Socialist Worker

Debating the war, students and climate

Issue No. 2184


War

The spread of imperialist wars in the age of Barack Obama was a key theme at the conference.

Judith Orr, a member of the Stop the War Coalition’s officers’ group, introduced the session on this saying, “The ‘war on terror’ has made the world is a more dangerous place.

“The impact of the economic crisis has meant a crisis of US imperialism and new fronts in the war continue to open up.”

The discussion took in a range of issues and campaigns, from resistance to the war in Afghanistan to the renewed role military families are playing in the movement.

Eileen from Glasgow said, “Recruitment to the army is up 25 percent, and it is no coincidence that this is the case in the recession where working class people feel like they have no other option. I think we’ll see more dissent in the army.”

Lindsey German, speaking for the Left Platform, said, “We should remember that when Obama escalated the war in Afghanistan he was only doing what he said he would do in his election campaign.

“Over the Christmas period the ‘war on terror’ has shifted again, and the failed Christmas Day bombings has led to a rise in Islamophobia.”

Conference voted unanimously to back the commissioned document summarising the discussion.


Students

The struggles of 2009 transformed life in the universities. Hannah Dee introduced the session on student struggles.

She said, “The economic and political crisis is leading many young people to call capitalism into question.”

The cuts to education funding, amounting to over 30 percent of the higher education budget, will devastate institutions. But people are resisting.

SWP students have been involved in a wide variety of campaigns.

Sarah from Sussex has been involved in a campaign against sexism after an assault on a woman on campus.

She said, “The student union failed to make a stand against the attack so it was left to us to organise a meeting.”

The occupations over Gaza in January last year brought a radical shift change in universities.


Climate change

Colin Smith from the central committee introduced a session on the fight against climate change.

He argued that “the issue of climate change is rising up the political agenda” and that it should move up the party’s agenda as well.

Colin argued that building a climate movement could raise the confidence and combativity of the working class and build the SWP.

He pointed to the mass protests in London and Copenhagen as a sign of the anger over, and mobilising power of, climate change.

Delegates reflected on their experiences of the climate movement. Camilla from west London said, “The Copenhagen protests were very radical but there are a lot of debates. As a party we’ve got a lot to bring to the movement.”

Ian, a former Vestas worker who occupied against his factory’s closure, said that the Copenhagen protests would “go down in history as the start of the future of our planet”.

Delegates voted for a commission pledging that the party would hold district-wide SWP meetings to discuss the movement and initiate united front meetings on climate.

It also highlighted a climate conference in Bolivia in April and agreed that some people from Britain should attend.


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