Marxism 2018: The Closing Rally

Wrapping up my series on Marxism 2018 with an account of the Final Rally.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the final post in my series about Marxism 2018. As this series has for various reasons been somewhat spread out I start by providing links to all the previous posts in the series, in chronological order:

GETTING TO THE FINAL RALLY

As I mentioned in the overview of the weekend I left my last regular meeting a little early to head for Friends Meeting House. I deposited my bag there, and then had to wait to be let into the meeting room because it had been decided not to open the doors until 5:15PM, which given the size of that room was allwoing absurdly little time for people to be in and seated before the 5:30PM start. Knowing that I would be leaving early I positioned myself in a position to do so without generating any fuss.#

Posters, FMHPosters, FMH IIThe light, just after openingThe light IIThe light IIIThe PlatformStarting to fill upSister actJanet Alder, Christine Buchholz, Amy Leather and chair Naima OmarFull panelChristine, Tina and JanetFilling upFilling up IIThe Light IVTina, Christine, JanetFilling up IIIFilling up IVFilling up VTina, Christine, Janet, Amy, NaimaAlmost ready to startPanelalmost starting time

Panel II
The panel for the final rally – Tina McVeigh, Christine Buchholz, Janet Alder, Amy Leather and chair Naima Omar

Filling Up VIFilling up VII

THE RALLY ITSELF

A little later (but only a little) than originally intended chair Naima Omar got things started.

Naima opens the rally

The first speaker to be introduced was Dublin councillor Tina McVeigh, who talked inspiringly about the current Irish political scene, and reminded us of the recent triumph for progressive forces in that part of the world, the repeal of the 8th, about which her compatriots Mary and Siomha had spoken so movingly during the Opening Rally. 

Tina McVeigh speaks
Tina McVeigh making her speech

The team

 

The picture above shows The Team, the people who keep the event running smoothly, act as first point of contact for queries etc. This is a challenging and exhausting task (I did it six times myself, so I know whereof I write).

The second speaker was Christine Buchholz of Die Linke, a member of the German parliament, and virtually bilingual. She gave us a direct account of fighting against the rise of the far right in mainland Europe (Germany being one of the places where this is a particularly hot topic at the moment).

Naima introduces Christine
Naima Introduces Christine

Christine starts her speechChristine Buchholz

Third to speak was Janet Alder, whose brother Christopher, a former soldier, was killed while in police custody. This is bad enough, but what followed was if anything even worse – while consistently refusing to reveal the truth about what had happened to Christopher the police also used resources that should have been used to investigate the death to spy on Janet instead (similar to how Doreen Lawrence was spied on by those who were supposed to be investiagting her son’s murder). Janet told us about the campaign, which has now been running fior almost 20 years to get justice done – to this day Christopher’s killers remain unpunished. It was at the end of this speech that I left the event.

Janet Alder
Janet Alder

Standing ovation for Janet IIIStanding ovation for Janet IV

The two pictures above show the response to Janet’s speech.

HOMEWARD BOUND

There was a train nominally for Cambridge and King’s Lynn leaving just after 7PM, which I managed to be on. An announcement by the driver told us that they hoped to be able to split at Cambridge and travel onwards to King’s Lynn but that they may not be able to because there had been problems, so I prepared myself to change at Cambridge (I have a justifiably low opinion of Great Northern, so I given two possibilities I naturally assumed that the worse would eventuate). In the event my assessment was correct, and those of travelling beyond Cambridge did have to change trains, so I arrived back at almost exactly nine o’clock.

St Pancras
St Pancras Station from the far side of the Euston Road
Ely Cathedral
Ely Cathedral

Marxism 2015 10: Monday Morning

A personal account of the two meetings I attended on the Monday morning at Marxism 2015, with some photographs and a link to an old blog post.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my series of posts about Marxism 2015, the five-day political festival in central London, organised by the Socialist Workers Party. In this post, which I hope some of you will enjoy enough to share, I shall be covering the last two regular meetings before the final rally.

TWO SPLENDID MEETINGS

HOW BIG PHARMA STOPS US MAKING PROGRESS

This meeting, in Nunn Hall, where a lot of the meetings that appealed to me seemed to be taking place, was an excellent start to the final day of this great event.

Speaker Camilla Royle and the chair before the meeting started.
Speaker Camilla Royle and the chair before the meeting started.
The book being advertised at this meeting - and having borrowed it from the library a while back I can confirm that it is a splendid read.
The book being advertised at this meeting – and having borrowed it from the library a while back I can confirm that it is a splendid read.
Camilla giving her opening speech.
Camilla giving her opening speech.
The timetable for Monday.
The timetable for Monday.

I will limit myself to one story from that meeting – a tale of how 73 trials of which 37 gave the right result and 36 the wrong were spun by a combination of suppression and deceit into 48 successful trials and 3 failures – this is how the pharmaceutical industry chooses to conduct itself.

PEGIDA AND THE FIGHT AGAINST RACISM, FASCISM AND ISLAMAPHOBIA IN GERMANY

This was the last of the regular meetings I attended at the event, and it was superb. The main speaker, Christine Buchholz, a member of Die Linke talked about the rapid rise of Pegida and then the counter to them – appearing everywhere they did in bigger numbers. This of course is the way the Anti-Nazi League in this country dealt with the National Front and then in the 1990s with the first rise of the BNP, also how Unite Against Fascism dealt with the EDL and the second rise of the BNP – confront them, never let them have a moment’s peace and make it abundantly clear that there are more of us than there are of them. Check out this early blog post of mine on the matter.

A membership form for Unite Against Fascism.
A membership form for Unite Against Fascism.

Mention was also made of the brief and spectacularly ill-starred Pegida UK, which was really the absolute rump of the EDL and BNP, and never gathered any momentum. For examples of what happens of you do not take these people head on Holland and Austria where there are very major fascist organizations were cited (France with Front National being too well known to need much of a mention).

Here are some final photos…

Displays in the foyer area between the Logan and Jeffrey halls (the Drama Studio is also in this area).
Displays in the foyer area between the Logan and Jeffrey halls (the Drama Studio is also in this area).

DSCN9172 DSCN9174

Speaker and Chair before the meeting
Speaker and Chair before the meeting
Christine Buchholz during her opening speech.
Christine Buchholz during her opening speech.