REPORT FROM TUSC STEERING COMMITTEE 20/01/16

IN ATTENDANCE: Sean Hone, Paul McDonnell (RMT); Dave Nellist (Chair); Clive Heemskerk (National Agent); Hannah Sell (SP); Pete McLaren (independent socialist); Charlie Kimber (SWP)

PREPARING FOR THE MAY 2016 ELECTIONS

a) Coventry by-election draft press release

The Press Statement called for a meeting with Jeremy Corbyn to discuss how to resist the latest round of cuts. It explained that this appeal to the Labour leader influenced the recommendation not to stand a TUSC candidate in Lower Stoke ward, Coventry, at this particular point in time. The by-election had been called at very short notice, and the Steering Committee had been given less than 24 hours to approve the candidate. It was generally felt that more time was needed to work out how best to respond to the post Corbyn situation, particularly given Corbyn’s anti austerity platform, and the fact that Momentum’s first national meeting was in a couple of week’s time. The Press Statement made clear we were not standing down generally. Points made in the discussion included:

§ Corbyn’s and Mcdonnell’s letter to Labour councilors just before Christmas had fallen short of calling for all out opposition to cuts and talked about not setting illegal budgets

§ We must oppose cuts and continue to stand candidates

§ We should aim for the 413 candidates needed this May for an election broadcast.

§ It’s a complicated situation. Tactical decisions are needed. We can not stand everywhere.

§ Jeremy Corbyn is anti-austerity but the Labour party is not.

It was agreed the Press Statement be put on the web site

b) Approving the Candidates & Agents Guide and timetable

The draft timetable was agreed. Key dates included holding SC meetings on Feb 24 and March 23 to process candidate applications, with the Nomination period beginning on March 7 and ending on April 7, 4pm

c) Campaign materials

Local TUSC groups had requested a leaflet which could be overprinted with local content. A one-side A4 leaflet design was agreed, to be printed and advertised for sale on the website.

TUSC ‘DON’T FUND UKIP’ EU REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN

Clive Heemskerk circulated a TUSC petition calling on the Electoral Commission (EC) not to give state resources to either the ‘Vote Leave’ or ’Leave EU’ campaigns: both were supported by Tory/UKIP and other pro-austerity and racist politicians, and by big business. The EC had the power to name the official Exit campaign, but equally it could be persuaded none of them represented their view adequately. If the EC did select one campaign, it would receive £600,000 and be guaranteed media coverage. With Cameron’s negotiations near completion, the referendum was likely to be in June or September.

Following a discussion, it was agreed to put the petition on the web site and organize a campaign launch press conference, together with a push for signatories, once the referendum date became clear.

TUSC’s STRUCTURES

a) Withdrawal of the ISN from the TUSC SC

Correspondence between TUSC and the ISN had been circulated with the ISN announcing that they were withdrawing from TUSC following a decision at their AGM on December 5th. This included ending their participation in the SC as the organisation representing non-aligned members of TUSC within the coalition.

b) Independents’ representation: proposals from Pete McLaren

The Paper from Pete McLaren outlined how TUSC had set up the ISN, the positive role the ISN had played within TUSC, but also the fact that the ISN had failed to represent TUSC supporting independent socialists who had not actually joined it. He referred to the fact that, in the longer term, representation of independents was linked to how TUSC developed an individual membership structure.

A number of positive comments were made about the need to retain representation for independent socialists. Following discussion, the following were agreed:

1. In the short term, the ISN SC ensures adequate time at TUSC conference for independent socialists to meet and elect delegates to the TUSC SC

2. In the meantime, Pete McLaren, as Local Group Development Officer, and an independent socialist, would continue to represent independent socialists on the TUSC SC, and report back to them

3. In the longer term, TUSC would re-establish a Structure Commission to look at membership and how TUSC should develop its structures to ensure all component parts, including independent socialists, are represented on its leading body(s)

FINANCEThe 2015 Annual Accounts were presented and agreed

DATES OF NEXT SC MEETINGS – Wednesdays February 24th and March 23rd were agreed, both 4pm Pete McLaren 31/01/16

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