Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/416/4727
Socialism 2005: Building a socialist alternative
The 800 people that attended the Socialist Party’s Rally for Socialism were united by their horror at what modern capitalism means for billions of people and their desire to change the world.
By the end of the night they were also united in having been enthused and inspired by the event. Their enthusiasm took concrete form when a magnificent £27,861 was raised in financial collection.
Speakers included the cousins of Jean Charles de Menezes, Mark Serwotka general secretary of the civil servants’ union PCS, Matt Wrack general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, Joe Higgins, Socialist Party MP in Ireland and Peter Taaffe general secretary of the Socialist Party. As well as speakers there was film of workers in struggle in Pakistan, Brazil and Ireland.
Some of those who came were longer standing members of the Socialist Party, who found themselves re-invigorated. One member summed up the mood when she said:
"It was definitely one of the best Socialist Party events I’ve been to and I came out feeling inspired and refreshed. If I wasn’t already a member, I’d definitely join right now."
Others were completely new to socialist ideas but came away convinced that the best way to fight to change the world was to join the Socialist Party. At least 28 people filled in Socialist Party join cards.
The Rally for Socialism was part of Socialism 2005, an annual weekend of discussion and debate hosted by the Socialist Party. In total over 900 attended this year’s event, more than double the number who attended last year.
This is an indication of the growth in support for socialist ideas in general, and of the growth of the Socialist Party in particular.
Many of those who came were young people who have been politicised in the anti-war movement and have found the answers to their questions about how to change society in the Socialist Party.
Throughout the weekend there were 36 different discussions on debates on a wide range of issues – from music and science, to historical issues, to discussions on how we can fight to defend the NHS and public housing. Speakers include human rights lawyer Louise Christian, Derek Wall of the Green Party Executive and many more.
The weekend finished with two superb closing sessions. One – hosted by International Socialist Resistance and Socialist Students – had a wide range of speakers, all young, explaining how young people could ‘fight for their future’. The other rally launched the Campaign for a New Workers’ Party.
Speakers included Yann Venier from the Socialist Party’s sister organisation in France – Gauche Revolutionnare, Janice Godrich President of the PCS and Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist.
Socialism 2005 was an event that concentrated on ideas, on discussion and debate. However, as Marx once said "philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point, however, is to change it".
Everyone who attended Socialism 2005 came away with an increased interest in socialist ideas (shown by the £1,400 worth of books that were sold), and more importantly, a determination to put them into practice.
"Looking forward to changing the world" Reports from Socialism 2005
In The Socialist 17 November 2005: