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From: Socialist Party docs British Perspectives 2008, 1 March 2008: Party document, March 2008. This document was debated at the Socialist Party congress in March 2008 and agreed.

Search site for keywords: British economy - Young people


We are on the cusp of an end to 15 years of uninterrupted growth, albeit lopsided, in the British economy.

This will unquestionably have political consequences. But we cannot yet judge how quickly, or the precise direction they will take. However, it is absolutely clear that one trend, the most important trend for us, will be a more widespread questioning of the capitalist system and a growing layer drawing socialist conclusions.

In fact this is already taking place with an important layer of young people and workers. However, even or perhaps especially, amongst the most radicalised young people hesitation and doubt over the question of the need for a party still exists.

This does not apply to all young people, as we have shown by the very important layer we have been able to win to our ranks.

Nonetheless, one of the manifestations of this strand of consciousness is the number of people who are currently watching our party, often eagerly attending our meetings, but who are not yet willing to make the commitment of joining.

We have to attempt to convince this layer to join us now or, if they are not yet prepared to join, to take a subscription to our publications and give us regular donations.

However, we also have to recognise that it will be partly on the basis of experience of struggle that they will draw the conclusion that our party is not just a party with 'interesting ideas' and 'good activists' but is essential to them in their struggles.

We should not imagine that we are going to continue to recruit at our current rate. The Militant Tendency had around 1500 supporters in 1978. In less than a decade we had reached 8,000 members and led major class battles. Thirty years on and we are a party with far more experience and relative weight in the movement than we had in 1978.

Consciousness today is more complicated, the specific weight of the labour movement is weaker but capitalism is less capable of meeting the needs of the British working class.

At the same time the very holding back of struggle over the last decade means it is going to erupt suddenly and explosively in the coming years as workers decide they cannot take anymore.

Consciousness will also make sudden leaps forward as it catches up with objective reality. We have to prepare our party for these events. Our most important preparatory task is to win and politically educate those of the new generation who are already open to socialist ideas, in order that we are strong enough to take full advantage of the stormy events ahead.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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