By Emilie Tapping
It will not have escaped many delegates’ notice that this year has been a year of discontent and in many ways a year of violence. The controversy of the events on the 10th of November at Millbank and continued violence in London and other cities is definitely a hot topic. Whilst many delegates can probably see the arguments against violence, the Socialist Worker Party, situated in the main entrance, are keen for people to explore both sides of the debate.
Sporting Bergfeld t-shirts and quietly optimistic about the rise of the left, the SWP are supporters of direct action and are leading the fight against cuts. “Collectively we can really try and stop the agenda of austerity that the government are pushing” claims Chas, a regular at protests and long term SWP supported. “I personally think a window is a window, if it gets smashed it gets smashed” says —- “It sounds corny to say ‘damage to society’ but it is huge damage to society… it’s real damage to people’s lives”. Lamenting the damage the government has caused across the world, another SWP-er is outraged “this government claims that we’re violent?… and they call themselves humanitarian? I call them hypocrites!
The use of direct action is something that has been debated time and time again at National Conference and regularly at NEC meetings. There was controversy earlier in the year when outgoing president Porter seemed to support an occupation at UCLU despite having NUS policy against this.