Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/796/18060
Socialist Party Northern region conference
Robert Hooper, Newcastle Socialist Party
As we waited for our room for the Socialist Party Northern region conference to be opened, we attempted to assure members that this cold and sleety weather was unusual for Gateshead.
Our spirits lifted as carloads arrived from Tyneside, Washington, Cumbria and Teesside - also at last the doors were opened!
Throughout the day it was extremely useful having both formal and informal discussions.
Ken Douglas, Socialist Party national treasurer, spoke on British perspectives, and Elaine Brunskill, our regional secretary, spoke on party building.
The discussion on British perspectives was invaluable, giving us the opportunity to debate how class struggle was likely to develop.
Ken highlighted the recent Oxfam report, which showed the world's richest 85 individuals, who could fit onto a double-decker bus, have as much money as the 3.5 billion poorest people on the planet - half the Earth's population.
Comrades recognised the "burning hatred" of capitalist politicians. We also discussed the possibility of Ukip being the benefactor of protest votes in the forthcoming Euro elections.
However, as one person predicted: "2014 may be the year of Ukip - but it will just be one year!" Already Ukip are being held to account for their 2010 manifesto - which Farrage has been compelled to admit was "drivel".
Our region is geographically spread out and the organisational session gave us the opportunity to hear about the work accross the branches.
Each branch was able to demonstrate its strengths and we pooled ideas on how to build the party this year.
Our conference also gave us the chance to meet up with comrades who are active in trade unions, but can't always get along to their branch.
These comrades are well-known and respected as Socialist Party members in their workplaces.
We had a full discussion on the 2014 local election campaign, and aim to be part of the push for 625 TUSC candidates nationally.
Our regional conference has given us all a renewed focus, and we are all determined to go forward and build.
It should also be noted that despite the cold we did eventually warm up, thanks to some tasty soup made by a delegate.
A fighting fund appeal raised £150, with money also raised thanks to our catering and cake baking comrades.
The Socialist Party's 2014 national congress will take place on 8-10 March. Congress is the main decision-making body of the Socialist Party.
Every branch should plan discussions on the congress documents and set aside time to elect the delegates.
The timetable for Congress preparation is as follows:
- The document on British Perspectives has been sent out this week
- 3 February - branches to receive EC statement on party building
- 21 February - deadline for branch resolutions, booking crèche places, getting delegates names and £10 deposits to the national centre
- 28 February - deadline for branch amendments and visitors' names
Each branch is entitled to one delegate per five members up until ten members, then one per ten, or greater part thereof, up until a maximum of five delegates per branch.
Delegates fees are £45 (plus pooled fare and accommodation), and visitors fees are £15 a day.
We appeal to all Socialist Party members and readers of the Socialist to help support attendance costs, as well as support the Congress fighting fund collection. Contact your local Socialist Party branch organisers or phone 020 8988 8777.
In The Socialist 29 January 2014:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Stop London Underground cuts
Socialist Party workplace news
The Socialist readers' comments
Fight all cuts!
Socialist Party reports and campaigns