Despite the NUJ not officially supporting any political party, the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) took an active role at the NUJ Delegate Meeting in Southport this year.
Although other campaign groups were present – Stop The War Coalition, Palestinian Solidarity Campaign – the SWP was the only political party with a visible presence, with members chairing fringe meetings and selling the Socialist Worker.
A fringe meeting on Saturday entitled ‘Reporting Revolutions’ was chaired by the SWP and heard the experiences of photographer Jess Hurd who had been in Egypt during the recent revolutionary activity there.
The SWP has declared its opposition to the NATO military intervention in Libya. An article on the SWP website reads: “Nobody should believe that military intervention in Libya by Britain, France and the US will bring democracy and freedom… No to military intervention!”
Prominent SWP member David Crouch of the Financial Times was a panelist at a fringe meeting on Friday, chaired by the Stop The War Coalition, and demanded an end to the military intervention in Libya, saying that the British public was wrongly being “buttered up” by the media to support the intervention.
An emergency motion asking for the NUJ to declare opposition to the military intervention in Libya, affixed to a motion on the Egyptian revolution, was debated by delegates in the Floral Hall. Despite Bristol being the only branch speaking in opposition, the motion fell and the DM did not declare opposition to the NATO military intervention in Libya.
A diverse union
Donnacha Delong, incoming president of the union, responding to the statement that the SWP was the only political party active at the DM commented: “There are a lot of SWP members who are strong workplace reps” but pointed out that the union has members from an amalgam of political parties, he himself being an anarchist.
At Saturday’s fringe meeting David Crouch pointed out: “You can take sides in a political conflict and still be a brilliant journalist”. Other journalists present at the DM generally accepted that one could support a political party and still be a good journalist.