REPORT FROM THE CNWP OFFICERS MEETING JAN 28 2010

PRESENT: Dave Nellist; Greg Maughan; Pete McLaren; Hannah Sell; Andy Price; Terry Pearce

APOLOGIES: Gerry Byrne; Clara Pyard; Francesco Paris; Roger Bannister; Glen Kelly

REPORT FROM OCTOBER STEERING COMMITTEE – agreed as correct with no matters arising

COALITION FOR THE GENERAL ELECTION

Dave Nellist reported there had now been 6 meetings of the 'Core Group', which consisted of the SP, CPB, AGS, IWA and RMT. In December, the RMT decided not to affiliate, but a number of leading members decided to support the initiative in a personal capacity, and local RMT branches would be able to support coalition candidates. The CPB subsequently withdrew its organisationl support, but agreed to support individual candidates. In January, following the January 7th Core Group meeting, the AGS withdrew its support whilst agreeing to work alongside Coalition candidates, claiming that the SP had reneged on the Coalition's founding agreement.

Despite these impending and actual withdrawals, the Core Group meeting on January 7th had agreed a name – Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) – and a programme. 10% of general election seats would be contested by TUSC, which already had the support of two Trade Union General Secretaries and one Deputy Secretary. There was enthusiastic support in a number of localities, including Wigan, Brighton, Coventry, Portsmouth, Carlisle and Merseyside. A meeting was taking place in Scotland to promote TUSC this weekend involving the CWU, PCS, RMT, FBU, Solidarity and Lanarkshire Socialist Alliance. Increasing numbers were getting involved with TUSC and, although at this stage it was no more than another step towards a new Party, Bob Crow was amongst those already publicly calling for a new Party after the General Election. He felt the progress made overall was positive, taking us further than we could have predicted twelve months ago.

Terry Pearce reported on community activity against spending cuts in Bracknell, and argued TUSC should be part of such campaigns, especially as Council elections were likely to be on the same day as the General Election. He was uneasy about the way TUSC had been set up, feeling a certain mysticism surrounded the Core Group, although he felt the programme was quite supportable. He argued the CNWP should be represented at the Core Group.

Pete McLaren agreed, adding that he shared many of the concerns amongst the left about the lack of inclusivity and openness. It was difficult to find out what was going on, although he appreciated individual reports regularly given him by Dave Nellist, and Clive Heemskirk had given a positive and informative report to the Left Unity Liaison Committee in late December. He was concerned that organisations had to prove their 'social weight' before being able to get involved, and felt that with the RMT, CPB and AGS withdrawals, there was not really a Coalition as such. It was therefore important to include other supportive organisations – the Socialist Alliance had written on three separate occasions offering support and requesting involvement at national level. He also briefly referred to the AGS decision to withdraw, arguing their publicly stated reasons amounted to a sectarian attack on the SP. He concluded by explaining that despite his concerns, he fully supported TUSC and was already urging others to do so.

Hannah Sell explained that TUSC was a modest project, and at one time the SP was unsure there would even be a General Election coalition. The RMT and CPB had hesitated because of their fears of a Tory government if Labour was not supported. The Coalition was now off the ground, and three local RMT branches had already pledged support. The AGS attitude at the Core Group had put trade unionists off the left which did not help pressing for wider involvement.

In reply to the discussion, Dave Nellist reiterated the concerns trade unions had about doing anything to let the Tories in. He outlined how other organisations were now coming on board – the DLP was discussing it, and the SWP, with six General election candidates, had asked to be part of TUSC. The ability to stand candidates was more important than anything else when putting together a left coalition for the General Election as opposed to building a new Party. The Core Group would look objectively at requests to get on board from all supportive organisations at its meeting this evening, but it would be concerned at involvement from those who had a history of using such initiatives purely for their own benefit.

Arising out of the discussion, the following were agreed:

  • The CNWP fully supports the TUSC and requests a representative on its Core Group/Steering Committee
  • The CNWP agrees an initial fund of £500 to pay for transport to TUSP national committee meetings
  • The CNWP agrees in principle to make a donation to TUSC, the amount to be decided later

EXTENDED STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING and CNWP CONFERENCE 2010

It was agreed to hold the following meetings/conference:

Extended Steering Committee - all CNWP members invited to join Steering Committee members in March:

Dave Nellist agreed to write to members publicising what we have been

doing, advising of arrangements for the Extended Steering Committee and

Conference, and promoting membership

Officers Meeting – to be held on a weekday night within two weeks of the General Election to assess the

General Election and confirm arrangements for the Conference

CNWP Conference – unless TUSC was calling a Founding Conference for a new Party, the CNWP

Annual Conference to build for a new Party would be held in June. It would be used to

encourage membership

FRINGE MEETINGS AT TRADE UNION CONFERENCES

It was agreed to hold CNWP Fringe Meetings at all main TU Conferences

NATIONAL AND LOCALCAMPAIGN AGAINST PUBLIC SPENDING CUTS

Terry Pearce argued for CNWP involvement in all anti cuts campaigns, including encouragement of Public Meetings. He hoped TUSC policy on opposing cuts could be hardened up, and that the CNWP anti cuts leaflet should be updated. Dave Nellist suggested we should also produce a guide on becoming a councilor for community groups to use.

CNWP PUBLICITY

It was agreed to update and re-print the CNWP postcard, business card, anti cuts leaflet and folded A4 CNWP leaflet with membership application form

WEB SITE AND FACE BOOK

Greg Maughan reported increasing numbers were using our web site with 12,227 hits so far in January coming from 3045 individual visitors. Following a members circular on the subject, one of the most popular pages in January was the report on the launch of the TUSC. As well as direct requests and Google, a high number of visitors came from the CNWP Facebook group. He suggested we update the web site twice a week in the build up to the General Election.

FINANCE AND MEMBERSHIP

Greg Maughan reported a balance of £6,183.82 despite a slight dip in Membership Standing Orders. We now had 3934 supporters, of which 241 were members, an increase of just 9 members since the Steering Committee in late October which was a concern we would now address with the measures agreed, and the letter Dave Nellist was sending to members could also be sent to supporters with a membership application form.

REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST CONVENTION

Pete McLaren outlined the agenda for the Convention which was part of the build up to the General Election. It was agreed Terry Pearce would speak at the Convention on behalf of the CNWP

Pete McLaren 29/01/10

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