Sunday, January 21, 2007

Socialist Youth Network

It will always be difficult for the Labour party while in government to persuade leftie young people to join and get involved. But it does seem to me important that there is a group which people can get involved in, is enjoyable to be part of, and which offers an alternative to the options of joining some small and often unpleasant group, not being able to get involved at all in political activity.

As part of John McDonnell's campaign, a group called Socialist Youth Network has been set up, and it held its founding conference last weekend. There were about 80-odd people there, and as far as I could see it was a good day, with speeches from John McDonnell, Tony Benn and Katy Clark and several hours spent discussing political ideas in a good natured way on a wide range of issues. Afterwards, many of the people attending stayed around to socialise, which is usually a good sign. Anyone who was wanting to find out more about leftie campaigning and ideas, but who hadn't previously been involved would, I think, have had a good time and wanted to get more involved.

I am writing about this because I read a couple of reports of the event which make it sound like it was a less enticing alternative to a visit to the dentist. Any network like this will always be a magnet for tiny groups which have failed to build a socialist alternative to Labour and who haven't grasped that their method of operating is part of the problem not part of the solution. But they weren't representative of the people attending, and didn't get the chance to spend hours disputing whether or not Hugo Chavez is a socialist or Bonapartist or other similar helpful activities. Much better reports on the event can be found here here and here.

There's more info on the website about upcoming events. To continue its good work requires more people to get involved who think it is important to reach out to young people who are disillusioned with the government but should be Labour supporters.


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