Party News

Annual Conference
The Annual Conference of the Socialist Party took place in London over Easter. A resolution was carried denouncing the Labour government’s Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill currently going through Parliament as it “introduces state regulation of the finances of political parties and bans donations from those it labels ‘foreigners’. As a democratic working class organisation we assert our right to manage our internal affairs, including our finances, free from state interference, and to accept donations from our fellow workers and socialists in any part of the world”. Other resolutions were carried in favour of taking steps towards putting the World Socialist Movement on to a more structured basis, helping to establish a journal for Socialists in Africa, choosing by lot the person required by the Registration of Political Parties Act to be registered as “leader”, and to reply to the question on “race” in the 2001 Census by answering “member of the human race”. A resolution to abstain from contesting national elections for the time being was defeated by 52 votes to 64.

The Socialist Party stood no candidates for the London Mayor and assembly elections in May. Members did, however, distribute 10,000 leaflets pointing out that those who wanted socialism could register this by writing “World Socialism” across their ballot paper. A Trotskyists United list, dominated by the SWP and calling itself the “London Socialist Alliance”, obtained 1.6 percent of the party list votes but did better (2.9 per cent) in the individual constituencies, where it didn’t face opposition from the Scarglll Labour Party. Both the LSA and SLP were standing on a vote-catching reform programme. One incident worth recording is that when an SP member pointed out in a letter to the Guardian (1 May) that the LSA wasn’t standing for socialism as its progmmme implied the continued existence of the wages system, a leading SWP member (Derek Howl) replied the next day stating that “only a tiny proportion of the world’s workers are yet ready to subscribe to the abolition of wages. For most, the abolition of wages would mean starvation”. Comment is superfluous.

The Socialist Party did stand a candidate for the Primrose ward of South Tyneside Council. The result was: Labour 998, Conservative 438, Socialist 184.

Socialist Party members distributed leaflets at the various trade union and “anti-capitalist” events on Mayday in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle and Bristol. In London, before the violence broke out, a Party speaker was able to make use of a loudspeaker system, set up by the organisers to allow people to express their views, to put over the case for a classless, stateless, moneyless world of common ownership, democratic control and production for use not profit. This confirmed a front page article in a spoof edition of the free paper Metro called Maybe which imagined street meetings taking place all over Britain at which “some even proposed a stateless, moneyless society where goods were produced not to make profits but simply because people needed them”.

Summer School 2000
The Socialism of William Morris. Birmingham: Fircroft College, Selly Oak July 7-9. Six lectures followed by discussion: 
Friday, 7pm-9pm. Who was William Morris? Edwin Walters.
Saturday, 10am-12 noon. The Utopian Tradition. Steve Coleman
Saturday 2pm-4pm Morris and the Romantic Movement. Ron Cook.
Saturday 7pm-9pm The Stateless Society. Richard Headicar.
Sunday 10am-12 noon ‘A Dream of John BallAdam Buick.
Sunday July 2pm-4pm From ‘Nowhere’ to Somewher. Stan Parker and Paddy Shannon.
Attendance at all lectures is free. Accommodation and all meals £85. Programme and full details from Ron Cook, 11 Dagger Lane, West Bromwich B71 4BT. Ini: 0121 553 1712.

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