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East Midlands conference: Getting ready for the big upheavals in 2019
Clare Wilkins and Sebastian Motley
34 delegates attended in the recent East Midlands Socialist Party conference in Nottingham to discuss the political situation and prospects for building the party in 2019. It was lively and full of discussion and debate, many giving their views and reports of what they've done - a great way for members to connect.
Rob Williams from the executive committee introduced the morning discussion on political perspectives - in which he touched upon the developing crisis in Venezuala, the 'gilets jaunes' (yellow vests) movement in France, the slowdown and contradictions in the world economy and, not least, the crisis in British politics over the Brexit impasse. This latter crisis could go on for weeks and months but we need to prepare for an early general election.
Rob emphasised that the worker's movement must lead movements against the Tories and austerity or else this can leave a political vacuum for the populist right to exploit.
Regional organiser Tessa Warrington introduced the afternoon session on party building and regional secretary Steve Score summed up the discussion.
Tessa praised the party branches' involvement in local community campaigns, and their interventions in Pride events, anti-Trump protests, Corbyn rallies, and industrial disputes, including the UCU strike.
The number of party public stalls has increased and we raised 187% of our fighting fund target in the last quarter. The conference financial appeal raised a magnificent £531.16.
31 people joined the party in the region last year and branches must ensure that new members are fully integrated into the party campaigns and structures.
Examples of party initiatives aimed at encouraging young people to join were given, which included the establishment of Young Socialists and Socialist Students groups.
The gilets jaunes movement has shown that struggles against the capitalist system can arise at any time. We must be ready. We have the commitment, consciousness and dedication to build the Socialist Party in the East Midlands.
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