Ian Allinson writes:
Eamonn McCann, veteran of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland and a leading member of the Irish SWP, set the closing rally of Marxism 2013 alight.
Eamonn talked about the potential of class struggle to unite people. He gave the example of unofficial postal strikes in Northern Ireland in 2006, when workers marched from the Protestant Shankhill Road to the Catholic Falls Road. He described how he’d been welcomed on the Shankhill by Protestants because they knew he was principled.
He went on to talk about how the Irish SWP had been able to punch above its weight in a successful campaign over abortion rights because members had a track record of fighting sexism and standing up to the Catholic church. He stressed that the reason comrades had been so effective was that had they stood against oppression in all its forms and had proven themselves trustworthy.
Eamonn insisted that all socialists had to take a stand against sexism – including in their own organisations – and that this was a matter of principle, not to be confused with strategic or tactical considerations. While the vast majority of comrades in the hall gave the speech enthusiastic applause and a standing ovation, a minority of members could not bring themselves to join in.
Other speakers at the closing rally included Greek socialist Maria Stylou and striking South African miner Siphamandla Makhanya. SWP national secretary Charlie Kimber ended the rally by saying: “We have had five days of discussions and debates. Those discussions and debates must continue. No revolutionary party can base itself on anything except continual discussion and debate.”
[credit: video from swpTvUk on YouTube]