by Charlie Kimber, national secretary, Socialist Workers Party
This is a crucial time for the working class. And it poses big questions for the left.
Hundreds of delegates came to a Socialist Workers Party (SWP) special conference last Sunday.
In the weeks before over 1,000 party members went to local meetings to elect delegates to the conference and to debate.
SWP branches and districts discussed motions, and every one that was passed was discussed on Sunday.
At the conference speakers from a range of viewpoints powerfully put forward different arguments.
The SWP has faced strong criticism from people outside and inside the party over its handling of serious allegations against a leading party member.
This was the catalyst for the formation of an organised group, or faction, critical of the party’s leadership.
But it is also clear that wider political debates are involved over many issues.
These include what sort of party revolutionary socialists need, women’s oppression, democracy and the shape of the working class.
These questions confront the revolutionary left across the world.
The SWP is part of a vibrant Marxist tradition that constantly tests its theory against reality.
We are committed to having discussions that clarify ideas so that we can be as effective as possible in the fight against capitalism.
On Sunday 77 percent of delegates backed a motion from the party’s leading body, the central committee.
It expressed confidence in the SWP’s democratic method of full discussion before making major decisions and then every member implementing them.
The conference made clear that this applied to all party members.
Slurs against fellow socialists and the party on blogs and Facebook are not how we should conduct debate.
The motion passed expressed
delegates’ belief in the integrity of the party members who were involved in handling the disciplinary case and of their investigation.
The conference set up an elected body to look at particular problems of confidentiality, the disciplinary process more generally, and to propose changes where necessary.
The party has been through an intense period of internal debate. It is now crucial it turns outwards.
Some 250,000 civil service workers in the PCS union are set to strike on Wednesday of next week.
This is budget day, when chancellor George Osborne will announce further attacks on working people.
The SWP must be at the centre of building solidarity and demonstrations on the day.
More generally the party will play a full part alongside others in the Unite the Resistance
initiative. This can increase pressure on union leaders to fight, deliver backing for strikes and bring the resistance together.
The next few weeks will also see party members supporting Jerry Hicks’ campaign for the leadership of the Unite union.
We are for action from union leaders, not just words. And we don’t believe that Labour offers any real hope for working people.
The bedroom tax is a focus for the feeling against austerity.
Socialist Worker has highlighted how people are organising against the tax and the SWP is asking every member to be part of this.
The result of the Eastleigh by‑election, the rise of Ukip and politicians’ scapegoating of migrants shows how our rulers will try to divide us.
We need to build on the successes of Unite Against Fascism and take on the arguments over who is really to blame for the lack of jobs, housing and services.
The working class needs socialists to unite against attacks and to put forward an alternative to capitalist exploitation and oppression.
This is what members of the SWP decided to do on Sunday.
© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.