Party News: Annual Conference

What a difference our conferences are from those of other organisations. Our conferences are the means by which the membership exercises democratic control over the Party. All delegates come with the instructions of their branches. These they have to obey whether they agree with them or not. Now look, for example, at a Trade Union conference. This is opened with a flourish by the Presidential address. In this address the struggle of the workers on the industrial field is generally secondary. Rather the President deals with Government policy in foreign affairs, or, as in more recent times, gives support to such anti-working class measures as wage-freezing. The conference is then studded with speeches by the “stars” and the ordinary delegates find it difficult to get a word in. Our conferences belong to the Party and the Party runs them. They provide a vivid example of democracy in action.

A very wide range of subjects was covered by our conference this year. Literature, Party funds, propaganda and electoral action were among subjects that received careful consideration. The Party literature was discussed at length, the present literature being critically examined and also receiving support. Finally the conference recommended to the Executive Committee that they should explore the possibilities of. publishing a weekly paper.

On electoral action the conference expressed its wholehearted support of this form of activity. The delegates were obviously undeterred by the small number of votes received at the last election, not expecting larger votes at the present stage of working-class development They recommended to the Executive Committee that, providing the next General Election did not take place until May, we should place at least two candidates in the field.

Another item of interest was the question of Head Office premises. It appears that our present tenancy of our Head Office premises is somewhat insecure. A member of the Premises Committee suggested that we should consider purchasing premises, and, while no action was taken on this, it will undoubtedly engage the attention of the Executive Committee.

During the conference greetings were given by Comrades A. Fahy and M. Cullen of Dublin and J. Kane of Belfast from that most recent member of the Socialist world family. The Socialist Party of Ireland. Greetings messages were also read from South Africa. New Zealand, and Austria, the message from Austria being particularly encouraging, telling as it did of the activities of a group there.

On the Saturday evening members and sympathisers unbent in a dance and re-union. After this, no one could say that Socialists are always severe, stiff-lipped revolutionaries. We do sometimes let our hair down.

On the Sunday evening the conference was concluded by a rally in the Conway Hall. There was a large audience who listened attentively to J. Kane, J. Higgins, C. Groves and H. Young. Kane dealt with the struggle in Ireland, Higgins with some aspects of our Party history. Groves with high lights of the conference and Young talked about Socialism and Science.

We had a very good conference and we come back into the struggle with renewed vigour, determined to put an end to the vile system we live under now, and establish a world in which men can live as men and not as lower forms of animals.

Clifford Groves.