Forthcoming events

Every Saturday - Noon - 2pm - Bedford Square, Exeter - Socialist Party stall - Campaigning and there for discussion. We also have a range of literature ranging from this weeks 'The Socialist' to this month's 'Socialism Today', as well as books on Marxism, history, science, and international issues.

Every Tuesday - 7.30pm - Exeter branch meeting - email us for venue details - Organisational matters and planning ahead as well as discussion and debate.

Monday 19th January - Friday 13th February - USDAW Presidential election - Socialist Party member Robbie Segal is standing, and campaigning for a campaigning, democratic union. See for more details.

Tuesday 10th February - 7.00pm - North Devon Socialist Party branch meeting - G2 room, Barnstaple Library - Discussion of organisational issues, and debate on Darwin and evolution, introduced by JL.

Wednesday 11th February - 7.00pm - Fight For Jobs public meeting - Exeter Community Centre, St Davids Hill, Exeter - Called by Devon Socialist Party and Exeter Socialist Students, this meeting will be a chance to discuss the current economic crisis and how workers and youth can organise to protect jobs and living standards.

A more extensive calendar of events over 2009 will follow at the bottom of the page.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Socialism 2008 report

On Saturday, members of the Socialist Party and Socialist Students from across Devon descended on London for the Socialist Party's annual weekend of debate and discussion, Socialism 2008.

The Devon delegation attended sessions on the two days covering topics as varied as the environment, how to build a revolutionary party, racism, China, the 1978/79 Iranian revolution, how to fight the BNP, how to build in the unions and many others.

As always, the level of discussion, both from the introducing speaker and those attending sessions, was very high. There were many matters to debate, and contributions made, all in a freindly and inclusive manner.

On the Saturday night, the rally saw speakers from Britain and all over the world share their experiences and analyses of the changing world situation. The theme was that 'Marx was right', as the economic crisis -and our prediction that it would occur - clearly shows. A worker from the Ford Transit plant in Southampton explained how he and his co-workers had acted, in the face of indifference from the official union structures, to organise what has become a prominent campaign to save the plant and their jobs.

In the wake of her excellent result in the USDAW general secretary elections, Robbie Segal explained the lessons of the campaign, which found real resonance with shop workers despite the attempts of the official pro-New Labour union bureaucracy to suppress her candidacy. She will soon be standing for the Presidency of the union, and shortly we will be carrying details of how you can help the campaign to democratise the union and improve the lot of some of Britain's most exploited and bullied workers.

The recently elected Deputy Youth Mayor for Lewisham, Natalie Powell-Davies, gave us an insight into how she won the support of so many young people with clarity and passion, demonstrating that young people can be won over with a clear, campaigning, practical programme and someone who is sure to provide a strong voice for them.

There was a real international flavour to the rally also, with speakers also from Greece, Germany, Italy and China. In Greece, mass protests and militancy have led to the development of a new left force, SYRIZA. Nikos Anastasiadis, from Xekinima, our sister organisation in that country, presented an inspiring video of the struggles that have taken place before outlining the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. Fang Guoli from China, outlined the critical role that genuine revolutionaries and Trotskyists have to play in China, and cautioned against despondency that we 'are in winter' as one day 'it will be spring'.

As most years, there were rousing and often amusing contributions from Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party, and Tony Mulhearn of the Liverpool 47, who reminded us of what a genuine workers party could achieve, with the Liverpool struggle's legacy still standing 'in bricks and mortar'.

Janice Godrich brought solidarity greetings from the International Socialists in Scotland, and outlined the effects that a socialist leadership could have in a trade union, in this case the PCS (civil servants union), of which Janice is the President. The left wing leadership of the PCS has radically democratised the union and involved rank and file members in activity and campaigning like never before in that union. As a consequence, its membership is growing and it has achieved notable successes for its members which many predicted were 'impossible'.

In a similar vein, Onay Kasab, a Socialist Party member in UNISON, related the possibilities opened up when a principled branch leadership delivers for its members. Against a backdrop of many council workers receiving quite significant wage cuts, Greenwich UNISON, which Kas is the secretary of, secured a deal which meant that not a single worker had their pay reduced, while some had substantial increases. Despite this, or perhaps because of this, Kas and three other Socialist Party members are currently facing disciplinary action at the hands of the union hierarchy, on trumped up charges as part of a witchhunt against left activists in the union. To find out more and offer your support, please visit the 'Defend the Four' website, located here.

The final rally on the Sunday afternoon saw the future of political representation for working class people discussed by Cllr. Dave Nellist (of the Socialist Party, and chair of the Campaign for a New Workers' Party), comedian and author Mark Steel (formerly of the Socialist Workers Party), Kevin Ovenden (of Respect) and Hannah Sell (deputy general secretary of the Socialist Party). There was a friendly atmosphere, and consensus that the need for an alternative to the pro-capitalist policies of the three main establishment parties was needed now, more than ever.

Socialism is always a fascinating, morale boosting, informative event. This year more than ever this was transfused by a spirit of defiance and fightback, that we will not pay for the crisis the bosses and the banks have created.

No comments: