The weekend of the 23rd and 24th of June saw the Yorkshire region of the Socialist Party come together for the regional cadre school. Over 50 people attended the weekend, which was incredibly inspiring and highlighted the tasks for socialists in approaching the title of the event, ‘The State and Revolution’.
Andrew Smith – Leeds North West Socialist Party Branch Secretary.
The weekend began with a lead off from Peter Taaffe, General Secretary of the Socialist Party, discussing Lenin’s pamphlet ‘The State and Revolution’. The discussion focused on many elements of how socialists respond to the state and recognise the importance of arguing for the state to wither away, while recognising its role in maintaining class antagonism.
Peters lead-off set the tone for several practical sessions, including discussions around public interventions and writing articles, stalls, media and public speaking. The Socialist Party prioritise education as much as practical skills, so comrades and especially cadre know not only how to intervene but how to intervene well as a working class based transitional revolutionary. This is particularly true at this weekend, as the State and Revolution becomes an increasingly relevant text given the rise of revolutionary and pre-revolutionary movements in many parts of the world.
Following this further educational sessions focussed on lessons we can take from Chile 70-73, What is Bonapartism?, Russian Revolution of 1905 & 1917 and the Paris Commune. The feeling from all in attendance was that it was a shame that everyone could not attend each session and from my point of view, in the Chile commission, it was amazing the correlation between the call for a peaceful revolution and the need to arm workers in many revolutionary situations.
After the day finished, a social was enjoyed by most and it has to be said, the cocktail sticks with pineapple and cheese were a stroke of 80’s genius!
The second day was introduced by Elaine Brunskill from the North East, discussing ‘The Transitional Approach to the State Today’. The discussion covered many areas, including withering away the state, the media as an arm of the state, whether we can consider the police internationally workers in uniform and many other elements, including the incredible action taken by the POA in their walkouts earlier in the year.
Further commissions discussed more practical applications of the state, including discussions surrounding civil liberties, police and prison officers, Marxism vs anarchism and Brian Caton gave a commission on Crime and Punishment: Does Prison work? Having attended Brian Caton’s session, the depth, insight and width of discussion was fascinating and incredible and shows how far reaching the influence of capitalism can be on what even capitalism had until recently considered something that privatisation shouldn’t touch.
The most incredible end to a discussion was introduced by a CWI comrade from Kazakhstan, Ukteshbayev. He spoke about the struggle in Kazakhstan and how the union the CWI played a part in forming is taking victories for struggling workers, some even in the face of murderous persecution. He urged people to support and raise awareness of the activities of Campaign Kazakhstan and we would urge any trade unionists, activists and everyone else to consider signing up to this desperately needed campaign to support workers facing a brutal regime of violence.
The comrades all reported that this speech and having Esenbek there was so incredibly inspirational and furthered the call for socialism internationally in every comrade. The determination inspired in people was so profound that discussions have begun already for trade union and public intervention seeking support for further victories internationally.