The annual European summer school, organised by the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI), was attended by around 400 people in July. The CWI is the international organisation to which the Socialist Party in Australia is affiliated.
Delegates to the week-long school came from all over the world, including three from Australia.
The school was held in Barcelona, the main city of Catalonia in the Spanish state. It marked one year since the unification of the CWI and another socialist organisation, Izquerdia Revolucionaria (IR).
Much has happened since the unification, with Catalonia being engulfed in turmoil after the Catalan people were denied a vote on independence.
While the school was incredibly educational, it also included an element of action. A rally was held calling for a socialist Catalan republic. This public event was attended by many local activists and movement leaders.
Huge upheavals have taken place right across the world in the past year, not just in the Spanish state. Capitalism faces a deep crisis, with Trump provoking a trade war that not only threatens to throw the world economy in chaos but will also aggravate the imperialist rivalries that already exist.
A decade on from the global financial crisis people are still feeling the pinch. Wealth inequality has increased, stoking anger and a deep distrust of the entire political establishment.
People consider that the system has failed them, and in many countries there is renewed interest in socialism. The popularity of figures like Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders are examples of this changing mood.
The school was an opportunity for socialists from different parts of the world to come together to discuss politics and share their experiences. This makes us better equipped to wage struggles in our own areas, and strengthens the fight against global capitalism as a whole.
A wide variety of topics were discussed at the school, including world relations, the crisis facing the EU, repression in China and Hong Kong, the fight for women’s liberation and campaigns to combat the far-right.
For me, one of the best parts of the school was getting to meet people from around the world who are all engaged in different yet interlinked struggles.
It was amazing to hear from people in Ireland who led the fight for abortion rights, those on the front line against Trump in the US, and socialists from Nigeria who have finally won the right to register a party and run in elections.
We were able to discuss some of the exciting trade union struggles happening around the world including the West Virginian teachers’ strikes and the illegal strikes of crane drivers in China.
The school helped explain that the fight for socialism in each country is linked by a chain of oppression. We are all exploited in different ways but the source is always the same, the capitalist class.
Overcoming this exploitation and oppression requires a global perspective and a solution aimed at uniting working class people around the world.
Every moment at the school was inspiring, and the education I received was second to none. Words cannot fully describe the new-found energy and knowledge I have gained from being able to attend.
There are some things that you cannot fully learn just from reading. You must actively discuss, debate and engage in struggle in order to take in all of the lessons. The CWI summer school reaffirmed this for me.
I hope to be back soon.
By Kai Perry