"Philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point however is to change" - Karl Marx

This blog is my interpretation, I will do everything I can to change the world along those line

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Moving forward in Wales

The Socialist Party Wales annual conference was today and it was a definate reflection of the steps forward we have taken in recent years. The attendence alone not only highlighted the growth but a huge shift in the average age. Despite there being an increase in the number of older comrades in attendence there was a much bigger increase in the number of young comrades.

The first session on British and Wesh perspectives was introduced by Peter Taaffe, General Secretary of the Socialist Party. He highlighted the dramatic changes which had happened to the party in Wales since his last visit 2 years ago, that the party was well placed to live up to the traditions of the welsh working class. Throughout his introduction he pointed the situation currenty facing us both in Britian but also internationally, I'm not going to go through it all as I ay as well just upload a perspectives document if I were to do that but one thing that did stick in my mind was a statistic Peter mentioned about Spain in which he stated that unemployment amongst the youth stood at between 40-45%! Peter went out to point out that despite our relatively small size we were able to accurately predict the crisis at every stage and have been in a prime position to react because of this.

The discussion that followed was excellent, the only problem being time constraints. Various things that were covered in the discussion included an good explanation of why were talk about perspectives, as they are a guide to action. It was generally agreed that Wales despite facing huge job losses already has been cuishioned  up until now as 30% of employment is withing the public sector, but that there will e huge battles to face there after the general election. One speaker highlighted the savage attacks which are already begining in Higher Education and that these battles will intensify after the election, and we have to be prepared for the divide and rule tactics which are begining now. Throughout the discussion from both new and old comrades there was a general emphasis on youth and how to attrack them, pointing out the role that new and enthusiastic comrades play on the mindset of older comrades whuch keeps them going  in the positions they hold in the labour movement. It was also pointed out that there was a need to reach out in particular to young workers in the current period, they will be explioted more so in the future with an increase in insecure temporary and even cash in hand jobs. It was also noted that voter turnout amongst young people is likely to be at an al time low.

Next we had the finance appeal which was fantastic raising some approaching £4,000, and then the lunch break,where Itook the opporutunity to discuss the progress up North with the comrades from Wrexham and Bangor. Before returning just on time for the afternoon sessions.

Alec Thraves introduced the next session on organisation, although it seems that I lost the edge with my note taking by this point. Alec highlighted the growth in the last year or so particularly with the growth Cardiff, the solidification of Newport and the north wales expansion, but went on to highlight the possibilities of the coming year with a third branch in Cardiff, new branches in Swansea, Llaneli, Ammanford and Wrexham. He explained that we are different to all the main parties, that we are not a discussion group , but a combat and activist party. Though stressing the need for a theoretical grounding in marxism as that guide to action. He pointed out that within the conference were several leading trade unionists,pointing out that they all came to that position by the support of the Socialist Party, he highighted in particular Rob Williams and his recent battles with Linimar for his reinstatement, that Rob relied on the support and advice of the party and that within 2 hours of him being dismissed Socialist Party members from all over Wales we stood outside the factory gates. He said "If you take on one member of the Sociaist Party you take on the entire Party, we don't work alone we work together as a unit" He went on to say that it is the youth comrades in the room today will be the ones leading these kind of struggles in the future.

Next we spit up into three commissions, one on trade unionism, one on youth work and the final one on branch building. I went to the commission on youth work which was introduced by Matt Dobson from the youth dept. As there were many new comrades there it was a much more interactive discussion than the others which discussed various issues, such as Youth Fight for Jobs perspective for the national demonstration in Barking and the demonstration planned at the Welsh Assembly as well as other ways in which to build support for the campain. We also discussed the importance of future campaigns within Higher Education which within Wales will be hit pretty hard mentioning some of the things processes which have already began. Overall it was a very posiitve discussion involving many new comrades involving about 20 comrades and as other young comrades had gone to the other sessions and many youth comrades were unable to attend the comference it was a great step forward from about 5 years ago where A welsh youth meeting would typically have only 6 people at it.

We then went make to the main hall for the closing of the conference, both the Welsh Perspectives document and the slate for the Wales commitee were passed unanamoiusly. A raffle was drawn and despite not buying a ticket I won a trotsky t-shirt after complaining no one told me there was a raffle and a comrade gave me one of his tickets. We closed the conference with the singing of the internationale before retiring to the pub. Overall a very positive day which set out very well future perspectives, where we are now and how far we have come and the perspectives for future developments. Aiming to double our membership in Wales within a year.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. the editor doesn't seem to be working properly I think I will have to download the nwer version

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. It is good that the blog is back and running though. Be good to get some of the original spice back mind, especially where the SWPs latest fronts such as the RTWC s concerned.

  5. anything I write about RTW conference would oviously be second and info,my post something ut I would have to read up of the eventt hough

  6. Yes, the Socialist Party have enjoyed successes over the past 12 months, but the main theme of the conference was the strong possibility of the SP playing a major role in Welsh politics over the coming year, especially if there's a Tory victory in the election. If Taaffe was correct on all points, the most likely outcome is a revolution.
    One of the experienced comrades reckons the SPW will be many times bigger within the next five years. In fact the growth will likely be exponential. So these are things we should be preparing for now.

    There was a lot of discussion on working alongside the trade unions, but there's a substantial layer of other activist and community groups that should have been taken into consideration, as we can expect them to become an important factor in future struggles.

  7. I don't think your interpretation is quite correct there. There was no assertion that a revolution in Britian will happen in the next year.

    There is a specific reason why the trade unions are highlighted out and although we orientate towards any community campaigns, within Wales there are not any significant campaigns to speak of

  8. I didn't say a revolution will happen this year, or even the next, but we're not far away from one, I think.

    The last time the Tories were in government there were massive struggles all over the UK, and apparently 14 million people were kicking off over the Poll Tax.
    Now we are already seeing the effects of a pretty bad recession, with people losing their jobs and their homes by the tens of thousands. 2009 saw major struggles all over the UK as well.
    How fast do you reckon things will escalate if we find ourselves with a Tory government?

  9. "Taaffe was correct on all points, the most likely outcome is a revolution."

    Thats what you said but it's not really what Taaffe said is it.

    Despite the fact that their will will be huge cuts and there has been some heroic struggles in the last few years and there were many battles against the tories before. That does not mean there will be automatically. Consciousness is at an all time low, trade union membership is low and there is this stupid idea that 'there must be cuts to save the country'

    Now it is clear that there will be huge struggle ahead but its not obvious in which direction that will go. The rise of the BNP is a daunting one. In Wales we have the possibility of a mood growing for independance under a tory government. The forces of the left collectively are relatively small. There will be a hard slog ahead of us and nothing is garanteed

  10. 'IF Taaffe was correct on all points...'

    Consciousness is at a low, but that can change pretty quickly under the right circumstances. Workers can accept one attack after another, and suddenly one little trivial attack can trigger a major struggle, and all that anger that's been simmeing away under the surface can explode.
    The fact that the BNP has a growing amount of support tells us the anger is there.

    The working class might accept the idea that there must be cuts in public services, but how long before they start to realise where the money is going?

  11. well thats the critical point though, it was made quite clear at the conference that there will be a reaction against the cuts but that it is not clear where that will go.
    The possible rise in Welsh nationalism and a move towards independence is one possibility under a tory government, this has the potential to cut across a class response to the crisis.

    The fact the BNP has a growing amount of support is not only a clear sign that there is anger there but that the anger is manifesting itself in such a backward way and that could continue.

    It was made clear that the anger can manifest itself in several ways, it is not automatically determined that it will do this in a positive way, this isn't something easy that we can just sit back and watch it unfold this is something that we have to slog out at and play a part in making the struggles infold in a positive way and to stop things developing into disillusion or reaction


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