Wednesday, 25 January 2012

February Branch Meetings

Every Wednesday, 7-30pm, Phoenix Community Centre (behind the Phoenix Art Gallery, opposite St Peter's Church click here for map) - if you want to get in touch 
Click here for a short video introducing the ideas of the Socialist Party and the campaigning we do in Brighton and Hove.

This Month's Socialism Today magazine is out, including articles on the Durban climate talks, where next after N30?, the world economy, and a look back at the revolutionary year across North Africa and the Middle East. Available at the branches and on our campaign stall on Saturdays from 11-1pm London Road (next to Costa) - £2.
February Branch Meetings:
1st February – Building the Broad Lefts and Reclaiming the Unions - Glenn Kelly
November 30th saw up to 2 million public sector workers out on strike against attacks to their pensions. However the battle has not yet been won. Some trade union leaders have advocated accepting a government deal which would amount to a defeat as their members still work longer, pay more and get less from their pensions. Democratic and member controlled unions are crucial if this and future disputes are to be run in the interests of the members. Glenn Kelly (personal capacity), UNISON member victimised by the leadership (, will be speaking on reclaiming the unions and building democratic broad lefts.
8th February – Introduction to the Russian Revolution 
It is 95 years since the explosive February Revolution in Russia, which ended centuries of Tsarism and laid the foundations for the Bolshevik Revolution. We are doing a series of discussions of key points in the revolutionary process in Russia, starting from the revolution itself and ending in the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.  Next month we will discuss 'February to October'. For initial reading please follow this link:
15th February – Will there be a war with Iran? - Paul Moorhouse
Is US imperialism and/or Israel preparing a military attack on Iran? How would the right-wing Islamist dictatorship in Tehran respond? These questions came into focus again over the holidays following new sanctions announced by the United States and an Iranian navy exercise. Triggering the latest developments was a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency in November, which again assumed that Iran is secretly preparing nuclear arms production. What impact would war with Iran have on the region and the world economy? What kind of response would meet a new imperialist conflict? What is the role of socialists in Britain, US, Israel and Iran in opposing steps towards war and the capitalist system in whose interests it will be fought? Please read:
22nd February - The role of the Socialist newspaper – Phil Clarke
This will be an introduction to the role our paper 'The Socialist' plays in the activity of the Socialist Party, and a discussion on how it can be developed or improved. Link to the Socialist newspaper online:
29th February – Time to Defend Abortion Rights? - Shona McCulloch
The 1967 Abortion Act legalised abortion in Britain and went a long way in freeing working class women from dangerous and often deadly 'backstreet' abortion techniques - but not in Northern Ireland where the act has never been implemented. The 1967 Act, combined with other advances such as the introduction of the contraceptive pill, was a huge step forward for women, giving them some control over their own fertility for the first time. Unfortunately, just like all other victories won under capitalism, we have to fight to maintain them. Recently there has been a rise in victim-blaming, sparking the Slutwalk protests.
A successful campaign led by Brighton Socialist Party member Beth Granter, defeated Nadine Dorries' Private Members Bill calling for abstinence only sex education to be taught to girls from the age of thirteen. Constant threats are made to abortion rights, with demands for councilling by pro-life groups to precede any abortion. These attacks are taking place against a backdrop of job losses and public sector cuts, which affect all working-class and poor people, but impact on women's lives especially hard. In this discussion we will be looking at the history of abortion and women's control over reproduction, the political and moral issues often raised and how effective campaigns can be waged to defend and extend existing rights. Initial reading: and
7th March – Chile 1970-1973 – James Cullimore
A rising movement of class struggle, including land and workplace occupations, developed in Chile. This led to the election in 1970 of the Popular Unity government, a coalition including 'progressive' capitalists, the Communist and Socialist Parties (similar name but no affiliation to us!). For the first time in the world someone claiming to be a Marxist, Salvador Allende, was elected President. His government took steps in favour of the working-class and poor, nationalising key sections of the economy and improving the minimum wage, housing and education and so on. Hostility grew from the rich and US imperialism, who funded the opposition and sponsored (via the CIA) a military coup led by General Pinochet on September 11st 1973. This ushered in decades of brutal dictatorship and turned Chile into a test-case of neo-liberal policies.
This discussion will ask what mistakes were made by the government? Will attempts to change society through Parliament always break up against the wall of the national and international capitalist class? Could a successful socialist transformation of society have taken place in Chile at this time, and what would have been necessary to achieve this? Initial reading: