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Arbetarpartiets andra kongress hölls i Umeå den 1-3 mars 2013. Här nedan återger vi intryck kring kongressen från Roger Silverman, initiativtagare till det socialistiska nätverket Workers’ International Network (WIN) som Arbetarpartiet har inlett ett samarbete med.

Last weekend, on behalf of WIN I attended the conference of the Umea comrades in northern Sweden.

This visit had some resonance for me. My first visit from the centre on becoming the CWI fulltimer in 1973 – exactly forty years ago almost to the day – was to Umea to sign up our very first group of comrades outside Britain and Ireland. The Umea group remained ever since a stronghold of the Swedish section of the CWI, winning a strong base in the town, including a presence on the local council.

A couple of years ago the entire Umea membership broke away from the CWI Swedish section in a revolt against the sectarian and bureaucratic practices of the national centre. The comrades have adopted the name the Workers’ Party. They have a large office, a regular paper, a local councillor, and an active membership, almost all of whom attended the entire three-day conference.

The conference was impressive – exemplary in terms of theoretical level, organisational efficiency, and morale. There were sessions on Swedish perspectives; on a newly-written document on dual power; on recruitment, both locally and on a national scale; and on building the international. I have to correct a mistake in my earlier message about this conference: it did not after all pass a resolution to affiliate to WIN. That is because that decision had already been taken at a previous meeting! The conference warmly endorsed their affiliation to WIN, and many comrades explicitly expressed their renewed hope and optimism at finding themselves once again part of an international – and this time one in which they can feel unalloyed confidence.

The conference was also the occasion for some very welcome reunions. A comrade (one of the founder members of the Umea branch in 1973, and a former IEC member of the CWI who had parted company with the CWI twenty years ago) had travelled specially from Stockholm with his wife, to make contact with the Workers’ Party and to link up with me again. And, no less important, two founder members of the CWI section in Denmark, who had since then joined and then parted company with the IMT also came to the conference specially to meet with the Umea comrades and to re-establish contact with me and with WIN. All three comrades are keen to work with WIN and can play an invaluable role.

Just as the original Umea group played a key part in establishing the first foundation stones of the CWI forty years ago, so too will our Umea comrades today play an even more crucial role in developing WIN and helping build the basis of the new international. I urge them to contribute their own political ideas and practical advice to the full on our list and at our meetings. To begin with, since this message only gives my own sketchy personal impression of the conference, I hope they will send us a fuller report of their own. We have so much to learn from these comrades.

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