On Sun, 14 Nov 1999, Gerald Levy wrote:
> A step forward into the 21st century with a leap backwards into the
> 1970's? The agenda reminds me of "educational conferences" held in
> Oberlin, Ohio in August in the 70's on years when there wasn't a
> party convention.
While this type of "educational conference" may be old hat for you and
maybe a few other people, many younger Marxists may not have the benefit
of your years in the movement. The primary reason for this type of
conference is to allow a broad section of socialists a chance to discuss,
debate and learn - not only about "classic" marxist or socialist theory
but also to learn from Marxists from around the world, including the USA,
Britian, Pakistan, Indonesia and many others.
One of the strengths (and I will admit I am bias here) of the DSP &
Resistance is its emphasis on education as well as activist/movement work.
We run a number of educational camps, party schools and education seminars
a year -both at district and national levels as well as branch levels. WE
are aware that people come to the movement at different ages and with
different levels of knowledge (the youngest DSP member is about
15 with the oldest in their 80's and Resistance who is for socialist youth
under 26 has membership that ranges from 12 years to 26 years). We can
not expect our members to fight for our politics and for socialism and
revolution, if they don't understand the reasons why and the theory's
behind why socialists hold certain positions... this is why theory and
education is of vital importance.
The first "education conference" I attended was the April 1998 Asia
Pacific conference run by the DSP and I was 32 at the time (a late
bloomer when it comes to Marxism, though I had been a "leftie" for a
number of years). The Asia Pacific confernce was in someways similar
in structure to this one. While it was overwhelming in that there was
just so much to take in and learn, I found it incrediably valuable. It
gave me the opportunity to met with like minded activists and to learn
about things I had only a small about of knowledge about (esp many
international issues) as well as have a sense of solidarity and
understanding of where the socialist movement was heading world wide.
> Even some of the names are the same (e.g. Caroline Lund, Malik Miah, Barry
> Sheppard). Barry Sheppard! (a name I had hoped and expected to never hear
> again) - the former (SWP) party hack perhaps best known for expelling his
> own father.
The people you have mentioned above are now with Solidarity. As for being
hacks, I don't know as I have very little knowledge about them other than
they had been previously with the US SWP before it descended into its
present state , but I will be keeping an open mind when I attend at least
one of the workshops given by Barry Sheppard.
The DSP has tried to build solidarity with as many international groups as
possible and has extended them the invitation to come and discuss politics
in their regions. This is one of the strengths of the conference.
> I know I won't be attending this conference - I've already been there. I
> can even tell you how it will end.
Please do tell! It will be interesting to see if your "predictions" come
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