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Socialist Party Wales Annual Conference

By Joao, Beth, Alex and Meg (Cardiff West Socialist Party)

Saturday’s earthquake pales in comparison with the shifts in the political landscape described at this weekend’s Welsh Conference. Up to 40 Comrades from across Wales gathered in Cardiff to discuss the successes and challenges of the past year, whilst simultaneously planning a programme for the future.

Deputy General Secretary Hannah Sell introduced the complex but exciting times ahead. There has been a seeming pause in the struggle after the excitement of the General Election, with layers of the wider labour movement seemingly willing to wait for a Corbyn Government, encouraged by the right wing leaders of leading trade unions. The working class cannot  afford to wait for an ‘eventual’ election.

The situation in Wales is somewhat different from that on England, with no planned council elections this year. The reality is that we DO have a Labour Government lead by Carwyn Jones and his fellow Blairite-lites who willingly implement the cuts. This attitude is synonymous with Labour councils across the country where we are told there is no legal option but to become Tory policy executors, or worse face the commissioner’s wrath. These are nothing but inexcusable actions whilst our public services are privatised, axed and left to rot.

Corbyn’s attitude of trying to reconcile with the right wing of the party and at the same time ignoring the attacks launched by Welsh Labour will not sit well with swathes of the working class in Wales.

Contributions addressed John McDonnel’s comments advocating co-operatives instead of real nationalisation, with a comrade describing the experience of Tower Colliery as a liberating but ultimately limited solution, as the real bosses were not the workers, but the markets.

Further contributions were made by members of Cardiff Trades Council and the wider trade union movement on the up and coming disputes and strikes planned not only by the PCS but also by the UCU, as we expect to see lecturers and other members of staff going on strike this week.

The importance of the #metoo movement and of building a women’s caucuses were also highlighted with a Welsh Socialist Women’s meeting scheduled for the 2nd of March in preparation for International Women’s Week later on that month.

Socialist Party Wales showed its unwavering commitment to building the Socialist Party by pledging a staggering £12,000 for the building fund with many members still yet to submit their pledge. A further £360 was raised for the fighting fund appeal.

Socialist Party Wales is undertaking huge efforts to support the labour movement across Wales, as the largest left force in Cardiff and has been dubbed ‘the unofficial opposition’ by members of Swansea Council. The Socialist Students and Young Socialists have led the youth movement in Wales, organising  a show of solidarity with UCU’s striking members..

So far the extremely successful reorganisation of the Cardiff branches has seen comrades putting themselves forward as organisers, allowing us to set ambitions for where the party can be in a years’ time.

The success of this conference mirrors the way of the Socialist Party Wales acts in its everyday work and has set the tone for a year of solidarity and struggle to come.