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?’

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