Stop the War
Chris Nineham introduced a session on the party’s work in the Stop the War Coalition. Chris said, “The anti-war movement has been incredibly resilient through over six years of organising. Despite the successes of the movement the ‘war on terror’ is far from over.
“The Stop the War protest called in London for 15 March, the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, fits well as a response to the situation. It has been called specifically around the question of Afghanistan and the threats to Iran.”
A number of delegates then spoke of how they had built Stop the War in their areas.
A lively session was held on women’s liberation. Judith Orr argued that there had been a rise in “raunch” culture but that there is now a new mood to fight against this.
We face a major battle to defend abortion rights. Recalling the period before the legalisation of abortion, delegate Mary Phillips from south London, said, “The effects of backstreet abortions on women were horrendous.
“The people who are trying to get the time limit on abortion down really want to end a woman’s right to choose altogether.”
Delegates talked about the urgent need to build Abortion Rights campaigns in their areas.
Weyman Bennett introduced a session on fighting racism and fascism today.
He outlined how the racism against Muslims unleashed to justify the “war on terror” had opened up a space for fascist organisations such as the British National Party (BNP).
Weyman stressed the importance of the Love Music Hate Racism carnival due to take place in Victoria Park, east London, this April (see page 11).
The carnival would be a vital tool in blocking the BNP from gaining a seat on the London assembly and trade unionists should start raising money for the event now, he added.
Conference elected a 14 strong central committee who are responsible for the day to day political leadership of the party and a 50 strong national committee.
Delegates also voted on a number of motions and resolutions summarising the discussions and decisions of each conference session.
Conference passed a motion from Tower Hamlets delegates stating that it was a mistake for Organising For Fighting Unions to accept a donation from a Dubai‑based businessman with links to companies involved in privatisation in Britain and welcoming an apology from John Rees on this question.
“We built our branch by doing the basics. We ring round all the members to inform them of upcoming meetings or to ask people to help put on a Stop The War stall in town.
We try and get good speakers and book them well in advance so that they have time to prepare.
This helps to set us up for a good political discussion.
The meeting itself has to be both political and organisational.
We don’t want to just present a shopping list of things we need to do, but use the meeting to give direction to our practical work, and the best way to build activity is to have a proper discussion.”
Rebecca Bryson, Sheffield South SWP
“Any student who wants to build in their college must start by looking around them to see what’s about.
Find people you can build alliances with.
The best way to start is with a Stop the War meeting. Book a room and print some leaflets.
Start with a stall, go to other student society meetings, get articles in the student media – raise the question of the war everywhere.
The second element is to set up general political meetings and build a Socialist Worker Student Society (SWSS).
The SWSS meetings can become a forum to discuss wider political issues.
At the heart of it all is the aim to get into regular discussions with people.”
Raymie Kiernan, Glasgow university