Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/275/24511

From The Socialist newspaper, 1 November 2002

Socialism 2002 - An Inspiring Weekend

"IT SEEMS that every 25 years when the Queen has a jolly, we have a strike."

Steve Godward, a Birmingham firefighter introduced the opening rally with a resounding call to support the firefighters' strike action.

Steve explained how the massive majority for the strike had already forced Blair to come up with an 'independent review' but: "Blair and Brown have already said there's no money. They're scared that if they give a pay rise to us they'll have to give it to everyone else.


"I've been a member of the Socialist Party for a few months. I thought the rally was really good. I haven't spoken at any of the meetings but I really enjoyed the session on the liberation of women. I'm definitely coming again next year!"

Jena Mckinley, Huddersfield

"Then they attack us and call us criminals. I'm a life-saver but Blair is a life-taker, he's bombing Iraq daily and he bombed Afghanistan daily. He uses our taxes for bombs but not for the services we need and demand as a class."

Janice Godrich, president of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) explained how the Left and Socialist Party members in particular had had to battle against the extreme right-wing in the union to elect a fighting leadership and resist the right-wing's coup attempt.

The Left were elected because they were prepared to tackle issues like low pay, safety at work and cuts and organise action to defend members' interests.

"We didn't shy away from issues like calling a national demonstration in defence of public services, which is now official union policy after a national conference decision."

She urged everyone to join the fight for democratic and campaigning trade unions who are prepared to stand up for their members' rights at work and not just go along with government policy. "All socialists and trade unionists must do all they can to support the firefighters." The PCS have circulated all branches explaining how to do this.


All the meetings I've been to have been really good, I spoke in the meeting on Socialism and women's liberation. The rally was brilliant and I enoyed it although I didn't sing!

Laura Mckinley, Huddersfield

"I'm looking forward to working alongside Mark Serwotka and other Left trade union leaders to release the potential of the TUC. To work together to provide a lead to millions of workers. New Labour recognise the potential of that power so that's why these leaders are already under attack. We must have confidence in our members and our class to withstand these attacks. We as leaders must be champions of our class and put forward policies and programme to better workers' lives."

Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) recalled how the winter of discontent arose out of a pact between the trade union leaders and the government. It was the Labour government trying to hold down wages - similar to today - which eventually caused the explosion of discontent amongst workers.

Referring to the title of the rally "For a 24-hour public-sector strike to fight privatisation" he pointed out that BT privatisation had meant a halving of BT's labour force.


"I just wanted to write a short note about how much I thoroughly enjoyed Socialism 2002. I thought the opening rally was both educational and entertaining. The evening session I went to was Che Guevera. I thought it was an introduction to his life before he became a revolutionary, but it was more a question and answer session. Although I wasn't able to give any input I did come away knowing a lot more than I knew before the class.

I definitely recommend anyone, young or old, to go along next year, and like me you'll be pleasantly surprised how much you enjoy it."

Lynda from Lewisham

Finishing on a positive note, looking forward to the battles ahead, he said: "I'm glad to be part of the so-called awkward squad. We reject social partnership, we oppose PPP and PFI, we support effective campaigns against racism and sexism, we support the democratisation of the movement."

Oliver Campbell, jailed for 12 years for a crime he did not commit, thanked the Socialist Party for the support given to him over the years, explaining how he was still fighting to clear his name.

Dave Nellist, leader of the Socialist group on Coventry city council exposed the hypocrisy of Bush and Blair's war plans. "They just want another Saddam in Iraq - but one who'll do as he's told this time. They've nothing against dictatorships."

Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party brought the rally to an inspiring conclusion by explaining how this was a defining moment for the trade unions and the Labour Party. "All Blair needs now is a blond wig and a handbag to be Thatcher." With a 20 billion budget deficit New Labour are faced with tax increases or more attacks on public expenditure. The vilification of the FBU is part of an attempt to break the power of the public sector workers.

The trade unions are paying to a party which is savaging the working class, in a way which Thatcher only dreamed about, so the creation of a new mass workers' party is an essential part of the forthcoming battles to defend and improve workers' living standards


OVER 300 people attended Socialism 2002, the Socialist Party's annual weekend of discussion and debate. The ideas of workers' solidarity, socialism and internationalism, inspired a number of first-time visitors to join the Socialist Party.

Nearly 250 of those attending came for the whole weekend and for many it was their first national political event. It was particularly noticeable the number of young people who attended.

There were two very successful and well-attended rallies at the weekend. At the first rally over 3,500 was collected for the Socialist Party fighting fund.

The high level of political discussion obviously inspired a desire for reading more about socialist ideas as over 1,000-worth of books were sold by Socialist Books at the weekend.


"THIS IS the first major national event I've been to and I've really enjoyed it. It's really good to meet up with other active socialists and hear about the campaigns they've been running in their areas - as well as getting a better grasp of the Marxist theories. The hardest thing is trying to decide which of the meetings to go to.

But we've got 25 people here from Bristol so everyone can report back to our branches later on, so its really productive in loads of ways.

It's also good coming here because you meet other young socialists. It's really inspirational it makes you want to go back to your own area and build the movement yourself. "

Tom Baldwin, Bristol

"I'VE ENJOYED the school a lot. People are very friendly and its good to be around people who share the same ideas as me. Its been very good in consolidating my own opinions and ideas. I particularly enjoyed the Marxism versus anarchism debate - that was very interesting - looking at the differences and similarities.

I'd definitely come again - we're setting up an ISR group in Bristol so I'll be coming along to the ISR national conference as well in November."

Ellie, Bristol

"This weekend has confirmed my belief in socialism.

It's given me ideas and shown me more that I don't know and given me something to build on. I've only been a member for a few weeks and now I'm organising Socialist Students at Sheffield Hallam University!

I enjoyed the opening rally very much, I thought that Billy Hayes, Steve Godward and Janice Godrich spoke very well. The session on socialism vs. anarchism was good, Hannah Sell's introduction was clear and her arguments were very convincing."

Bob Severn, Sheffield

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


In The Socialist 1 November 2002:

Stand Firm Against Low Pay

Stop The War Machine

Editorial: Firefighters Must Fight For The Full Claim - With No Strings

Firefighters Speak To The Socialist

Brazil: Workers' Hopes Raised By Lula's Victory

Socialism 2002 - An Inspiring Weekend

The power of protest: How The Anti-Vietnam War Movement Grew

Over one hundred dead in Moscow hostage crisis

Socialist Party Leaves Welsh Alliance


 

Home   |   The Socialist 1 November 2002   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Socialism:

triangleWest London Socialist Party: Young people need socialism!

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: Why do women need socialism?

triangleWhy do young people need socialism?

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: What is Socialism?

Socialist:

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: "You can't have capitalism without racism" (Malcolm X)

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

triangleWarrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangleWirral Socialist Party: Lessons of the 1936 French Popular Front

Workers:

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleCWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangleThe fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

Socialist Party:

triangleWirral Socialist Party: When do Marxists advocate a United Front?

triangleWirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

13/10/17

Labour

The end of the Tories?

11/10/17

Tories

Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

11/10/17

Black history

The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

11/10/17

Housing

Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

11/10/17

Universal Credit

Major attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty

11/10/17

Them & Us

Them & Us

11/10/17

NHS

NHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

11/10/17

IMF

IMF helps cause inequality it slams

4/10/17

NHS

Tories wreck our NHS

4/10/17

Workers

Monarch abdicates responsibility to workers

4/10/17

Capitalism

Capitalism and human progress

4/10/17

Trump

Bending the knee v Trump

4/10/17

Tories

The Tories must be driven out

29/9/17

Labour

Labour Party conference: Action against establishment sabotage still needed

27/9/17

Anti-austerity

Anti-austerity opposition needed to seize on Tories' weakness

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


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

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle17 Oct London: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

triangle18 Oct Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

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