Ideas for Freedom 2008: Traditions and Tasks

Submitted by cathy n on 25 August, 2008 - 8:54 Author: Duncan Morrison

“It is the specific duty of the leaders to gain an ever clearer understanding of the theoretical problems, to free themselves more and more from the influence of traditional phrases inherited from the old conception of the world, and constantly to keep in mind that socialism, having become a science, demands the same treatment as every other science — it must be studied.” (Friedrich Engels, The Peasant War in Germany)

One hundred and sixty people attended Workers’ Liberty’s annual Ideas for Freedom event on 11-13 July. It was a vibrant and youthful affair.

The central theme of the school was revolutionary traditions. Sessions focussed on the politics of Simone De Beauvoir, Antonio Gramsci, May 1968, and the Russian Revolution as well as sessions on more topical issues such as the aftermath of the Italian elections, Zimbabwe and the environment.

In addition, there was an “Introduction to Marxism” stream. As with previous events the school featured speakers who disagree with Workers’ Liberty and open debate and argument were encouraged through out the weekend. The purpose of Ideas for Freedom is to educate ourselves with the necessary politics for rebuilding and arming the workers movement for the struggles ahead. The potential for this was emphasised in our discussions with the striking tube cleaners, local government workers and civil servants.

The urgent necessity of the task was clear when we discussed the economic crisis and the fight against fascism. As Rosa Luxemburg put it “It will be socialism or barbarism”. Ideas for Freedom was a contribution to ensuring it will be socialism.

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