Monday, 5 November 2012
Socialism 2012 onwards to a 24 hour general strike
After a fantastic weekend of discussion and debate in London I feel absolutely shattered. Back in work trying to win the arguments for a 24 hour general strike. The theme of this year’s socialism rally was to kick out the con-dems with a 24 hour general strike. Many of the speakers made references to this. Bob crow on the rally on Saturday night was as good as ever putting the case against austerity and why we need a 24 hour general strike to bring all the disputes together and to start to build the attack on this go and with the aim to defeat it if not force it into major retreat. I thought the sessions this year at socialism were fantastic. The session I spoke in as the introducing speaker on disabilities and how to defend disabled people don’t think that was the title of the session but that’s how it came out anyhow went really really well. I was surprised when so many turned up to hear me speak and others share thoughts and ideas. It was decided we will hold a disabled caucus either in November or early in the New Year somewhere central to further discuss our programme going forward as the socialist party. There was a brilliant in depth wide ranging discussion on Remploy from Les Woodward, contributions from Katrine Williams and Tracey Edwards of the PCS who made excellent points of wanting to work with disabled people as they as PCS members are on the other side of things feeling the pinch and the abuse from working for the government implementing their policies. So I’m glad to hear PCS members are keen to work with disabled people in our caucus and to help further the voices of venerable people. The rally itself in the evening on the Saturday was excellent sadly the South African miner who has played a crucial role in the strikes which have swept the mining districts in that country could not obtain a visa in the end and could not make the event sadly. Neither could the labour or ex labour councillor I should say in Southampton who has voted against cuts down there and has for his efforts along with his friend been expelled from the labour party now for voting against cuts yep that’s right against cuts. Keith sent a message in his absence and made a significant donation to the fighting fund appeal collection on the Saturday night which was very much appreciated. In all we raised 17 K over the weekend with more donations still coming in. A part of this will be going to our international the CWI which includes our rapidly growing section in South Africa who are playing a very important role in the leadership of that militant movement. Peter Taaffe the general secretary of the party like every year was fantastic and great value with his own style of working class comedy always thrown in for good measure. Peter made the case that workers will not put up with a rotten leadership forever and just like in South Africa will move their rotten leaders aside if need be to get the fighting leadership they need and deserve to win. It is crucial in the next period the biggest pressure is put on the TUC to act to name the day for a 24 hour general strike as the first stage of a co-ordianted fight back. Peter also as he always does so well drew the political conclusions in terms of working class representation stating labour would cut more gently, nicely and all that and to workers this cannot do and we need our own party of the working class. We as the socialist party believe TUSC can be a flexible body for this idea it isn’t the finished product or anything near a mass workers party but has made key steps forward in the recent period. The coming on board of the RMT one of the most militant unions out there in Britain is key success to this can be shown in the recruitment of Steve Hedly assistant general secretary of the RMT who has stood for TUSC this year in the London GLA elections on the list has decided to join the socialist party after much careful consideration we welcome comrade hedly on board for the struggle ahead. On the Sunday there were further debates and discussions two sessions one morning one afternoon. I attended the morning session on Historical Materialism with Ken Douglas who really blew my mind in terms of Marxist dialectics, this is the part of Marxist theory I most struggle with. I am continuing to learn as I go on and will never stop learning. In the afternoon I attended the debate with Owen Jones the Labour Left celebrity journalist the question time style debate was very good Owen debate with Clive Heemskerk of the socialist party Clive won this debate I felt although Owen in his usual muddled way came up with some solid points sadly Owen seems to only deal in Accomplished facts and needs to take on board what Nancy Taaffe rightly said we live in exceptional times the old rules do no longer apply if the labour party can’t be reclaimed which at this stage we do not feel it can be Owen and his fan club of labour lefties must draw the conclusions a new party of the working class is needed. The closing rally was brilliant too with Matt Wrack the general secretary of the Fire Brigade Union speaking passionately about the need to democratically publically own the banks and run them for need not profit in the interests of working class people. Matt and his union are facing huge attacks including cuts to 17 London fire stations I have no doubt Matt will stand up for his members and bravely fight all of these cuts as the FBU has been know for in recent times. Hannah Sell the deputy general secretly of the socialist party was last up in c losing the rally and concluded what a fantastic weekend it has been. I’d agree and look forward to building the party and the movement against this government and fighting for a socialist society for the 99%.