PDS has stopped the party from growing.

As a result, WASG Berlin, led by Lucy and other SAV members, stood separately in the November elections. If merger with the PDS goes ahead based on carrying out cuts and privatisation, Lucy said this would end the first chapter in building a new workers' party. But thanks to the WASG Berlin, the next chapter will not start on page one!

Historic task`

"How is it possible to fight the juggernaut of capitalism?" asked Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary. "It is a lie that working-class people aren't prepared to struggle, as shown by the millions taking action in France, Chile and Greece. There has been a mid-term electoral uprising by American people, but no overthrow of Bush thanks to the cowardly Democrats.

"Saddam is on trial, but sharing the dock should be Bush and Blair. Iraq has cost one and a half times the spending on Vietnam. If this money went to everyone who lives on $1 a day, they would have $2,000 each."

Peter pointed out that only 12 Labour MPs voted for an enquiry into the war: "No time should be lost in breaking union funding of New Labour." The working class needs to raise its own voice, which is why the Socialist Party helped launch the Campaign for a New Workers' Party. If there is no left alternative given, as shown in Germany, more disillusioned workers will turn to racist far-right parties.

"Five hundred firms control the majority of resources on this planet. Even capitalists are worried about environmental damage, but their reaction is like the late Victorian sewage crisis, only taking action to protect their own wealth, as shown by the Stern report. The bosses organisation the CBI said that they're in favour of saving the environment, as long as there are no tax increases - we can't trust profiteers to save the earth! For China to get to the living standards of the USA, we'd need four times the world's current resources, only a worldwide democratic socialist plan could safely achieve this."

Peter said it is the historic task of the working class to achieve socialism. In Venezuela, left president Hugo Chávez no longer speaks of humane capitalism but of socialism in the 21st century. "This change didn't just happen in the head of Hugo Chávez, but from the pressure of the Venezuelan masses.

"In the future, in a socialist world, there'll be a museum with effigies of Blair, Bush, Saddam Hussein, of unemployment and poverty. This is the historic task for the Socialist Party in England and Wales, and the CWI around the world."

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


In The Socialist 29 November 2006:

Ripping the heart out of the NHS


Socialism 2006

Socialism 2006: "A brilliant and inspiring experience"

A world in struggle

Youth rally: Socialist ideas are the future

Closing rally: How to defend the NHS

Socialism 2006 - an unmissable event!

Finance appeal - £30,873.44!


Workplace news and analysis

Vote 'yes' for national strike action

Fighting and striking, on all fronts

Glasgow council workers prepare to strike


Socialist Party news and analysis

Socialists fight Labour's attacks

Costs soar while communities ignored

Bosses' tax moans threaten cuts

Top cops say: "Protest but don't offend anyone"


International socialist news and analysis

Gemayel killing fuels political tensions

Gaza: How long will the ceasefire last?

Hundreds of thousands gather to inaugurate Lopez Obrador

Sri Lanka protest

Australia - Big increase in votes for Socialist Party in Richmond

Dutch Socialist Party makes sensational election gains


Socialist Party review

Leon Trotsky's Transitional Programme


 

Home   |   The Socialist 29 November 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Socialism:

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

triangleSocialism 2018

triangleSocialism 2017 Socialist Students meet-up

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Socialism in the USA

Privatisation:

triangleSouth London health bosses' cover-up

triangleBrexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

triangleSave our NHS

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

16/12/17

Haringey

Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

16/12/17

North West

Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

14/12/17

Waltham Forest

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

13/12/17

London

Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

13/12/17

Fracking

Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

13/12/17

Devon

Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

13/12/17

Miners

Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated

13/12/17

Bradford

Bradford campaign to save children's services launched

13/12/17

South London

South London health bosses' cover-up

13/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite day of action against blacklisting

13/12/17

Brighton

Brighton victory

13/12/17

Newham

Newham anti-academies strikes

13/12/17

Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting

12/12/17

Woolwich

Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle16 Dec Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

triangle16 Dec Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

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