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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 January 2014

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".

Branch work

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.

National congress

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:

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.

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

In The Socialist 29 January 2014:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Recovery? More Tory Lies!

Brighton Green referendum offers no alternative to cuts

Landlords, the real beneficiaries of benefits street

Them and Us

International socialist news and analysis

Davos: World capitalism means increased inequality

New mineworkers' strikes in South Africa

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

We need councillors who stand up for us

Plymouth TUSC plans for 2014 elections

Stop London Underground cuts

Support the tube workers' strikes

Determined strikes can stop London Underground in its tracks

Socialist Party workplace news

University workers continue strike action over pay

Land Registry threatened with sell-off

PCS leadership elections

NUT activists meet to push for action

NSSN launched in south of England

Workplace news in brief

The Socialist readers' comments

Debate on the environment

A waste of a Friday evening

Fight all cuts!

Derbyshire: 'Old Labour' cuts hurt just as much

Carmarthenshire council rats

Spelthorne residents demand fire cuts are stopped

Leeds Labour breaks bedroom tax promise

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Bakers union launches fast food rights campaign

Socialist Party Northern region conference


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