Ireland: Socialist Youth fight the system

"It was an inspiring not to say informative experience. Around 100 young people took part in the conference. A number of discussions took place on the developments that are taking place across the world, especially the US war drive and how to fight it, the situation facing young people in Ireland, and how to build the influence of SY. This gave a flavour of the increased thirst for socialist ideas among workers but mainly young people.

Socialist Youth (SY) in Ireland, North and South, the affiliated youth organisation to International Socialist Resistance (ISR), held its second yearly national conference on 1st Septmber 2002. Zena Awad, an ISR member from England was invited to address the meeting, speaking on the post-S11 situation, the Middle East crisis and US plans to conduct war against Iraq. CWI.

"The day before the conference, I was invited to help run an SY street stall in the centre of Dublin. This was to build for the conference and to petition against the arms trade. We had a ’wall of shame’ placard exposing the obscenity of international arms expenditure and the huge number of war deaths. We argued our demands on a megaphone. I found there was anger from most people against this profit-driven trade and an excellent response to the campaign to end it. Young people were stopping at the stall, giving donations before signing the petition.

"The SY held a rally of around 60 people on the same day. Half of those in attendance were new. They had picked up a leaflet or read the posters advertising the rally on the streets of Dublin.

"The next day, during the SY conference, three new people attended and took part in the discussions. The high level of the contributions and enthusiasm of all those in attendance was very inspiring, especially considering the SY founding conference was only a year ago. The brilliant work done by our Irish comrades has resulted in the SY winning people in schools, colleges and universities as well as establishing new branches in working class communities.

"SY is an independent youth organisation, which is linked to the Socialist Party (CWI section in Ireland). The party is well known as the ’party of Joe Higgins’, Socialist Party TD (MP) in the Irish parliament, the Dail. Joe lives on a worker’s wage, putting the rest of his MP’s wage into community and Socialist Party campaigns. He is, "the red money can’t buy", according to one newspaper.

In Northern Ireland, SY has built a reputation as a youth organisation that brings together Catholic and Protestant youth in a struggle against sectarianism and the pro-capitalist political parties. The work of the SY comrades from Derry City, which they relayed to the conference, was a real inspiration.

"Congratulations to our comrades in Northern and Southern Ireland, for the consistency and seriousness of their work, and for keeping it up."

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September 2002