Socialist Party Wales conference plans defiance to the cuts
A tale of two conferences
There were two Welsh conferences in Cardiff last weekend. On one side of town in Sophia Gardens Labour Party Wales met in a posh conference centre at the cricket ground. A group of over 30 construction electricians in UNITE – the union lobbied the conference against the attempt of the "Big 7" construction companies to cut wages by 35%. About a mile away in Riverside over 60 Socialist Party members met to discuss the socialist alternative to the cuts that Welsh Labour is, in part, implementing.
At the Labour conference a spark was refused when he asked if he could use the toilet even though his union, UNITE, is bankrolling the Labour Party and was paying for the conference. At the Socialist Party conference one of the UNITE sparks, Andrew Wilkes, who has played a leading role in the dispute, thanked Socialist Party members who had supported their protests when he spoke alongside Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary.
Peter Taaffe had explained the fundamental crisis facing capitalism both in Europe which is the epicentre of a global crisis and in Britain which faces more than a decade of economic decline. He described the "cold cruelty" of the British ruling class who’s attempts to place the blame for the crisis on groups like the disabled had resulted in disabled people being attacked in the street as "scroungers". Les Woodward, REMPLOY GMB national convenor, confirmed this analysis when he explained that a REMPLOY colleague (who is obviously working) was knocked out of his wheelchair in such an attack. He thought that far from expecting his grandkids to have a better life than him the prospect is that they will be thrown back to the same standard of living as his grandparents.
A social worker in the Rhondda valley described how colleagues working in the Rhondda Food Bank cannot keep up with the demand for food as people on benefits cannot get enough to eat. She explained how like, most people they have simple aspirations, a job, a decent house etc., but "they have as much chance of that as going to the moon" under this system.
This was Socialist Party Wales's biggest ever conference. It raised £700 in the fighting fund collection, but it was too short to discuss all the issues affecting the party in Wales, with many speakers prevented from speaking by lack of time. Next year a two day conference!
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