Socialist Party Summer School 2023: An uplifting and inspiring event

Last weekend, the Socialist Party held its annual four-day Summer School in the stunning surroundings of Glendalough, Co.Wicklow. Over 140 people attended the event, including 20 guests from International Socialist Alternative from Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Scotland, England, Denmark, Germany, Canada and Belgium. Fifty-three members did introductions or sum-ups on topics as diverse as “Why capitalism needs the gender binary”, “A revolution drowned in blood–50 years since the coup in Chile”, “Transphobia, homophobia, misogyny, racism & far-right threat — Marxist approach to fighting oppression”, “The revolutionary ideas of Jose Carlos Mariátegui Latin America”, “Understanding the workings of a capitalist economy in crisis”, “175 years since the Communist Manifesto”, “Ecological catastrophe — socialism and de-growth–what should we say”, The strike wave in the North and Britain: Our programme to win victories” to name just a few. Below is some feedback from those that attended.

“My experience at the socialist summer camp was energising and had a long-lasting effect on my outlook and perspective. It was genuinely pleasant to meet other like-minded people who were not just enthusiastic about socialism but also willing to share and learn. There was a strong sense of camaraderie among the attendees, which fostered openness and intellectual curiosity. I gained a deeper knowledge of socialism’s complexity through talks that covered a wide range of topics, from economics and history to social philosophy and activism. Each commission I took part in allowed me to gain new insights that expanded my perspective.

The tone at the camp was one of optimism and group empowerment. In the camp, there was a feeling of community that made making new friends effortless. Exploring the histories of socialist organizations and revolutions that have arisen around the world such as in Chile and Russia, was one of the experience’s most fascinating elements. Learning about the challenges and achievements encountered by these movements gave the pursuit of a socialist society a global perspective.” – Grace (Westmeath)

“My favourite parts were the informal discussions, talking to others about national questions elsewhere. My ultimate favourite was the discussion on the communist manifesto, it was really inspiring.” – Aoife (Belfast)

“I thought the weekend was excellent with a wide variety of discussions and excellent lead-offs. It was particularly great to see so many new and young comrades being involved in the lead-offs.” – Thomas (Belfast)

“My experience at Wicklow was very positive. Despite having only recently joined the party, I found that most people were very welcoming and accommodating., The discussions in and out of the events were lively and energetic, and I definitely feel that this event has greatly contributed to my political education. Of particular note was the focus of issues of oppression and how to provide a Marxist analysis and solution to them.

Before going, I felt quite pessimistic about the possibility of creating socialism. But listening to the party’s detailed account of history, both of our party and of the socialist movement at large, has shown me that the actions we take now matter and can effect the socialist movement well into the future.” – Sophie (Dublin North)

“Besides the political education, one of the best things about the Summer School is meeting up with other comrades both National and International. As an activist, work is often intense and non-stop, which sometimes only gives time to discuss with other branches over Zoom, so being able to sit down with other comrades, and talk about the work you’re doing and the work they’re doing, is extremely beneficial. I have taken home just as much from these interactions – sharing our perspectives, experiences and knowledge – as I have from the commissions. All the commissions, followed by sharp political discussions, mixed both theory and practical application. The weekend is also a great boost, and reminder, that we have the support of having a democratic and open organisation behind us as activists. Even the socials in the evenings were really inspiring. Songs were written and performed over the weekend about the activism we are doing and the most beautiful and powerful revolutionary poetry I have ever heard.” Steph (Limerick)

“I have been a Socialist Party member for just under three years, and this was my second time attending the annual summer school. This year I was tasked with doing my first leadoff for a summer school talk on the War in Ukraine, which greatly helped my own political development as it pushed me to develop a much deeper understanding of the topic.

In fact, in the lead-up to the event, there were a number of younger or newer members who were also tasked with doing leadoffs for various talks. Seeing this, one of my main takeaways from the whole event was that our organisation is one that is growing, not just numerically, but qualitatively, and continues to place significant importance on the political development of young people.” – Summer (Dublin City) 

The Socialist Party summer School was a great opportunity for me, a young woman who is building the International Socialist Alternative (ISA) in Brazil.

The event has flicked on a switch turned in my head, illustrating so clearly that we are building something inspiring and revolutionary.

The commissions on how we socialists are going to act in the face of the horrors of imperialist conflict, against climate change and for the end of all oppression, have aided my growth politically.

But also, in a space like this, you learn inside the formal meetings and outside of them, with enriching informal conversations too with comrades where we reflect on our work internationally.

I leave here inspired to study Marxism and continue the struggle of the working class and oppressed.

This camp has marked my life politically and I return with more conviction of the task of building the ISA in Latin America.

As the international anthem says “‘Peace among us, war to the tyrants” !

For the end of capitalism in Latin America and the world.” Ana Vitoria (Brazil)

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