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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 March 2008

Building a campaigning, fighting socialist party

Informed by discussions on likely political developments, worldwide and in Britain, the Socialist Party congress also examined what these mean for us organisationally in the session on 'building the Socialist Party'.

Paula Mitchell, London Socialist Party secretary

The National Shop Stewards Network, the Campaign for a New Workers Party, defending the NHS, fighting against tuition fees, pushing for united public-sector action on pay, the fantastic turnout of 900 people to Socialism 2007 - these are just some of the areas in which the Socialist Party has made a significant impact in the last year.

These achievements are matched by our involvement in winning local victories, including against housing privatisation in Lewisham and the significant victory on single status in Greenwich.

Branch work

Several newer young members reported on how they are building their branches. Jake Moore from Shropshire emphasised the importance of social relationships in the branch. One new member had likened the party to an iced bun: "the cake is that there's a branch in Shropshire, the icing is that you're active and campaigning, the cherry on the top is that you go to the pub after!"

With the present turmoil in the world economy, more people are likely to conclude that the capitalist system doesn't work and look for alternatives. We agreed to make sure all branches are welcoming to new people.

All branches can hold regular public meetings. Lots of people have been to our meetings on ideological issues like Che Guevara and the world economy after seeing leaflets and posters. Branches are holding public meetings on abortion rights and on Cuba, and are planning meetings on France 1968.

We discussed our regular public activity, and how branches can initiate local campaigns, such as against post office closures and on the NHS.

Ross Saunders moved a Cardiff branch resolution on improving party stalls, which was agreed by the congress. Tom Scott reported how Barnsley/Doncaster branch has been reinvigorated with new members and more activity, including their anti-BNP campaign.

Nick Parker from Lincoln and Nick Kirk from Reading discussed some of the detailed work necessary to properly recruit and integrate new people, while Peter Knight reported on the success of Brighton as a youthful branch with well attended public meetings.

We agreed we need to help new members develop the best methods in our campaigning activity and introduce other people to Marxist ideas. Political discussions, individually or in groups, and where possible regional day schools, are particularly important.

Leah Jones explained how Leytonstone branch in London had turned itself around with a lot more activity and new people joining.

Greg Randall raised the importance of work amongst lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Vicky Perrin and Eleanor Donne stressed the need to campaign amongst women on abortion rights and other issues.

The session also discussed developing the Campaign for a New Workers Party, and urged party members to help upcoming election campaigns, particularly in getting Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist re-elected in Coventry.

The congress fighting fund appeal raised 13,357, which was followed by a successful appeal for members to increase their party subs.

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In The Socialist 19 March 2008:

Global economic crisis

Darling's 'more of the same' budget

Anti-war demonstration

Interest in socialist ideas on anti-war demo

National Union of Teachers Conference

Strike back against pay robbery!

Magic strike at Merlin school

School tries to evict pupils

Socialist Party youth and students

Fight for decent youth facilities

Socialist Students

Socialist Party workplace news

Anger and strength in the DWP workplaces

End the blacklist!

Support for Shelter staff

Pay more to get less

One law for them, another law for us

In brief

Socialist Party news and analysis

It's not that councillors can't's that they won't!

Sack the mayor - not the wardens!

Remote MPs' privileged lifestyle

Salford campaign reprieves women's centre

Post Office closures

No more post office closures!

Following the Essex road

Socialist Party congress 2008

Socialist Party 2008 congress

Building a campaigning, fighting socialist party

International socialist news and analysis

Portugal: Strikes and mass protests against government


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