Socialist conference set for Derry

Belfast City Council People Before Profit Councillor Gerry Carroll.
Belfast City Council People Before Profit Councillor Gerry Carroll.
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Rights activist Bernadette McAliskey and Belfast Councillor Gerry Carroll will be among those speaking at a major Socialist Conference in Derry this weekend.

The conference will take place at the Playhouse, Artillery Street, this Saturday.

Eamonn McCann and Goretti Horgan, both of whom were due to speak at the event.

Eamonn McCann and Goretti Horgan, both of whom were due to speak at the event.

Other speakers at the event will include Eamonn McCann, Goretti Horgan and Professor Tithi Bhattarachaya of Purdue University, Indiana.

The conference, entitled ‘Time for an Alternative’ will explore gender violence, racism, the possibility of Protestant and Catholic unity in the North, and the fight against austerity and sectarianism in Ireland.

There will also be a radical book fair with a range of literature on topics as diverse as climate change, economic crisis, working class history, music, dance and sexual liberation.

The book fair and registration desk open at 10am in the Playhouse with the first meeting – on gender violence beginning at 11am.

Sean Harkin, one of the organisers of the conference, said: “The poor are getting poorer but the super-rich have never been so wealthy.

“Oxfam reported that the share of the world’s wealth owned by the richest 1% has increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014, while the least well-off 80 currently own just 5.5%. If current trends continue the rich will own more than 50% of the world’s wealth by 2016.”

Mr Harkin added however that “resistance to poverty, zero-contract jobs and cuts to services is spreading”.

“The people of Greece elected a left-wing party committed to reversing austerity. Millions are demanding the same across Europe.

“In Ireland, north and south, people are fighting back against the cuts. Across the north, thousands of people went on strike, marched and rallied last Friday to say no to the Stormont House Agreement. Across the south, a mass movement is saying no to water charges.

“We badly need an alternative based on the needs of the vast majority - but we can also see, from Egypt to Greece to Ireland, the rich will do all they can to stop real change.

“Anyone who wants a world-based on the needs of the vast majority of people, instead of profits and war is welcome at the conference on Sat 21st in the Playhouse. Find us on facebook: Derry Socialism Conference: Time for an Alternative.