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Posted on 11 November 2008 at 16:29 GMT

Socialism 2008

Socialism 2008 - an inspiring weekend

Socialism 2008, photo Paul Mattsson

Socialism 2008, photo Paul Mattsson

Capitalism is a system of crisis, a blind system based on the creation of obscene profits for a tiny minority on the backs of the graft of the majority. It is a system that has been increasingly laid bare for all to see over the course of the last few months and a growing number are looking for an alternative. Socialism 2008 offered this alternative and laid out the case for socialism to a new layer of workers and young people thirsty for ideas to change the world.

Over the course of the weekend, around a thousand workers and youth piled into session after session to discuss what the economic downturn will mean for ordinary people, the roots of the crisis and how the ideas of Marxism can help us understand it. Almost 200 people packed out a discussion on the world economic crisis introduced by Lynn Walsh, editor of Socialism Today.

Greg Maughan

This is a worldwide crisis impacting on working people in every corner of the planet; therefore, a global fight-back is necessary. Sessions on international issues were packed out and reflected this; socialist activists from Greece, Germany, Italy, Bolivia and China spoke and for many, these first hand accounts of working people organising struggle were a highlight of the weekend. For instance, 150 attended a discussion on China introduced by Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe and Chinese socialist activist Fang Gouli. Hearing, for the first time at an event in the UK, the emerging voice of Chinese Trotskyism was deeply inspiring.

Socialism 2008, photo Paul Mattsson

Socialism 2008, photo Paul Mattsson

Sessions looking back on struggles from the past and drawing out the important lessons of them were also well attended, with discussions taking place on the 1968 general strike in France, the Prague Spring uprising against Stalinism and the civil rights movement in the USA, among others.

Following the electoral victory of Barack Obama on the back of a mass electoral uprising of working people, 90 attended an important discussion on the significance of the election and the celebratory mood that Obama's win has elicited, with huge street parties taking place across the US and other parts of the world. Crucially, the meeting addressed the question of whether or not Obama will be able to deliver the change that millions of workers and poor expect.

The rally on Saturday evening was attended by 900 and clearly laid out the case for socialism. The weekend came to a close with 700 attending the Campaign for a New Workers' Party-hosted rally.

This was another benchmark year for the Socialist Party's Socialism event; in the face of capitalist crisis, we raised the banner of socialism in front of a new and growing audience.

Videos of Saturday rally

Videos of Sunday rally

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