Sunday, 25 October 2009

Come to Socialism 2009












Good grief, Socialism 2009 is almost upon us! For readers unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the Socialist Party's calendar, Socialism is our annual weekend educational school/rally. It affords an opportunity for comrades to get stuck into a number of tightly focused sessions on a variety of topics (examples here and here) and get up to some general tomfoolery too.

Looking at how things have gone for the SP this year, Socialism 09 promises to be the biggest event yet. We have not one but three union general secretaries speaking at Saturday night's Rally for Socialism - the POA's (and SP member)
Brian Caton, Matt Wrack of the fire brigade's union, and the RMT's Bob Crow. In addition the Irish Socialist Party's MEP, Joe Higgins and SP general secretary, Peter Taaffe will speak. And yes, without a doubt, it will be wrapped up in the traditional way.

Unfortunately this will be the first Socialism I've missed since my first in 2005. It's a shame because there's more than a few sessions I fancy. On the Saturday afternoon I probably would have headed to 'Britain after the general election', which will be discussing what we can expect from an incoming Tory government. Sunday morning would be a toss up between the forum on capitalism in crisis and the session on Sri Lanka. And for the final one in the afternoon it has to be the discussion on working class political representation with ourselves, the Greens, the RMT, Respect, the LRC and the SWP. I am an inveterate sectarian so what do you expect? Chances are our friends the International Bolshevik Tendency will be running a fringe meeting (see
this, for example). If I was a betting man I'd wager they'll be denouncing us for accepting Brian Caton as a member. Shame the only folk who'll turn up will be their erstwhile comrades from the Spartacist League.

Just because I won't be going doesn't mean this blog will be a Socialism-free zone. I've got a couple of comrades who've pledged to guess blog a couple of sessions for me. But I want more! If you're going and fancy a stab writing about a talk/discussion, your overall impressions, the socialist party at the Saint Aloysius Social Club and what not, drop me a line.

Socialism 2009 takes place over the weekend of November 7th and 8th. Get your tickets
here and come along!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope that Joe Higgins delivers what is promised to be a "rousing speech" o_O

TGR Worzel said...

If I can list one thing that really turns me off Socialism, its the tendency to call each other "comrades". That's as bad as greeting each other with secret handshakes....!

So I wonder what other people outside of the Socialist "club" think. What are their reasons for being turned-off by it...?

Phil BC said...

Over the years I've tended to find reasons why people aren't attracted to socialism are much deeper than knockabout usages of the old terms. I'm sure if everyone everywhere stopped calling each other comrade you'd find something else to object to!

TGR Worzel said...

Perhaps Phil, perhaps....

But doesn't help if instantly rubbed-up the wrong way by use of the term "comrade". I tend to switch-off when I hear that, rather than listen...

Phil BC said...

We never really use it publicly though. If you were to come up to one of our stalls in Hanley let's say I can guarantee you'll never hear the word. Not that I think there's anything wrong with it, I would like to see it reclaimed and rehabilitated. Which is one of the reasons why I use it on here (plus I understand, for some, it gives my blog an endearing olde worlde rustic tinge).

TGR Worzel said...

Well I still like your blog Phil and I don't actually mind "endearing olde worlde rustic tinges". I know what you mean.

Interesting though, that you also say the word is never used in public. I'll claim that as evidence that there is some truth in my earlier observation: it's a turn-off for many outisde of the "club"...

Andrew Coates said...

There's ways of calling people 'com-rade' and there's ways of calling people comrade.

It is quite normal when you *are* comrades, but when you're not....

Anonymous said...

Five middle aged white men on the platform then? Can't we do better than this?

Phil BC said...

There will be others of course, as there's often a smattering of speakers from ongoing struggles and overseas. See the official report from last year, for instance.

Neil said...

"Five middle aged white men on the platform then? Can't we do better than this?"

That's a fair point I suppose. The problem is when you have three union general secs all asking to speak at your main rally you then have to ask yourself how long should the rally be? There would be delicate problems of ettiquette if we decided to put one in a smaller session or scrub them altogether, as I'm sure you can imagine.

The last time we had three general secs on the platform we also had a good spread of speakers from other backgrounds. Personally I enjoyed it but many people complained it was too long and in fairness it was over three and a half hours which is pushing it a bit for a rally, unless your the Cuban Communist Party.

It's not all white blokes either. Tracy Edwards from the PCS Young Members Network will be speaking as well.

Anonymous said...

At least the Cuban CP will have speakers of both genders and all races.
Why should union GS's take precedence over anyone else? After all they are not usually the most inspiring speakers, we all know what they are going to say, hope that thug Caton gets heckled though, maybe he can then justify his role in fitting up prisoners after the Strangeways uprsing and tell us all why he supports the use of batons against children in YOI's and does he support dthe detention of asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants? its a total disgrace that he will be there. :-(

Mark P said...

Ah, Phil. You made the mistake of answering a Spartoid in good faith.

Anonymous said...

Don't soldiers call each other comrade?

Does TGR hate them for the same reason?

Anonymous said...

Five white men on the platform? OMG lets put the speakers on according to what they ARE rather than their record, their beliefs or what they are going to say. Identity politics and tokenism are a dead end, unfotunately espoused by too many on the left.
Andy

Phil BC said...

And here's the IBT's fringe meeting. Not on Brian Caton but should prove to be a feast of sectarian goodness nonetheless!

'United' and Defeated: Lessons from the SLP, Socialist Alliance and Respect. IBT fringe public meeting at the Socialist Party's 'Socialism 2009' weekend.

Saturday 7 November 2009, 4.30pm - 6.30pm, The College Arms (bottom floor) 18, Store St, London WC1E 7DH

Anonymous said...

It isn't fiction. The Sparts have around 150 members in the US. Down from about 400 in the late 70s. Most of the current membership being over 50 years old.--CWIer USA