The Socialist 15 March 2012 |
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A Socialist Party 2012 congress report
Building the Socialist Party: 'year of the branch'
As the three main parties were savagely attacking our jobs and services in 2011, support for the ideas and campaigns of the Socialist Party grew. Judy Beishon, member of the executive committee, introduced the session on building the party at the congress.
Judy highlighted the spectacular events that had defined the last year: the TUC demonstration on 26 March and the public sector strikes on J30 and N30.
At each of these, the Socialist Party intervened with hundreds of thousands of leaflets and sold thousands of copies of the Socialist paper, which put forward our demands of escalating action until we win.
We supported the National Shop Stewards Network conference and lobby of the TUC that called for the coordinated strike action that then took place on N30. Youth Fight for Jobs, launched by young members of the Socialist Party, led the 330-mile Jarrow March against youth unemployment.
They were welcomed in London by a large demonstration and the inspirational Socialism 2011 event. We have also been involved in the Occupy movement, countless other strikes and protests, as well as local anti-cuts groups.
The congress provided an important opportunity to reflect on the successes of the Socialist Party over the past year and to discuss our work for the year ahead. Our local branches have increased in number, size and influence so that we are now active in cities and smaller towns up and down the country.
Organised and determined
Many members gave examples of how sometimes even small groups of activists, organised and determined, have been able to have a big impact. The branch provides members with the support and ideas, through discussion of topical political and historical events, to go out and campaign in workplaces, colleges, universities and communities.
The meetings we hold and the reports that members send in to the Socialist can provide an important antidote to the barrage of lies and attacks from Parliament and the right-wing media.
This is more important than ever. The attacks on ordinary people have just begun and already 2012 is proving to be a year of struggle. We will be taking part in all aspects of the fightback.
All sections of the working class are suffering as a result of the cuts but women, disabled people and members of the LGBT community, some of the most vulnerable people in society, are being the hardest hit and we support their protests and defend their jobs, services and benefits.
We are standing in the local elections and the Greater London Assembly as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, putting forward fighting anti-cuts candidates. Our young members will continue to fight unemployment and cuts to education, building our campaigns in schools, colleges and universities and in the communities. We will continue to support the action taken by the trade unions and campaign for fighting, democratic unions.
In her reply Paula Mitchell, London secretary, explained that the Socialist Party is growing and every member can play a role in helping us build the party further as we step up our campaigning work over the next year.
We have the strategy for fighting all the cuts and defending rights. But we can also provide arguments for an alternative - for a democratic, socialist society. Now is the time to join our party and build this fightback!