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Training tomorrow's trade union militants
Matt Whale, Chesterfield Socialist Party
The East Midlands region ran a successful event to help train newer Socialist Party unionists how to work effectively in their union. A dozen mostly young members from five different unions attended the day school in Chesterfield on 20 September.
The event was run by Dave Gorton, East Midlands Socialist Party trade union organiser. Dave introduced the opening discussion on our party's history in the movement and our role as Marxists in the workplace.
Everyone was encouraged to raise issues or ask questions on matters in their own workplace. These ranged from problems that arise in multiple workplaces to being asked to represent people with racist views.
The afternoon session featured some role play. We simulated a union branch meeting, complete with agenda, reports and motions. We had to decide if and when to intervene as if we were the only Socialist Party member present. This was a great opportunity for us to ask questions on terminology. We also learnt some different approaches the party may take to the same issue, depending on the mood of the workers and the meeting.
Finally there was a brief introduction to casework, aimed at us looking beyond each individual member's problems to see recurring patterns in a workplace.
In the pub afterwards (run by local party member Trevor Maris!) all of us agreed the day was a huge success. We're going to meet again next year to discuss how we've been able to apply the skills we learnt. This will be vital for each of us to carry on the key work of our party in building and galvanising trade union activity.
If your region is interested in knowing a bit more about the day school, or even want Dave to come and run something similar, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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