REPORT OF THE SA NEC SAT July 5

Lucas Arms London 3 – 5.30 pm

MEMBERS PRESENT

Mike Davies; Liz Peck, Toby Abse; Pete McLaren; Gerry Byrne; Steve Freeman (RDG); Eddie Adams (AGS); Dave Church (DLP)

MEMBERSHIP REPORT

Pete McLaren reported 20 of last year’s 30 national members had now renewed. He was concerned we were not picking up new members, not helped by there being no Membership Officer at present. Gerry Byrne suggested a London SA be set up by London members.

FINANCE REPORT

Pete McLaren circulated a written report showing a balance of £158.95, £10.94 more than at the start of the year. However, travel to this meeting would use a lot of that balance. It was agreed to renew the PO Box and pay our share. Mike Davies suggested we had saved money by having two meetings on the same day. Gerry Byrne offered to draw up a Standing Form for regular donations, and suggested we look at raising the membership fee at the AGM

COMMUNICATIONS REPORT – including web site suggestions

Gerry Byrne suggested the following courses of action to raise our profile without incurring much expenditure:

  • Update the web site more regularly – members to send content to our web person, Dave Trussler at mail@davidtrussler.net
  • Re-draft the home page – Pete McLaren to liaise with Dave Trussler
  • Feature Reports of Left Unity meetings and activities – Pete McLaren to do
  • Set up and advertise a blog, which would change weekly – Gerry Byrne to organise
  • Update our Wikepedia entry – Gerry Byrne to do
  • Create a SA Facebook Group – Gerry Byrne to do
  • NEC members to add a link to the SA web site on their emails – Gerry Byrne to organise
  • Respond to articles in the left press, especially on left unity – Toby Abse to deal with those in Solidarity and The Socialist; Eddie Adams the Morning Star; Steve Freeman Weekly Worker
  • Ask for stalls and a speaker at all Left Forums (eg Marxism, Socialism)
  • Create a downloadable ‘Introduction to the SA’ package for use at events – Gerry Byrne to organise
  • Intervene in other blogs and elists

All these proposals were agreed

REPORTS FROM LOCAL SOCIALIST ALLIANCES

Pete McLaren reported that CAWSA continued to meet monthly and regularly had outside speakers to lead political discussions. Liz Peck reported that RRGA had campaigned vigorously against the BNP in the lead up to the May elections. Gerry Byrne reported that Tyneside Socialist Forum had discussed a left intervention at the Durham Miners Gala.

SOCIALIST UNITY

Pete McLaren circulated a written report from the CNWP Conference on June 29th, and gave a verbal report from the Left Unity Meeting which had taken place earlier today. He mentioned the success of the Open Forum at the start of the CNWP Conference, when a number of leading left activists and trade unionists had clearly called for a new left party. The Conference itself had pushed the CNWP forward: membership and members meetings had been accepted, and the SP had eventually dropped their opposition and amendment to our resolution stating that the time is right to start moving towards a pro-party alliance or a pre-party formation that, as well as campaigning for a new party, will also begin work to determine the structure and rules for such a party.

Pete McLaren felt the Left Unity meeting had definitely built on the achievements made at the CNWP Conference as:

  • 12 different organisations had met together
  • They had agreed to co-operate and meet again in October
  • They agreed a joint press statement supporting public sector strikes
  • They agreed to discuss internally, and then report back, on what each organisation’s position was on unity with other groups, including any barriers
  • They had agreed to discuss that the body became some sort of liaison committee.

A number of comments were made in the discussion which followed, including:

  • The Secretary should produce a report from the Left Unity Meeting and put it on our web site
  • We are moving forward: the SP has been prodded along by us
  • Today’s Left Unity meeting gives us something more than the CNWP and might help push things on independently
  • It was amazing that the meeting happened in the first place, and even more amazing that it would meet again
  • The meeting showed that supposedly disparate groups can now get on
  • The only real outcome was to hold another meeting
  • Some organisations are looking to us because of our history
  • We do not know if anything will come out of all this – a lot has happened in the last few weeks
  • A report of the meeting is important – representatives will now go back and reflect and then give their organisation’s view next time. This may help find out that not much actually separates us
  • The Left Unity meeting had been a positive experience, and we must build on that
  • We need to move forward at the next meeting – ensuring we have statements on left unity will be part of that
  • We need to discuss the SA response over the next couple of months
  • We should find 10 points we can all agree upon

It was agreed to discuss by email the SA response to the agreement to report back, on what each organisation’s position was on unity with other groups, including any barriers. Steve Freeman offered to help gather in other organisations’ responses

RDG RESOLUTION TO CNWP CONFERENCE

Steve Freeman (RDG) had submitted the amendment below to the CNWP Conference, but the SP had voted against it without giving any reasons It was agreed to ask the SP, on behalf of our affiliate the RDG, why they had been against it

6. In the struggle for a new party of the working class, the CNWP rejects “Labourism” as a false ideology against the interests of the working class. We reject the narrow perspective of present day Labourism of pushing the Labour Party to the left. We will campaign against Labourism and in favour of a different kind of party which is explicitly and openly republican, socialist and internationalist.

7. The CNWP will seek to develop and promote a radical alternative ideology to Labourism which emphasises the urgent need to fight for democracy and socialism in the present.

DATE OF NEXT NEC MEETING AND DATE OF THE SA AGM

It was agreed the NEC would meet from 4 – 6pm on Sat Oct 11 immediately after the Left Unity meeting, and the AGM would be at 2pm on Sat Dec 13 – both meetings at the Lucas Arms

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