Report from Scottish Young Labour Conference 2017

By Scottish Labour Young Socialist activist, Aiden Anthony O’Rourke.

SLYS won the full executive committee slate at SYL conference this month, on the back of CFS success in winning five seats on the SEC, which once again shows the changing dynamics within the Labour Party in Scotland. The situation facing Labour in Scotland is a difficult one; we’re still dealing with the legacy left by Tony Blair, whose policies left so many across Britain worse off; we find ourselves squeezed between two contending nationalisms; we suffer in the polls thanks to continued efforts, within and without, to undermine our Party’s leadership; but despite this, one thing we can never be accused of is a lack of optimism for the future – we have hope, because we know that our ideas, our strategy and our determination will lead us to victory.

We’re grateful to everyone who attended conference, to all those who contributed to the discussions which took place, and to everyone who made this conference the success that it was. In the months ahead, we can be proud that SYL passed motions on policy which will see us campaign against the austerity we face on a Scottish, and UK wide basis. There is no doubt that in order to lead the resistance to austerity, and to regain the trust of the electorate in Scotland, we must be seen as the democratic socialist party we claim to be. It is for this reason that we voted for mandatory reselection, to ensure that the representatives of our movement are just that, people trusted and chosen by our membership – the heart of our party.

We expressed anger at the shocking behaviour of the so called trade union Community, whose scab tactics have undermined the harmony of our movement, and which we utterly condemn. We outlined our commitment to stronger BME outreach across the Labour party, to end period poverty, to support free transport, to support free education, and to nationalise the ‘big six’. Our priorities need to be adjusted, we need to ensure that we invest in our future, which is why we demand an end to Trident and a withdrawal from the imperialist NATO alliance. As the party of the working class, it is vital that we dedicate ourselves to eradicating poverty, that we tackle the need for our people to rely on foodbanks, and that we construct new homes, schools and hospitals; rather than spend billions on useless relics such as Trident, which serve our people far better left in the past where they belong.

SLYS went to SYL conference full of confidence, because we got ourselves organised. Our success shows that when the left organises we win, and when we win, Labour wins. Now the hard graft begins: we will fight for the implementation of radical policies that will put our movement back on track; we will organise political education to give our young members the best chance of interpreting, and overcoming, the challenges that face our generation; alongside grassroots Labour activists and trade unionists, we will lead the charge for success in the upcoming local elections; most importantly, we will take inspiration from the heroic struggles of the international working class – our labour movement – and strive to ensure the victory of our movement on the road ahead. We humbly ask you to join us in that fight.

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