Socialist Worker

Solidarity founding conference

by Iain Ferguson
Issue No. 2026

Last Saturday saw the founding conference in Glasgow of Solidarity, the new movement founded by MSPs Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne following a split in the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) earlier this year.

Around 250 members debated a draft constitution for the new organisation, and took part in votes on the name of the new organisation and the election of key office bearers.

Since its formation two months ago, the organisation has grown to around 600 members, following a nationwide tour by the two MSPs with meetings in all the major towns and cities of Scotland.

In almost every case, the platform has also included speakers from the Stop the War Coalition and from the Muslim community, as well as trade union representatives and people from other campaigns.

A lively debate took place in the discussion on the constitution. This was between those who favour a party model not dissimilar to the SSP and those (including members of the SWP) who feel that a coalition model, similar to Respect, would be a more effective way of engaging both with the Muslim community and with those involved in other campaigns.

Such a coalition could also pose a real alternative to New Labour and the SNP.

The conference voted by 119 to 111 to call the new organisation Solidarity: Scotland’s Socialist Movement.

There is still a long way to go before Solidarity can achieve its aim of being a political home for all those fighting against neoliberalism, poverty and war.

The potential is there, however. There is a real audience out there for Solidarity, if it is able to engage with other campaigns in a non-sectarian way.

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Article information

Sat 11 Nov 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2026
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