by Jay Witsey, South East London Branch
Sunday 16 April saw London Socialist Party meet for our conference. Every night on the news we hear of new cost-of-living attacks and the working class striking back. We could not have convened at a more crucial time.
The conference began with London regional secretary Helen Pattison giving a summary of socialist perspectives on the state of things in London and Britain as whole. This was followed by a compelling discussion with a range of contributions. Many people spoke about the housing crisis which is particularly acute in our capital city.
We discussed the need for a socialist programme to tackle the housing crisis, with demands such as the immediate introduction of secure tenancies, rent controls, and an end to no-fault evictions. But this also needs to be linked to the campaign to elect fighting representatives on councils who will advocate for the mass building of council houses that is needed.
The discussion also emphasised the importance of the strike wave. We had just heard that RCN members had voted to reject the offer from the government, an offer their leadership had called for members to accept. We discussed how this was all part of the new layers of workers moving into the trade unions. Hundreds of people have become reps in many different unions, forced to organise against their failing living conditions with a renewed militancy and a willingness to struggle.
The conference agreed a document of perspectives and analysis for London, and elected a new regional committee.
In the afternoon there were discussions on: the fight for working-class political representation, the role of Marxists in the trade unions, building the Socialist Party among young people and students, and the importance of our Socialist newspaper. All were lively discussions.
I pointed out in the discussion on political representation how ‘Enough is Enough’ had managed to gain momentum quickly and tap in to the appetite for change that exists in our society, in part through a successful social media campaign. But it doesn’t offer a political solution to these issues and therefore the campaign has not developed.
The fight for the workers’ movement to have its own political voice dominated the discussion. The Starmer-led Labour Party could form the next government. But it will come into conflict with workers as people are forced to fight in defence of local services and the NHS, and for decent pay.
The day ended with a financial appeal to help put the Socialist Party’s fighting programme into action and to help fund our work.