A young Solidarity supporter shares his impressions of the SWP’s Marxism 2003 conference
Tommy Sheridan told everyone how well things were going in Scotland, didn't address any criticisms of the SSP, kept sounding like he was going to call for the SA to turn into some kind of party, but kept stopping short of it.
A couple of other speakers, then Trevor Ngwane who gave a really good summary of campaigning activity in South Africa. Next up, Chris Bambery who hoped that in Iraq “fingers crossed the outcome will be the same as Vietnam” and it would “sweep away… the Zionist state, all Britain and America’s allies in the region”. He reiterated the SWP’s desire to “bring together a broad coalition of forces from the left, the peace movement, the Muslim community”, and informed us they intended to “build those networks down and down and down, into every school”.
Fausto Bertinotti of Rifondazione Comunista talked about the war, claiming “Bush means war… they wage the war to destroy it [the world] because they cannot control it” and rather poetically “Blair is just a metaphor for the end of reformism”.
Most notably went to the George Monbiot meeting. He gave a summary of his ideas, including the absurd claim that left-wing opposition to his world parliament scheme was largely because we western workers benefit from capitalism oppressing the third world. Unsurprisingly, there was derision at this, and much questioning of his poorly thought through aims. Alex Callinicos took a speech and declared that he “felt a lot of solidarity” with Monbiot and essentially suggested that Monbiot’s ideas were a good minimal programme. In his summary, Monbiot conceded that there were weaknesses in his ideas (without specifying what), and introduced the new point that the most important thing is to have a programme for the anti-globalisation movement, and that we should tear his up and replace it with something better.
We had a chat with Trevor Ngwane, who seemed very good politically, quickly linking the FBU strike with the war, and agreeing on the stupidity of the SWP’s coalition with the MAB.
Also noticed that the Sparts have some new, young, British recruits who don’t seem to know anything about their policies beyond the slogans.
Mickey Conn, Sheffield