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Reports and campaigns:
Socialists tell free marketeers "the pitchforks are coming" in Durham debate
Northern Socialist Party members
Students at the Durham Union debated the proposition 'this house believes free market capitalism is the way forward' on 5 May. Elaine Brunskill, representing the Socialist Party, clearly gave students supporting the motion a cold shiver down their capitalist spines.
These students bristled with contempt when Elaine told them they should heed the warnings from their own strategists of capitalism who have commented that the "pitchforks are coming!"
Arguing in favour of the proposition was the Tory, Graham Brady, chairman of the '1922 Committee', and economist Vicky Pryce. Brady spent half his allotted time reliving his days as a student at Durham University - clearly the old boys' network is alive and kicking.
Both speakers attempted to square the circle by arguing that any problems arising out of capitalism were due to it not being a fully free market, but also argued more regulations needed to be put in place! Neither were able to justify the bank bailouts - which under a completely free market would have had banks going into liquidation.
They both argued along the lines that across the world capitalism had lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty. Neither had anything to say about the brutal conditions facing workers on zero-hour contracts facing "too much week at the end of the money", or against the "hell on earth" facing an increasing number of people in the under-developed world.
Elaine ended by passionately saying: "If capitalism can't provide a decent future for working-class and young people, then we can't afford capitalism."
The audience was dominated by young men and women who see privilege as a birthright. Maybe for the first time they were confronted by the prospect of impending class struggle. Their motion was carried, but a substantial minority voted against it.
Immediately after the debate three students approached our speaker to tell us our arguments were brilliant.