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From The Socialist newspaper, 28 April 2021

South West regional conference shows that socialist ideas can grow

Defending the right to protest, in Bristol, photo Mike Luff

Defending the right to protest, in Bristol, photo Mike Luff

Robin Clapp, Socialist Party South West regional secretary

Socialist Party members from 29 towns, cities and even villages gathered over Zoom for the Socialist Party South West region conference on 18 April.

Hannah Sell, Socialist Party general secretary, introduced the first session with an analysis of the current volatile political situation in Britain and internationally. This prompted a wide-ranging and rich discussion that dealt with the crisis in working-class political representation, impending battles in BT, the lessons of the British Gas workers' defeat over 'fire and rehire', and the dangerous situation smouldering in Northern Ireland.

Recruitment

In the afternoon, we reviewed the work of the Socialist Party in the last year, a uniquely challenging one that had nevertheless seen us recruit 56 new members in the region. Stand-out contributions from young workers Joe and Henry highlighted the role that the Socialist Party had played in arming them both with a programme and the confidence to go out and recruit others.

Both sessions were chaired by members who had joined since December 2019 and are now branch secretaries. New party branches are beginning to flourish in Dorset, North West Somerset, and Cornwall, and we were very pleased to have representation at the conference from visitors in Swindon.

Reports were given about the successful trade union work we have helped to initiate, with several regional National Shop Stewards Network meetings being held over the last year. We have also been the catalyst through our work in various trades councils for the launching of regular regional 'key workers summits'.

With another 26 new members already signed up since January, and a group of at least ten more who want to join following further discussion, there is plenty to do. Standing as part of the nearly 60 candidates in the local elections under the banner of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), members appreciated the few hours at conference to stand back and acknowledge the strides forward we have made.

Discussing ideas is important, formulating perspectives and tactics indispensable, but matching words with deeds determines whether a party is serious about succeeding. To that end the conference finished on a triumphant note with the announcement that the meticulously planned fighting fund appeal had yielded a colossal 3,505 in donations.

Despite working in often challenging and inhospitable geographical areas of Tory terrain, South West members continue to demonstrate that in this period socialist ideas can be popular everywhere.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

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In The Socialist 28 April 2021:


Elections

Vote TUSC to oppose sleazy capitalism

Why you should vote for TUSC

Campaigning for a no-cuts, socialist Liverpool mayor


International news

India's health system in meltdown under Modi's misrule


Campaigns news

Socialist Student action marks the way for a national student movement for free education

South West regional conference shows that socialist ideas can grow

To get Socialist ideas out there, we need to have the funds


News

Protesting works - unite to defend the right to protest

No trust in billionaire football owners - kick them out and reclaim the game

Private sector is stealing the NHS

39 'postmasters' cleared - now clear the rest

Generation eviction


Workplace news

Usdaw's virtual annual conference - a mockery of union democracy

PCS ballots members in Jobcentres over safety

Goodlord strikers fight fire and rehire as part of day of action

Devonport tugboat crews strike against rota changes

St Mungo's workers walkout

Thurrock bin strike in third week


Ireland

How partition of Ireland derailed a revolutionary struggle for national and social liberation

Irish police aid strike-breaking at Debenhams store in Dublin


Welfare state

Poverty increasing. Welfare state in crisis. Do we need a new Beveridge Report?


Environment

What councils can do to protect the environment


Readers' opinion

The Socialist Inbox


May Day Greetings 2021

International Workers' Day - struggle, solidarity, socialism


 

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