REPORT FROM SA NEC SAT OCT 2 2010

PRESENT: Gerry Byrne; Steve Freeman; Pete McLaren; Dave Landau; Toby Abse; Dave Church

APOLOGIES – Liz Peck

MINUTES OF THE SA NEC HELD MAY 22nd 2010 – agreed as correct

ANY MATTERS ARISING NOT ON THE AGENDA - none

CORRESPONDENCE – circulated. It was noted that the Electoral Commission, having accused the SA of not renewing for 2010 or sending in the Annual Financial Return, had now accepted that both were received correctly and, as a result of their mistake, would not charge the SA their £25 renewal fee for 2010

MEMBERSHIP REPORT – it was agreed more effort should be made to involve members. One suggestion was to open up NEC meetings to members, and to have speakers at these meetings.

FINANCE REPORT – Pete McLaren spoke to his written report which showed a balance of £137. Steve Freeman confirmed that the RDG would pay the £50 they owed, and he offered to ask Merseyside SA for a contribution. It was hoped Tyneside Socialist Forum would affiliate. It was agreed to produce SA Xmas Cards again, but with a different design

COMMUNICATIONS REPORT – it was agreed to change the Home Page of the web site with regularly updated articles at least once a month. Dave Landau would provide anti racist information, Toby Abse and Steve Freeman anti cuts updates, and Pete McLaren left unity initiatives and left activities

REPORT FROM AFFILIATES – correspondence with the AGS showed we had not paid affiliation fees to each other for two years. There was virtually no money owing though. It was agreed we should argue that we remain affiliated to each other without fees changing hands

2010 SA AGM – originally planned for Nov 27, it was agreed to move the date to Sunday November 21st, 2 – 5pm, to avoid clashing with the Coalition of Resistance Conference. Deadline for resolutions would be Nov 6, and Nov 17 for amendments and reports. There would be a capped pool fare, if individuals can afford it, of £10 to pay for the costs of the meeting and travel for those who had to pay more than £10 travel on a 25/75 basis (25% of the income goes for the costs of the AGM, 75% to reimburse travel costs pro rata). It was agreed that the theme for the AGM would be “What role can the SA play in the fight against the Con-Dem Government?”

REPORTS FROM THE LEFT UNITY LIAISON COMMITTEE JULY AND SEPTEMBER, MEETING OF SOCIALIST AND COMMUNITY GROUPS IN RUGBY ON JULY 24, CONVENTION OF THE LEFT, TUSC, AND THE CNWP STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING ON SEPT 26 – AND DISCUSSION AS TO PROMOTE OUR POLICY OF ONE PARTY FOR THE LEFT IN THE LIGHT OF THE ABOVE REPORTS

Pete McLaren reported that the LULC had concentrated on fighting the cuts and how best to link the campaigns together. The July meeting had also discussed the national meeting of progressive, community and socialist parties in Rugby on July 24th. In September, the four organizations who attended continued the discussion on the cuts. The Rugby meeting attracted 13 organisations, and 8 others gave positive apologies. Over half of these organizations were local. Each group reported on its activities and aims. It was then agreed to set up a Network with the interim title ‘People before Profit Network’. Nick Long and Pete McLaren were asked to continue as acting convenors and organize the next meeting. TUSC’s Steering Committee had met, and it was looking to see how to create structures that would allow local campaign groups and individuals to participate in national decision making. There would be a Conference for local groups planning to stand candidates in 2011 on January 15th. The CNWP Open Steering Committee on September 26th heard detailed reports about TUSC, the Labour Party, and why there was a continuing need for a campaign for a new workers’ party. Resolutions from the SP and SA were unanimously agreed – the SA resolution commits the CNWP to establish the prototype of a new Left Party before the end of 2011 at the latest. This process will include a specific session at the CNWP 2011 conference which will consider an outline draft constitution for consideration by a future founding conference

There followed a lengthy discussion about the implications of these iniatives’ decisions, and points made included the following:

  • Will the SP leadership commit to implementing the decision to discuss the structure of a new Party?
  • The SP wants to take things slowly whilst the SA feels there is an urgency
  • The SP are aware they are the largest force in the CNWP and they do not try to use that
  • New Labour has been replaced by a new politics, shifting it slightly to the left
  • We need to be ideologically sharper and clearer to distance ourselves from Labour – we need a programme
  • We need to organize against the cuts because Labour won’t. Green councilors are also showing little fight
  • We need a Party for the working class, for pensioners, claimants, migrants and all other victims of the cuts. We also need to build borough anti cuts committees. We need a Party to unify the resistance and give it an expression
  • We need to get our act together before we start to consider any programme
  • Whilst we must help build ant cuts committees, we must accept they are likely to disappear once the battles have been won or lost
  • The CNWP Steering Committee passed our resolution unanimously: we must make sure it is fully implemented
  • The problem with the Green Left is that they think there is a already a Left Party – the Green Party
  • We need to build a new Party from the bottom up, linking the Rugby initiative to it
  • We could play a role in trying to explain all the differing left initiatives
  • We should not dismiss the green left – there is a buzz around Caroline Lucas. We need to relate to the Green Left and ensure green issues are represented
  • The SA is good at understanding the broader context. We know the competing left forces do have a similar understanding of what is going on – that it is a class based Government that is attacking the working class. There is common ground, but the left cannot articulate it in a unified way
  • The SP keep the CNWP going because they are not sure about TUSC
  • TUSC is very top down and does not represent people on the ground
  • The problem with the meeting in Rugby was that it was so anti being top down that it avoided making firm decisions. The turn out was positive, and it represented embryonic forces on the ground. We should put some effort into the initiative
  • Trade Unions are beginning to move at local level because their members are threatened
  • The SA does have a certain clarity of ideas, but how do we inject these ideas?
  • It is not clear where the Coalition of Resistance is heading. It wants to be at the head of the movement against the cuts
  • We should update ‘People before Profit’ and then give our ideas to others
  • We have hit a watershed which is why some now think the Labour Party is the answer
  • There may come a time when we have to accept we are not going to move towards socialism
  • What we can do is to change the SA. If the CNWP does not move the process forward in the next 12 months, we should use the SA to form a new Party with a programme and structure – as long as we have enough support. We need to discuss how we can grow into something significant. We are the vehicle to move things on whilst we continue to relate to the CNWP and TUSC
  • The People before Profit Network which came out of the Rugby initiative gives us an opportunity to link up with local campaigns

Arising out of the discussion, it was confirmed that the theme for the AGM would be “What role can the SA play in the fight against the Con-Dem Government?”

Pete McLaren 30/11/10

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