Socialist Alliance Wales: SSP lessons

The annual general meeting of Cardiff Welsh Socialist Alliance was held on May 22. Ethan Grech reports

 In attendance were 13 comrades, including several members of the Socialist Workers Party, a number of independents and representation from both the Communist Party of Great Britain and Workers Power.

The secretary of the WSA, Julian Goss of the SWP, gave the political report reviewing our performance in the second election to the Welsh national assembly on May 1. It was noted that comrade Raja Gul Raiz, standing in Cardiff Central, achieved the highest result in the five seats contested by the WSA. Comrade Goss drew the conclusion that he was more successful than other WSA candidates - he won a modest 2.7% of the vote - because he was able to mobilise new forces around the muslim community and the anti-war movement.

Comrade Goss was right to conclude that far more could have been achieved. However, in choosing as he did to blame individual WSA members’ lack of activity during the campaign, the comrade adopted an approach to politics from which any lessons of substance are unlikely to follow.

In any case, as the leading officer of the alliance project in the principality, comrade Goss has some explaining to do also. Why no national campaign? Why an on-off alliance? He may, therefore, care to reflect on the reasons why comrades were not suitably motivated to campaign effectively.

As in England, the alliance must be the prelude to a bigger, partyist project. This is why it is pleasing to note that the CPGB’s pro-party motion was passed. Amended, it finally read: “This AGM notes the decision of the WSA conference in 2002 to hold a day school. We call upon the national officers of the WSA to call a second ‘Socialism lives’ day school along the lines of the first one in May 2002. It should be in September or October and include a debate on the ‘the lessons of the Scottish Socialist Party’ with a prominent member of the SSP invited to speak. It should also include debates on the international situation.”

Although comrade Goss was initially none too keen on the motion, the intervention of the likes of Charlie Balch, now on the Socialist Alliance executive, meant that it was passed without any opposition. The motion will be put as a motion by Cardiff WSA to the national council meeting on June 22, which all WSA members can attend and vote at.

Let us hope that the motion will be unanimously supported at this meeting and that no obstacles are placed in its way. The last NC meeting was inquorate - only four members bothered to show. It is time for the WSA to wake up.