REPORT OF THE SA NEC

SAT JAN 12 2008 Old Joint Stock 2 – 5 pm

Summaries of the discussion are not definitive

MEMBERS PRESENT

Toby Abse, Dave Church, Mike Davies, Pete McLaren, Liz Peck, Rickard Collins

APOLOGIES

Steve Freeman, Gerry Byrne

CORRESPONDENCE

The following items were circulated, after Pete McLaren had drawn members attention to the responses on socialist unity from the AGS and CNWP, the individual letter from Andrew Melville, and the Statement from the TUSP

a) CNWP – Dec Members Letter; Minutes Nov Steering Cttee; Recent Press Releases
b) Dave Landau – TU and Community Conf against immigration Controls Mar 29; Confirmation of Date and venue
c) CPGB – Why not renewing individual SA membership;
d) SA – Membership renewal; To SP re speaking at Socialism; NHS Demo Leaflets; Leaflet for Socialism; Letter to AGS on unity proposal; Letter to CMP
e) HOPI – Revocation of affiliation to STWC; Oct Update; HOPI response to STWC; Jan 8 News letter
f) Electoral Commission – Acceptance of Oct Loan & Donation Returns
g) AGS – Autumn Green Socialist; Response to SA resolution on unity proposal; Nat Cttee discussion; Election information; privatisation pamphlet; December Newsletter
h) Southampton SA – news update
i) Rock Around the Blockade – Cuban speaking tour
k) Brighton Unemployed Workers Centre – donation
l) Andrew Melville – Membership enquiry and some ideas for the SA; Secretary’s response
m) Salma Yaqoob – article on Respect, and the SWP’s antics
n) The United Socialist Party – Statement on the need for a mass workers’ party
o) Defend Council Housing – Lobby of Parliament Jan 22

With reference to

a) the CNWP has rejected our call for a conference to start discussing ways of uniting the left
g) the AGS had given a positive but conditional reply on the same issue
h) There would be elections in May 2008 in Southampton
n) Pete McLaren should email TUSP

MINUTES OF THE SA AGM – for vetting

Mike Davies suggested that in future Minutes be restricted to decisions, with any Reports adding individual comments. It was agreed that the body of the minutes be prefixed with: “Summaries of the discussion are not definitive” or similar. It was also agreed that the approach for future minutes of AGMs and of the NEC should record the formal matters, such as resolutions, amendments and decisions, but not attempt to summarise discussion; but that reports should summarise discussion.

POLICY RESOLUTIONS PASSED AT THE AGM – circulated for information

MEMBERSHIP REPORT

Pete McLaren reported 30 members at the end of 2007. There were already 4 renewals for 2008. It was agreed Pete McLaren chase, by email or post, 2007 members for 2008 subs

FINANCE REPORT

Pete McLaren reported a new balance for Jan 12 of £148.01, with additional expenditure of room hire (£60), Stationary for Greetings Cards (£12) and travel to this meeting (£26), leaving just £92.01 with the additional 2008 subs. He suggested we should only pay the cheapest possible fare for travel to meetings where the date was known well in advance. He also felt the pool fare “cap” could be raised. After a brief discussion, it was agreed the pool fare “cap” remain at £5 unwaged £10 waged. It was agreed to continue the arrangement that members of the committee were expected to use only the cheapest fare reasonably available to them. It was agreed that Pete McLaren and Mike Davies would discuss a system of charging an amount for printing that reflected ‘wear and tear’ It was noted that we need to raise money.

COMMUNICATIONS REPORT

Pete McLaren reported that he had obtained and passed on to Gerry Byrne the passwords etc for the web site

REPORTS FROM LOCAL SOCIALIST ALLIANCES

Southampton: no meeting since Feb 2007;
Rugby Red-Green Alliance: met before Xmas and was meeting again early February;
Coventry and Warwickshire SA: continues to meet monthly, and attendance had slightly improved;
London: no SA, but a number of members. It was agreed to support a joint meeting with the AGS in South London, maybe a debate

CAMPAIGN for a NEW WORKERS’ PARTY REPORT

Pete McLaren reported how the SP had argued at the Steering Committee against the SA call for a conference to start discussing ways of uniting the left, partly because it had become caught up with a WP demand for a new Party to be launched within three months. There was also opposition to ‘bolting together the disparate parts of the left’. He added that CNWP Officers were meeting on Feb 9, Steering Committee in March. In the discussion, there was concern at the general lack of progress. Dave Church wondered what the SP’s aim for the CNWP actually was. He could not understand why the CNWP could not have membership.

REPORT FROM THE AGS

Mike Davies tabled a report on AGS activity plus copies of the autumn Green Socialist journal

REPORT FROM SOCIALIST GREEN UNITY COALITION

Pete McLaren reported the SGUC had met 3 Nov 2007, and would meet again soon. Mike Davies reported he had written to Bob Crowe and the RMT about London elections but no reply. He would again write to “competitors” seeking to avoid clashes. The partners were agreeing joint policies for local elections

DATES OF AND VENUE FOR 2008 NEC MEETINGS

The following, all booked for 2 – 5pm, were approved:
Sat March 1 - Old Joint Stock, Birmingham;
Sat May 10 Lucas Arms, Grays Inn Rd, London;
Sat July 5 - Lucas Arms, Grays Inn Rd, London

OTHER ACTIVITIES TO PROMOTE

a) Election of delegate to HOPI Committee - agreed Steve Freeman be the SA delegate to HOPI, with Toby Abse/Dave Landau as back up
b) Election of delegate to AGS Committee Meeting(s) - agreed Toby Abse be the SA delegate to the next AGS meeting on Jan 26th
c) SSP Conference decision to discuss a republican socialist strategy for the UK. Mike Davies moved that we note the resolution and move on. He added that we had no policy on the break up of the UK. Dave Church felt we should respond to the suggestions in the resolution. It was agreed by 3 votes to 2 to note the SSP resolution and take no action on it.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS FOR 2008

a) It was agreed that the four officer posts for 2008 be:

  • Chair (also “nominating Officer” for the Electoral Commission)
  • Convenor (also “Party Leader” for the Electoral Commission)
  • Treasurer & Membership Secretary
  • Communications & Local Alliances

b) The following officers were elected:

  • Chair – Gerry Byrne
  • Convenor – Pete McLaren
  • Treasurer & Membership Secretary - vacant

PRIORITIES OVER THE NEXT PERIOD – IMPLEMENTATION OF RESOLUTIONS AGREED AT THE AGM

Pete McLaren circulated his Paper “Summary of Policies and Actions agreed at the SA AGM Nov 17”

a) PROMOTING SOCIALIST UNITY (Motions 1, 2 and 4)
There was extensive discussion of the prospects for and nature of socialist unity and the approach of different organisations. Pete McLaren suggested a delegate conference for discussions to commence about how best to unite the left. Mike Davies wondered if the SA could develop a wider perspective about developing new forces, as favoured by the SP, as well as trying to bolt the existing left together. He felt the SGUC could play more of a role in uniting the left, in addition to its election work. Toby Abse felt there was little sign of worker discontent, and recent national demos had been small. He felt the National Shop Stewards Network had potential, and it was encouraging that both sides of Respect were supporting the TU Climate Change Conference on Feb 9. Mark Serwotka, in Socialist Review, complained about competing left projects and called for a unified approach – almost a bolting together. The SWP chose to publish it, and Mark Serwotka also had some support from the SP and LRC. Dave Church agreed with the idea of a delegate conference, perhaps in the summer, to explore how we could unite better. This may push the SP/CNWP into action.
It was agreed:
i) to raise the matter for discussion at the next SGUC meeting
ii) to propose to other organisations a delegate meeting be held on discussing ways of uniting the left, and/or exploring how we could unite better, possibly in the summer
iii) for Pete McLaren, as Secretary, to contact Mark Serwotka about unity

b) WORKING WITHIN THE CNWP (Motions 1 and 3) – left on the table: partly already discussed

c) INTERNAL POLICY (Motions 5, 6, 7 ,8)
It was agreed that:
Gerry Byrne be asked to take forward the publication
Steve Freeman be asked to take forward the day school on Chartism as suggested in his notes
Revision of the manifesto be deferred until the summer, after the local elections, with 2 people to initiate

d) GENERAL PRIORITIES FOR THE SOCIALIST ALLIANCE (Motions 1 and 3) – already dealt with

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