Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/925/23954

From The Socialist newspaper, 16 November 2016

Socialism 2016 Sunday closing rally, photo by Judy Beishon

Socialism 2016 Sunday closing rally, photo by Judy Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

Socialism 2016: Electrifying and powerful weekend puts socialism on the agenda

Socialism 2016

Short video of Socialism 2016

Struggle, internationalism and socialism, these ideas - and how powerful they can be in action - electrified the magnificent rallies and workshops of the Socialism 2016 weekend.

Around 1,000 working class fighters, socialists and people who are socialist-curious, trade union militants and students participated. All the central questions of how we build a wall of resistance against Trump, austerity and capitalism were addressed.

New attenders were blown away by the energy and seriousness of the Socialist Party. Experienced members drew confidence from the new ranks filling out the party.

The £26,313 that was raised in the rally fighting fund appeal, the £2,000 literature sales and £1,000 raised by sales of artwork by Alan Hardman is an indicator of how inspired those who attended are to take up the challenges to fight for socialist change.

Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialism 2016 organiser

Saturday night rally: 'The centre cannot hold'

Socialism 2016, Saturday rally,  photos Paul Mattsson

Click for gallery. Socialism 2016, Saturday rally, photos Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)



James Ivens, Lambeth & south west London Socialist Party

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold" - WB Yeats during an earlier revolutionary time. Claire Laker-Mansfield, Socialist Party national youth and student organiser, chose these words to open 2016's exceptional Rally for Socialism.

Socialism 2016 Saturday Rally

The Saturday Rally for Socialism in full

Stood in front of a giant's fist in five colours, stamped with the words 'Resist Trump', Claire explained: "Trump's rise is a symptom of the profound failure of the capitalist system."

"There are those who argue the left should enter a period of political mourning and despair. Here, we say: don't mourn. Organise."

Darletta Scruggs of Socialist Alternative, the Socialist Party's co-thinkers in the United States, reported huge openness to our ideas. They have already led mass protests.

"In the US, for decades, the word 'socialism' has been used as a taboo word, it has been stigmatised. But for a socialist organisation of 900 members to make a call and mobilise 40,000 people shows the correctness of socialist ideas."

"Within 27 hours we had 400 online applicants signing up to join our organisation."

Peter Taaffe at Socialism 2016, photo Paul Mattsson

Peter Taaffe at Socialism 2016, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Trump v Sanders

Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe asked "why is it that a misogynist, a racist bigot, a representative of big business par excellence, was allowed to come to power? The simple answer is that his opponent Hillary Clinton stood for more of the same."

"I like to say Obama swag-surfed neoliberalism for eight years," said Darletta.

Peter noted the overwhelming majority of "the real working class and youth were behind Bernie Sanders." And Sanders' failure has an urgent warning for us. "Don't compromise with the right."

The Socialist Party wants to play a full part in fighting to claim Labour for the working class. But if Labour does not readmit us, "that's not a tragedy."

When 18 million people refused to pay Thatcher's hated poll tax, bringing down the policy and ending her career, who organised them? "It wasn't the Labour leaders. It wasn't the general council of the TUC. It was Militant," the forerunner of the Socialist Party.

And there have been important victories recently too.

Juan Ignacio Ramos at Socialism 2016, photo by Paul Mattsson

Juan Ignacio Ramos at Socialism 2016, photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Two million school students struck in Spain in October against attacks on education, led by militant socialists in Izquierda Revolucionaria. In two months, they have recruited over 3,000 more students to the student union they play a leading role in.

Juan Ignacio Ramos, Izquierda Revolucionaria general secretary, reported: "We have built active groups of the student union in more than 500 secondary schools, in more than 90 universities."

Izquierda Revolucionaria was once part of the Committee for a Workers' International, along with the Socialist Party. "24 years ago, our paths separated in a painful split."

Hoarse at times with passion, and waving his fist defiantly, Juan declared: "Now we are retying the knot of the common history which unites our organisations!"

A thundering cheer burst out as we took to our feet. There was uproarious applause and chanting of "°El pueblo, unido, jamŠs serŠ vencido!"

Victorious Butterfields tenants at Socialism 2016 - Anna Palumbo speaking, photo Paul Mattsson

Victorious Butterfields tenants at Socialism 2016 - Anna Palumbo speaking, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Residents of the Butterfields estate in east London saved their homes. Anna Palumbo was one of them. "I'm here tonight to testify that if you fight, you have a chance to win."

"We faced intimidation and bullying. But we decided to fight. We decided not to budge."

"Our amazing Linda and Nancy Taaffe - with other amazing members of the Socialist Party - organised us, led our marches, raised our voices to the media. They wiped out our tears when we lost our hope."

"And we won." Another ringing standing ovation.

Chris Baugh, PCS assistant general secretary, speaking at Socialism 2016, photo Paul Mattsson

Chris Baugh, PCS assistant general secretary, speaking at Socialism 2016, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Public sector union PCS defeated a mortal threat this year. Chris Baugh, PCS assistant general secretary and Socialist Party member, read from an HM Revenue and Customs management document.

Instead of taking on tax dodgers, it proposed "to achieve the complete degradation of PCS's organising capability." The government tried to choke the union by stopping members paying dues directly from their wages.

In response, the PCS re-recruited 152,000 of the 160,000 members the government had de facto removed from the union. They beat the Tories!

RMT president Sean Hoyle speaking at Socialism 2016, photo Paul Mattsson

RMT president Sean Hoyle speaking at Socialism 2016, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Sean Hoyle, president of militant transport union RMT, is still fighting a vital battle. Rail bosses "want to scrap safety-critical guards to 'save' £20 billion - wrong phrase - to collect £20 billion to hand to privateers."

Opportunity

Socialist Party executive committee member Judy Beishon reported that pharmaceutical company "GlaxoSmithKline made £1 billion from the collapse of sterling. And what did they do? They immediately announced massive dividends. They give to their class. Tonight, you have the opportunity to give to yours."

Judy Beishon making the financial appeal at Socialism 2016, photo Paul Mattsson

Judy Beishon making the financial appeal at Socialism 2016, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

This financial appeal raised tens of thousands. The Butterfields tenants gave £100.

Sean said: "Rule number one in our 'Bible' [RMT rule book] is that we must 'strive to replace the capitalist system with a socialist order'." He vowed that under his presidency, "that wonít just be empty words."

"It has never been more necessary to spread the ideas of socialism," said Peter. "We are the party who will go to the end."

Darletta concluded: "Let's build a society our children can be proud of. We have the opportunity to win. And I say: let's get free, family!"


Organising the resistance

Paul Murphy, Anti Austerity Alliance TD, speaking at Socialism 2016, photo by Dave Gorton

Paul Murphy, Anti Austerity Alliance TD, speaking at Socialism 2016, photo by Dave Gorton   (Click to enlarge)

Scott Jones, East London Socialist Party

"Politics has been turned upside down." Irish TD (MP) Paul Murphy, in the midst of fighting outrageous charges of false imprisonment, summed up Socialism 2016 perfectly when speaking at the 'Organising the resistance' rally which closed an inspiring weekend of discussion and debate.

Sunday Rally of Socialism 2016

The Sunday rally in full

Paul could go to jail next year as the Irish state attempts to find him guilty of spurious charges relating to a peaceful sit-down protest in Jobstown, Dublin, in 2014 against the hated and now defeated water charges in Ireland. Paul said: "We will make them rue the day they came after us and our trial will be class struggle in the courtroom."

Isai Priya speaking for Tamil Solidarity at the closing rally of Socialism 2016, photo by Dave Gorton

Isai Priya speaking for Tamil Solidarity at the closing rally of Socialism 2016, photo by Dave Gorton   (Click to enlarge)

Resistance ran through the rally as Isai Priya of Tamil Solidarity kicked off by detailing not only the plight of and attacks on refugees, but the fightback: "We have only got any rights because we have fought for them."

Medical student ZoŽ Brunswick speaking at the closing rally of Socialism 2016, photo by Dave Gorton

Medical student ZoŽ Brunswick speaking at the closing rally of Socialism 2016, photo by Dave Gorton   (Click to enlarge)

She was followed by Zoe Brunswick, a medical student from Manchester, who has been fighting on two fronts - standing alongside the heroic junior doctors in their battle and fighting against attacks on students. She urged support for both the 19 November student demonstration and the national NHS protest on 4 March 2017.

Housing activist Nancy Taaffe speaking at the closing rally of Socialism 2016, photo by Dave Gorton

Housing activist Nancy Taaffe speaking at the closing rally of Socialism 2016, photo by Dave Gorton   (Click to enlarge)

Nancy Taaffe, a Socialist Party activist speaking about the 'We won't move' housing campaign which campaigned alongside the Butterfields tenants, said their victory was down to organising, mobilising and resisting the threats intended to make them move.

Socialist Party deputy general secretary Hannah Sell speaking at the closing rally of Socialism 2016, photo by Dave Gorton

Socialist Party deputy general secretary Hannah Sell speaking at the closing rally of Socialism 2016, photo by Dave Gorton   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party deputy general secretary Hannah Sell closed the weekend by describing the role the Socialist Party can play as capitalist crisis continues and anger grows: "A century ago workers realised that progressive capitalism doesn't exist and formed the Labour Party. The working class will enter struggle and will draw socialist conclusions."

Hannah described our role in the fight to support Jeremy Corbyn, as the hundreds of thousands of people who have entered struggle to support him is a real opportunity to build a party of the working class.

Socialism 2016 closing rally chair Ian Pattison, photo by Dave Gorton

Socialism 2016 closing rally chair Ian Pattison, photo by Dave Gorton   (Click to enlarge)


Michael Crick debates Militant's history with Peter Taaffe

Channel 4 journalist Michael Crick debates Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe on the history of Militant, photo by Leicester Socialist Party

Channel 4 journalist Michael Crick debates Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe on the history of Militant, photo by Leicester Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

The debate between Michael Crick, well known Channel 4 journalist and the author of the book 'Militant', and Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party, generated great interest. 120 attended and 100 were locked out, unable to get in the room.

Peter began by quoting from Michael's comments on the BBC Radio 4 programme. The thing about Militant was that they were "brilliantly organised, brilliant orators. They plan things, know what they're doing and they keep at it. They're committed, they put the hours in, they go to meetings night after night after night and they commit huge amounts of their own personal income and their lives"!

Peter Taaffe debates Michael Crick at Socialism 2016

Video of the opening contributions in the conversation

Peter then suggested, tongue in cheek, that in view of the highly complementary remarks on Militant, perhaps Michael would consider joining the Socialist Party! However, Peter showed that the real purpose of Michael's book was to strengthen the hand of Labour's right wing in their attack on Militant in the 1980s. The republication of this book now had the same purpose.

Michael responded by attacking us for allegedly acting in an underhand fashion for not admitting that we were organised. Peter countered that we never denied we were organised but our real crime was that we were better organised than the right. Moreover, Michael admitted that he had acted in an underhand fashion by sending agents into our ranks to secretly record what was said at meetings of Militant.

A very robust debate followed, which Michael said he enjoyed. You can judge the merits of both sides in the above video.


What you thought

Rally for Socialism 2016, photo by Paul Mattsson

Rally for Socialism 2016, photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

I can't stop thinking about Socialism 2016. It was the first time I attended and I was so impressed with the passion, strategy, knowledge and awareness of people's situation which was expressed by all the speakers and the response from members. Organising such an event is a tall order and there was nothing that was left out - truly brilliant. I became a member of the Socialist Party straight away.

Marian O'Brien, new member, west London

What a weekend of lively debate and fun. The sessions I attended were informative and interesting and there's never a dull moment at Socialism!

Sally Griffiths, Salford

I was hugely impressed by all of the speakers at the rallies and the enthusiasm and passion shown by the large crowds. It was really uplifting and inspiring to see so many people who are dedicated to driving real social change in one place and these rallies had a real 'rock concert' atmosphere. Roll on Socialism 2017!

James Hinchcliffe, Manchester

The Saturday night rally was best for a long time. It's great to celebrate victories like Butterfields, hear about the work of our comrades in US and their immediate bold response to Trump's election. It was heartening to retie the knot with Spanish comrades and wonderful to see so many talented and dedicated young comrades. Our younger visitors thought the crŤche was great - like being on holiday!

Heather Rawling, Leicester
School students discussing socialist ideas at Socialism 2016, photo by Paula Mitchell

School students discussing socialist ideas at Socialism 2016, photo by Paula Mitchell   (Click to enlarge)

Socialism 2016 was one of the best events I've ever attended. It was very inspiring to hear activists from around Britain and the world! I was particularly moved by the heroic Butterfields housing campaigners who spoke about their victory. And as a disabled member I had the chance to discuss disability issues in times of austerity.

Amalia, Tower Hamlets, east London

As a fairly new member of the Socialist Party this was my first Socialism weekend and I was certainly very impressed. It was excellent to be part of a vibrant celebration of socialist thought and to listen to and interact with a wide range of people and opinion. The highlight for me was Saturday's discussion around TUSC and our relationship with the Labour Party, with Dave Nellist, TUSC national chair, and RMT President Sean Hoyle as speakers.

Greg Price, Manchester

As this was my first Socialism event, I didn't really know what to expect. The discussions taught me a lot and opened my mind to new ideas. The passion and motivation of speakers surrounding their chosen topics was heart-warming and it was amazing to see such meaningful and civilised discussion between comrades. I started the weekend with doubts about joining the Socialist Party but due to the welcoming atmosphere and a sincere desire by all comrades to engage in politics and to genuinely take action in changing the problematic world we live in, I see now that there is no other party that shares the same viewpoints and ideas as me and so have been swayed to join.

Wajiya, west Midlands
Discussing the fight against racism and persecution of refugees at Socialism 2016, photo by Paula Mitchell

Discussing the fight against racism and persecution of refugees at Socialism 2016, photo by Paula Mitchell   (Click to enlarge)

Attending Socialism 2016 has been a truly inspiring experience for me. At a time when capitalism is only capable of offering us cuts, austerity, unemployment and a future of misery for the majority, the programme and ideas of revolutionary Marxism are proving to be tremendously relevant, as a way out of the problems faced by youth and the working class. Socialism 2016 has given me a deeper understanding of the methods and traditions of Militant. See you again at Socialism 2017!

Alberto FernŠndez, Izquierda Revolucionaria and Stoke Socialist Party

We have the ideas, drive and passion to do something significant to the world. I am beyond inspired to help our people and be educated through our daily struggle.

Rebecca Storey, Northumbria University

As a new member it has been a great place to get a better understanding of the party and socialism as a whole. After Donald Trump's election I needed something to lift the gloom and this weekend has done just that. A valuable experience with the added benefit of being thoroughly enjoyable.

Sean Laws, South Tyne and Wear
Refugee Rights campaigners at Socialism 2016, photo Paul Mattsson

Refugee Rights campaigners at Socialism 2016, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

.

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


In The Socialist 16 November 2016:


It's Socialism or Trumpism

Trump victory: Failure of the Democrat establishment

Lessons for Britain: Trump victory shows the right can't beat the right


Socialism 2016

Socialism 2016: Electrifying and powerful weekend puts socialism on the agenda


Socialist Party workplace news

Mass prison officer walkout over health and safety

Durham teaching assistants strike: 2,000 walk out

London Underground: RMT wins victory

Steel workers' pensions under threat again

Deliveroo couriers get organised

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party news and analysis

Support the campaign to readmit expelled socialists

Secret hospital closures: bosses must come clean

£1.5trn household debt - nationalise the banks!

Court win against bedroom tax not enough

Super-rich investigated


Socialist Party youth and students

Students and workers unite and fight!


Privatisation and the 'race to the bottom'

Privatisation and the 'race to the bottom'


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Southampton Labour must bin Tory cuts!

Cumbria: Stop axing care home places

TUSC vindicated in censorship protest

Bristol campaigners demand anti-austerity alternative


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

A Street Cat Named Bob: tale of neglect by capitalism

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 16 November 2016   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Socialism:

triangleJoin us!

triangleSocialism would extend democracy

triangleWhat went wrong in Russia?

triangleThe Case for Socialism

Peter Taaffe:

triangleWirral Socialist Party: How can austerity be defeated?

triangleSocialist Party Congress 2017 reports

triangleDemo shows battle to save the NHS can be won

Militant:

triangleLivingstone's smear of Militant

triangleCPSA to PCS: Fighting the 'Moderates' and building a fighting union

Socialist:

triangleLambeth Socialist Party: Marking the anti-poll tax campaign

triangleCaerphilly and RCT Socialist Party: Universal Income and Universal Credit

Socialist Party:

triangleA party for the 99%

Union:

triangleNew larger, merged teaching union

Working class:

triangleIs a democratic socialist transformation of society possible?

Labour:

triangleWhat is the socialist alternative?

Butterfields:

triangle2016: A record-breaking fighting fund year!

London:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: What is a 'transitional programme'?

PCS:

triangleEnd the seven-year public sector pay cap!

Austerity:

triangleNetherlands: Heavy defeat for austerity government

Manchester:

triangleFujitsu strikes: Manchester and Warrington

East London:

triangleEast London demonstration against A&E closure

TUSC:

triangleSocialist Party's role

Capitalist system:

triangleMillions protest - now join the Socialist Party to fight to change the world

Protest:

triangleJobstown Not Guilty: pics of London protest

West London:

triangleWest London Socialist Party: The February 1917 revolution in Russia

Workers:

triangleDoncaster postal workers walk out

Meetings:

triangleWhy I joined: "I hope that more and more people are going to join the Socialist Party and the fight to end inequality"

Election:

triangleBattle steps up in general secretary election

Appeal:

triangleTUSC supports Irish MPs' call on Corbyn

Labour Party:

triangleNorthern Ireland: divisive election a warning

Housing:

triangleTories scrap housing benefit for under-21s

Shares:

triangleThem & Us

Solidarity:

triangleWhy I joined: "I began to feel really exploited and to think about why"

Socialist Alternative:

triangleInternational Women's Day: taking action against capitalist oppression

Spain:

trianglePrecise, visceral account of working class heroism

Schools:

triangleTory budget - dull but nasty

State:

triangleBiggest ever protest by Orgreave campaigners

South West:

triangleSouth West Socialist Party regional conference

Refugees:

triangleFight racism and austerity

Poll tax:

triangleObituary: John Pickett - 1954-2017

Pharmaceutical:

triangleBuild a movement to save our NHS

Rail:

triangleAslef offer: unity needed with the RMT

Salford:

triangleSalford: International Women's Day meeting

Stoke:

triangleByelections: Break with Labour Blairism wasn't on offer

School:

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Transport:

triangleSecond front in battle over driver-only operation opens on Northern Rail

Tyne and Wear:

triangleBattle for Wallsend walk-in NHS service

Trade union:

trianglePerspectives for Britain 2017

Tower Hamlets:

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: Building a campaign against cuts in Tower Hamlets

Tories:

triangleTory splits brought to the surface - Corbyn must go on the attack

United States:

triangleMillions on women's marches around the world: Build a mass movement against Trumpism, austerity and capitalism

Tamil Solidarity:

triangleTamil Nadu mass protests against state repression

Tamil:

triangleMy time in a detention centre

Water:

triangleWeb series review: Cooked - "How capitalism ruined eating"

West Midlands:

triangleSocialist Party regional conference reports

TUC:

triangleAslef members reject Southern deal - now for coordinated action to fight to win

Education:

triangleUnison HE conference: Delegates give the bureaucracy a lesson in democracy

Cuts:

triangleUnite against terror, racism and war

Disabled:

triangle'I'm writing this to tell you about the plight of disabled people'

Dublin:

triangleSupport Jobstown defendants

Doctors:

triangle'Nurses are angry and we are ready for action'

Council:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

BBC:

triangleSupport the NHS? Join the march!

Bullying:

triangleLeeds: Protest against tip stealing

Chris Baugh:

triangleSupport the campaign to readmit expelled trade union militants

Children:

triangleFight Tory attacks on women and children

Family:

triangleFight like Poplar's women councillors to change the lives of family carers

Media:

triangleWhy I joined: "In those 16 pages of the Socialist I found more sense and integrity than in the mainstream media"

Marxism:

triangleCWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria - towards unification

Mansfield:

triangleNottingham Socialist Party: The lessons of the 1917 Russian Revolution

Medical:

triangleNHS England missing paperwork scandal

Midlands:

triangleGlenfield heart unit: "Children will die" angry parents tell NHS England

Northumbria:

triangleNewcastle: countering the fascist menace

NHS:

triangleWe'll fight to save our NHS!

Leicester:

triangleHeart centre closure consultation 'farce'

Lambeth:

triangleLambeth Socialist Party: What is the role of a revolutionary newspaper?

HM Revenue and Customs:

triangleArgos fails to pay staff minimum wage - taxman cuts fine in half!

Fighting Fund:

triangleA world to win - give us the resources!

Homes:

triangleWhat we saw

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleThe need for a party that is against cuts in words and deeds

Ireland:

triangleBradford Socialist Party: The situation in Northern Ireland and implications for the UK

Paul Murphy:

triangleJobstown Not Guilty: defend the right to protest

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

24/3/17

Doncaster

Doncaster postal workers walk out

24/3/17

Fujitsu

Fujitsu strikes: Manchester and Warrington

23/3/17

London

Jobstown Not Guilty: pics of London protest

22/3/17

Salford

Salford: International Women's Day meeting

22/3/17

Orgreave

Biggest ever protest by Orgreave campaigners

22/3/17

Aslef

Aslef offer: unity needed with the RMT

22/3/17

East London

East London demonstration against A&E closure

22/3/17

Tyneside

Battle for Wallsend walk-in NHS service

22/3/17

Cumbria

Join the march against NHS cuts and privatisation in Cumbria

22/3/17

NHS

We'll fight to save our NHS!

22/3/17

Workers

Workplace news in brief

22/3/17

Derby

Derby TAs' strike suspended after new offer

22/3/17

Public sector

End the seven-year public sector pay cap!

22/3/17

RMT

Merseyrail guard found not guilty of "endangering safety"

22/3/17

The Socialist

Send in your sales of the socialist

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle27 Mar Unite against terror, racism and war

triangle24 Mar Doncaster postal workers walk out

triangle23 Mar Jobstown Not Guilty: pics of London protest

triangle22 Mar Northern Ireland: divisive election a warning to the workers' movement

triangle22 Mar Tory splits brought to the surface - Corbyn must go on the attack

triangle22 Mar Battle steps up in general secretary election

triangle21 Mar CPSA to PCS: Fighting the 'Moderates' and building a fighting union

More ...

triangle28 Mar Bristol North Socialist Party: The French elections

triangle28 Mar Manchester Socialist Party: The history of the CWI

triangle29 Mar Hackney & Islington Socialist Party: Open forum discussion

triangle29 Mar Caerphilly and RCT Socialist Party: Universal Income and Universal Credit

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

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