Workers Party conference on Saturday

Update – new post now published looking at the content of the morning session at the Workers Party conference on Saturday.

Workers Party SECT ARIA NISM election posterThey haven’t gone away you know! The Workers Party Northern Ireland conference takes place in Belfast on Saturday while counters in other parts of the island will be transferring presidential votes. (The Green Party conference is also running on Saturday.)

With a wide variety of socialist/left-leaning parties competing with each other for scarce votes in May’s elections, the Workers Party continued not to break their run of electoral failure. While the Workers Party did write to every broad left grouping in Northern Ireland in September 2010 to suggests forming a “common intervention” in the Assembly and local government elections, fragmentation ruled the day.

Perhaps it’s appropriate that after reviewing the year and looking forward to the next four years of party activity, there will be a twenty minute session on Saturday morning entitled Why we need a Workers Party – stating the case.

Three position papers will be presented for discussion – health, education and the economy – calling for an “alternative socialist economic and social system to address the collapse of the economy and the shortcomings of both the health and education services”.

The afternoon is given over to two topics. Peter Bunting from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions will give a briefing about the proposed national day of industrial action on 30 November. Conor McCabe, author of Sins of the Father: Tracing the Decisions That Shaped the Irish Economy,will join the conference as they discuss the economic crisis. John Lowry, Workers Party candidate and General Secretary will also speak. (Interview with John at the time of the May election embedded down below.)

Already this conference season, one NI party – the Progressive Unionists – have questioned their role and survival, and came very close to winding up.

The Workers Party seem to be impervious from cessation. While their somewhat simplistic SECT ARIA NISM posters from the last election were a big improvement on their normal fare, I do wonder if their members’ enthusiasm and tenacity would make a bigger impact on Northern Ireland society by working through other larger political and non-political organisations?

I’ll await with interest the answer to ‘Why we need a Workers Party?’

, ,

  • Nunoftheabove

    Well you know you’ve got to hand it to them, in some ways. Forget the racketeering and the crown forces blind eye turned to the criminality and the splitting and the dodgy Stalinist politics and all the rest of it, the utter mind-numbing tedium of one defeat after the other and still they hang in there.The faithful certainly have got





  • Cynic2

    Organizing this one must be challenging – these days BT have demolished so many phone boxes that venues are few and far between

  • Henry94

    A salutary lesson for emerging parties. Don’t let your parliamentary party be taken over by opportunists. And down give support to mass-murdering dictatorships.Thanks for the reminder guys.

  • Nunoftheabove

    While it’s a bit of a mess as a book, Hanley & Millar’s “The Lost Revolution ” book is still nonetheless worth and in fairness their influence in southern politics generally shoudn’t be under-estimated. Henry McDonald has also written about whole tracts used by the northern WP have been appropriated almost in their entirety and in some cases virtually verbatim by SF within the last few years in speeches and written documents.

    Quelle, as they say in Turf Lodge, surprise.

  • justoh

    Henry McDonald has also written about whole tracts used by the northern WP have been appropriated almost in their entirety and in some cases virtually verbatim by SF within the last few years in speeches and written documents.

    I’d like to know more. Could you point me towards the source of this? Is it in one of his books or a newspaper article?

  • Nunoftheabove


    “Gunsmoke and Mirrors” will provide a steer and his Guardian/Observer material as also referenced this, likewise some of his broadcast stuff.

  • wolfetone98

    I’ve always admired and supported the Workers Party anti-sectarian stance that has been consistant since the early 70s. While other sectarian parties in N.I. played the green and orange cards, WP was steadfast in its opposition to the cancer of sectarianism that has permeated N.I. politics and society, indeed some parties and people seem to revel in their bigotry and detest this being pointed out to them. Have a good conference.

  • lamhdearg

    Are the Workers party a small n Irish Nationalists party, in the same way that Alliance party are a small u party.
    I have live most of my life in areas where s.f. dared/did not thead, the workers party reps came and went without fuss.

  • Gunsmoke and Mirrors – an interesting read (finished it recently) and even though some history has moved on in directions McDonald didn’t quite foresee, it contains some intriguing analysis and history.

  • stewart1

    I’m surprised the conference is not discussing the decommissioning of weapons by their military wing?

  • Ronan Ssmith

    The Workers Party campaigned for the resumption of Protestant rule in Northern Ireland. It also campaigned, and continues to campaign, for Protestant teachers to have power over defenceless Catholic children.

  • Sean Og

    Eh? and Eh?