REPORT OF THE SA NEC SAT MAR 1

Old Joint Stock 2 – 5 pm

IN ATTENDANCE

Mike Davies; Rickard Collins (CAWSA); Pete McLaren

Pete McLaren took the chair, Mike Davies agreed to help take the minutes

APOLOGIES

Dave Church (DLP); Liz Peck; Toby Abse; Gerry Byrne; Steve Freeman (RDG)

There had been a variety of unconnected reasons for the apologies, not least the fact that there were no trains in or out of Euston that day due to weather conditions. It was decided to deal with any matters that could be expedited easily, and refer anything more substantial to the NEC by email afterwards. Members present read and briefly discussed the written comments sent by the Chair, Gerry Byrne, that morning, with her apologies for the meeting

CORRESPONDENCE

The folowing items were circulated

a) CNWP – January Supporters Bulletin; New Blog
b) HOPI – In active solidarity with arrested students in Iran
c) Respect Renewal Bulletin on the Respect electoral title and Galloway's desire for a broad GLA list; 2nd preference for Livingstone
d) CPGB – A History of Respect;
e) SA – Membership Update Letter
f) Manchester Socialists – Alternative Socialist Conference 20 – 25 September 2008;
g) Electoral Commission – Request for autumn quarterly returns for loans and donations; SA response; Acceptance of Autumn Loan & Donation Returns, and confirmation that the SA is now exempt from submitting such forms unless there are any future loans or donations which need to be declared;
h) AGS – National Committee Agenda Jan 26; The Economic Crisis and the Environment – a participatory conference on Mar 2;
i) Andrew Melville – Request for AGS – and tUSP journals, SGUC information, SA web site information: letter with 25 donation to SA and further request for journals; Secretarys response to both; Suggestion for Morning Star advert
j) UAF – National Conference; Stop the BNP in Rugby

Arising out of correspondence, there was a discussion about the split in Respect. Mike Davies reported that both wings of Respect would be contesting the same two seats in Walsall, and wondered if that was happening elsewhere

FINANCE REPORT

Pete McLaren reported a balance of £201.01

PRINTING COSTS

Based on the evidence supplied by Pete McLaren, Mike Davies recommended printing charges at 3.2p a single copy and 5.5p double sided, to take account of wear and tear on the printer, with the cost of paper on top. This was agreed

COMMUNICATIONS REPORT

Pete McLaren reported that CAWSA Member Dave Trussler had volunteered to improve and update the web site. The NEC was very grateful for this offer, and asked Pete McLaren to liaise with him

REPORTS FROM LOCAL SOCIALIST ALLIANCES

There were reports from CAWSA, and from Rugby RGA where the local Alliance had set up Rugby Against Racism And Fascism to counteract BNP activity in the area

CAMPAIGN for a NEW WORKERS PARTY REPORT

A written report from the CNWP February Officers meeting was circulated. It highlighted the new round of campaign material for supporters to use; organisation of TU conference fringe meetings; the next national CNWP Conference on Sun June 22 or 29; the need for local/regional CNWP meetings; and the opening of a blog on the CNWP web site to encourage discussion. Pete McLaren explained in some detail how the SP majority had argued against the SA resolution on membership and affiliation, and the need for a timetable to be established for when the Campaign could become a Party. However, there had been some recognition of the need to reconsider the possibility of membership, and creation of the blog provided opportunities for supporters to communicate with each other.

It was agreed to ask Steve Freeman or Toby Abse to represent the SA at the next Steering Committee

REPORT FROM SOCIALIST GREEN UNITY COALITION

Mike Davies reported that the SGUC would be meeting on March 22, the agenda to include coordination of this years council elections challenge by the left, and the SA suggestion for the SGUC to work more actively towards socialist unity. Pete McLaren agreed to represent the SA, trains permitting.

REPORT FROM THE AGS

Mike Davies reported that the AGS were holding a Participatory Conference the following day, that their AGM was on March 15, and the next Committee was April 12. Rickard Collins agreed to represent the SA at the AGS Committee on April 12

MAIN DISCUSSION ITEM: PROMOTION OF SOCIALIST UNITY

Pete McLaren circulated the letter he had sent from the NEC to Mark Serwotka asking for discussions on ways to advance socialist unity. He also referred to Mark Serwotka's major article on the need for a left alternative in a recent edition of The Socialist, and explained that the SP had asked him to write a response. This appeared unedited in this week's Socialist, with a further response from Dave Nellist. Both were circulated. He concluded by suggesting we use our July 5 booking at the Lucas Arms as a possible date for a delegate meeting to discuss ways of progressing socialist unity, and he had extended the time booked to 5 hours to accommodate that possibility.

Mike Davies felt it was difficult for a small organisation like the SA to attract significantly larger and more active groups like the SP – why should they listen to us? He asked whether we were an active organisation – or just a think tank – an idea with a credible history as Gerry Byrne had put it. He felt we would have more weight if we were active. Pete McLaren accepted we could only do what was feasible with our lack of resources and small national membership, but that it was important for us to be there to provide a national focus and to bring our influence to bear on socialist unity projects. The promotion of left unity remained a vital and worthwhile strategy for the SA to pursue

The meeting agreed to a proposal from Mike Davies to float the idea to left groups of a delegate meeting as outlined at the previous NEC, explaining this was a new proposal of a different nature to the conference, making it clear this was an exploratory meeting about possible unity, and tentatively offering July 5 in London as a possibility. Any decision on numbers of delegates to be left until we had responses. Pete McLaren agreed to draft an invitation on these lines and circulate to the NEC before sending it.

IMPLEMENTATION OF RESOLUTIONS AGREED AT THE AGM

As well as the above, Steve Freeman had confirmed that he was in the process of organising the Day School on Chartism and Democracy, and would be circulating the petition on the Charter for a Democratic Republic. It was noted that there were no new SA branches, and no progress on a further publication

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