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Socialist Party regional conference reports
78 members of the Socialist Party from across the West Midlands met in Birmingham on 18 February for a fantastic regional conference. The turnout and contributions reflected the growing strength and influence of the party across the region.
Hannah Sell, deputy general secretary, introduced the main political perspectives discussion that covered issues including Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn and the future of the Labour Party, the eruption of the movement against Trump, and the battle of the RMT against Southern Rail.
Sarah Wrack, editor of the Socialist, introduced an inspiring party building session. She highlighted the many opportunities to build socialist forces in the coming months.
Delegates reported on the development of our work in new areas and smaller towns, while a number of younger comrades highlighted the successful work in the youth and student field. The important role of the Socialist in building the party was also emphasised.
Commissions on populism, women and the Russian revolution, and the work of Izquierda Revolucionaria in Spain followed in the afternoon.
The conference finished with an inspiring report of the work of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI - to which the Socialist Party is affiliated).
Over £1,800 was raised in the fighting fund collection, with one unemployed comrade donating £200.
A further £116 was raised in sales from an older comrade's donated book collection and over £150 from cake and badge sales!
"Well attended, interesting discussions and confident mood" was the description by one participant in the East Midlands regional conference held in Nottingham on 19 February.
Rob Williams from the Socialist Party executive committee was the first speaker in the morning discussion, the key themes of which were the volatility in political processes developing in Britain and the potential for working class struggles to develop.
A fighting fund appeal was made by Tom Hunt, a nurse and member of Mansfield branch, who explained how he was drawn to our party after experiencing the erosion of the health service under Labour and Tory governments. £320 was collected to add to the £60 raised by a raffle and selling food.
In the afternoon we broke into practical workshops followed by a session to discuss how we would build the party in our region in the next year.
This included the key role we have played in struggles, such as the 'save Glenfield Children's Heart Centre' campaign.
We rounded off an inspiring day with a reminder that we are part of a worldwide socialist movement with a brief report on the work of the CWI.
Over 50 delegates attended our regional conference in Leeds on 19 February, and left regenerated on how to build the party.
General secretary Peter Taaffe started the day's discussion by speaking on world perspectives. On the USA he pointed to the lack of enthusiasm for both Clinton and Trump among American voters, with no real candidate to speak for the 99%.
Closer to home, Peter likened Europe to a "lake of petrol", with just a single match needed to ignite the flames of working class revolt. In this country, that match could be the NHS crisis.
Later, regional secretary Alistair Tice introduced a session on growing the party in Yorkshire, and opened the floor to discussing recruitment, integrating new members and selling the Socialist.
Peter closed the day with an update on the exciting merger of the two socialist international organisations - the CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria in Spain and its affiliates.
A fighting fund appeal raised over £800, a fantastic achievement, and a contradiction to those that think that Yorkshire folk are tight with their money!