Marching to save Chatsworth ward, 2.9.17, photo Elaine Evans

Marching to save Chatsworth ward, 2.9.17, photo Elaine Evans   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Ken Douglas, Socialist Party national treasurer

Socialist Party members strained every sinew to try and reach the target of £30,000 for the first quarter of the year; in the end we fell just short, raising £28,372.

However this was a fantastic effort as in the same period we have also raised over £82,000 for the building fund.

The fighting fund underpins our ability to campaign and get our ideas out to as wide an audience as possible.

We have no rich backers, we rely on the support of ordinary people and the energy and drive of our members to ensure that we have the resources we need.

The year started, as 2017 had finished, with our members campaigning to save the NHS, a crisis entirely manufactured by the Tories’ programme of cuts and privatisation.

Branches from Plymouth to York, Bristol to Liverpool, Wirral, Stoke and Huddersfield have been fighting to save their local hospitals.

In Leicester and Mansfield victories were scored as Glenfield Heart Unit and Chatsworth Ward were saved from closure by determined campaigns.

We battled the snowy conditions in February and March, supporting the UCU education strikers, who showed the anger there is at the bosses’ constant undermining of living standards and working conditions.

Regional conferences saw good finance appeals, with over £500 raised at the West Midlands and London conferences, and over £6,000 at our national congress.

At those same meetings appeals for the building fund were also helping raise over £150,000 in pledges; a fantastic response showing how seriously our members take the need for finance. £452 was raised at long-standing member Mary Jackson’s funeral in Doncaster.

Branches also tapped into other ways to raise funds, with Swansea raising over £200 selling second-hand books and £100 on a car boot sale.

Carlisle continued their tradition of Burns Night celebrations, raising £190; Salford branch raised £200 with a music night with local bands.

Now branches will be campaigning in the local elections – a great opportunity to raise fighting fund; ensuring that we continue to have the resources we need to build support for a socialist alternative to the corruption and greed of the bankers, the super-rich and their capitalist politicians.