Best thing this term
When I attended Socialism for the first time last year, I was a stressed-out student in my final year of university. With deadlines and exams looming, I remember being apprehensive about ‘taking the weekend off’. But attending Socialism 2020 was hands-down the best thing I did that term.
As a new socialist and Socialist Party member, Socialism 2020 helped answer some of the big questions I had at the time: why capitalism cannot simply be reformed into socialism, why identity politics and ‘privilege theory’ cannot end oppression, or why capitalism can do nothing to solve the climate crisis.
One year on, and my confidence in the need for a socialist world – one that replaces capitalist competition and exploitation with the cooperation and planning required to meet the needs and wants of all – has come along leaps and bounds. But I still have so much to learn. That is why I will be attending Socialism 2021.
While more and more young people are attracted to socialism, many remain unclear as to how we could ever achieve it. Demonstrating how socialists have fought and won in the past, showing the potential for socialist victories in the future can be powerful. For instance, how did socialists organise to defeat Margaret Thatcher’s cruel and hated poll tax?
It is also important to draw out conclusions from past failures. With his huge mass support, why was Jeremy Corbyn ultimately unsuccessful?
Podemos in Spain and Syriza in Greece show the potential for new left formations outside the established social-democratic parties. What can we learn from their rise and fall? Come to ‘What’s happened to Europe’s new left?’
In hindsight, it was ridiculous that I would even consider studying instead of attending Socialism 2020. And I cannot wait for the effect that Socialism 2021 will have on me.
Adam Powell-Davies, Oxford Socialist Party
If you’re anything like me, you can easily lose hours reading thinkpieces, twitter threads, articles and reports about the state of our world. Oh, and then there’s podcasts, YouTube videos and documentaries. You can wind up with a lot of knowledge, but nowhere practical to put any of it to good use.
Thank goodness for Socialism 2021. It’s the chance to interact with hundreds of Socialist Party members.
Socialism 2021 is the space where really interesting debate will occur. The finer points of how to actually effect change and what it should look like will be seriously discussed.
At Socialism 2021, you can say – out loud – that no one should be as rich as Jeff Bezos, you won’t be told that you’re just envious of his entrepreneurial success.
If you’re new to socialism, or just want to see what all the fuss is about, that’s fine too. In fact, there’s a whole programme – ‘Introduction to Marxism’ – made just for you.
I’ll try to absorb everything, from ‘After BLM – the fight to end racism’, while getting tactical in ‘How do we take the wealth off the 1%?’ It’s one thing to write it on a placard, but how, step-by-step, do we make it a reality?
There’s ‘Food production in a socialist future’. And there’s a whole series of sessions on climate change. After the Saturday afternoon rally, lots of ‘less structured debate’, with a pint, will follow.
Sunday’s line-up is no less invigorating than Saturday’s with ‘How to end violence against women’, while I’ll spend part of the day with other attendees wondering ‘Why does LGBTQ+ phobia still exist?’
So enough doomscrolling, if you’ve not bought your ticket yet, now is the time.
Kimberley Challis, West London Socialist Party
Calm among the storm
With everything that has happened, Socialism 2021 is a good place to try and get a clearer picture of current events, and what we can do in our fight for socialist system change.
One of the sessions I will be attending is the Sunday workshop ‘How can we fight to end violence against women and sexism?’ With the murder of Sarah Everard, the threat to abortion rights in the US, and the cover-up of sexual harassment complaints against the police, young women are angry.
We do not accept the excuse that sexism is inherent in humanity. We want change.
Austerity and a social structure based on class effect women’s safety, with, for example, the closure of women’s refuges and the dimming of street lighting to save money.
The pay gap in society and the enforcement of gender roles in schools push the narrative that women are inferior. This session will provide calm among the storm, showing how to fight oppression without falling into identity politics and division.
On Saturday, I will attend ‘Will there always be war in Israel and Palestine?’ to understand the role of the working class in other countries. I am also looking forward to the Saturday rally as it is always atmospheric and interesting hearing from experienced speakers.
Lily Douglas, Waltham Forest Socialist Party
Meet likeminded people
I joined the Socialist Party in the summer, so my experiences so far have been limited to the local branch meetings, weekend stalls and local campaigns. Socialism 2021 is an opportunity to meet likeminded people from the entire country and discuss the issues we face.
I’m eager to participate in the discussions and workshops Socialism 2021 has to offer. I am interested in learning more about the foundations of Marxism, and the lessons from the 1917 Revolution as we look to build a mass workers’ movement.
However, my experience at Socialism 2021 won’t be limited to discussing the past. Lessons from the Corbyn experience, unionisation, and the fight to achieve workers’ politics are topics that I intend to discuss alongside other attendees.
‘How can the eviction Tsunami be stopped?’ provides a space to discuss insecure housing, one of the biggest challenges facing workers and young people. ‘Why does LGBTQ+phobia still exist’ is vital as we fightback against these insidious ideas.
If we are to overcome the obstacles we face – the ever-present threat of climate change and the erosion of our rights inside and outside the workplace – we must study the ideas of socialism.
I am looking forward to meeting everyone attending Socialism 2021. I hope to make new friends, share ideas, and discuss today’s issues, and share a few drinks in the evening!