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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 October 2006

All views welcome at Socialism 2006

WE PRINT below a letter from a Russian living in Britain who isn't sure about what the Socialist Party says about the ex-Soviet Union but who still wants to come to Socialism 2006 to participate in the discussions there.
Everyone is welcome at Socialism 2006, whether you agree with what we say or not. And everyone has the chance to participate in the debates and discussions. Whatever you are interested in, there will be a session for you!

I WOULD like to participate in discussions at the Socialism 2006 weekend. Particularly in the part: Why the Soviet Union wasn't socialist and how democracy would work under socialism. I am 44, hold British and Russian passports. I moved to live in Britain in 2000 and I am old enough to be able to compare life in the Soviet Union, the new Russia and Britain today.

As a Russian living in Britain I am shocked how little people here know about USSR and how years of cold war propaganda still affect the public. For decades, the only Russians who talked here about socialism in the USSR were political immigrants, how objective could they be?

The Soviet Union was indeed socialism in many aspects - no unemployment, no drugs, no homeless people. No wonder millions in the former USSR miss that time and there is no way Russians would ever agree to compare communism with fascism, as the European parliament recently proposed.

Telling the truth, only living in the UK made me think to join the socialist movement or party. My stepdaughter, almost eight, has head lice for the second year. Trying to start an awareness campaign in the school I looked at available sources: educational brochures, lectures, video, etc - there is nothing for free!

I found a charity that received a grant of 10 million (that would be enough to buy the aid product for every infected child in the UK). They spent the money producing a comb (that does not kill the thing and does not prevent the spread either) and they now sell the comb and the brochures to public!

For somebody like me, growing up in the USSR, that level of cynicism toward kids' suffering is impossible to comprehend. A local doctor would come to check all the kids in school and free solution would be supplied.

Socialism for me is the attitude, the values we all respect deep inside but somehow accepted that they end outside our close circle and that profit-making rules the world. These values were present in the Soviet Union, they are what is missed - when you are not alone and somebody else with power in their hands also thinks about you, your family, your children, your elderly and their future.

It would be great to try to contribute to achieving a fair balance here. I think a more objective view on the USSR experience would also improve overall image of socialism among the British public.

Thank you for reading this. I will be booking a place at the event.

Ms Anna Morozova, South Buckinghamshire

socialism 2006 is a weekend of discussion and debate hosted by the Socialist Party 25 and 26 November 2006 University of London Union, Malet Street, London WC1.

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In The Socialist 12 October 2006:

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Health workers beat the privateers

Get organised! Join the march on parliament!

NHS - not safe in their hands

Protests at health cuts

Angry marchers keep up the fight

Socialist Students

Fees can damage your education

Student fees can be defeated

Campaigning in the schools and colleges

Chile: solidarity appeal

International socialist news and analysis

All views welcome at Socialism 2006

Huge meeting greets socialist movement

Cable Street 1936: When workers drove back the fascists

A 'race to the bottom' for workers' rights and a disaster for the environment

Dave Nellist's global warning

Kazakhstan - appeal for support

Brazilian elections: Lula fails to win in first round

"Bertiegate" scandal rocks Ahern coalition

Socialist Party workplace news

Blood service faces cuts

Trade unions must organise casual workers


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