DRAFT REPORT OF THE LEFT UNITY LIAISON COMMITTEE MEETING SEPTEMBER 18th LUCAS ARMS
PRESENT: AWL; Socialist Alliance; DLP; tUSP. Pete McLaren took the Chair
APOLOGIES – Steve Freeman (RDG); Clive Heemskerk (SP); Toby Abse (SA)
REPORT OF THE JULY 3rd LEFT UNITY LIAISON COMMITTEE MEETING
This was agreed as correct, and there were no matters arising.
Pete McLaren reported on DEVELOPMENTS WITHIN TUSC by circulating a written report from Clive Heemskerk. The September TUSC Steering Committee heard reports of likely TUSC candidates next May. The RMT reported its Conference had endorsed the Executive's decision to back 21 general election TUSC candidates. The SP and SWP confirmed their commitments to TUSC. The meeting discussed how structures could be created to allow local campaign groups and individuals to participate in decision making. A Conference for local groups standing candidates next May would be held in January – since confirmed as January 15th. He also reported on the NATIONAL MEETING OF PROGRESSIVE, COMMUNITY AND SOCIALIST POLITICAL PARTIES held in Rugby on July 24th 13 different groups had attended, and a further 8 had sent positive apologies. 12 of these 21 groups had been local. Each organization present had reported on their main activities and aims, which varied considerably. There followed a discussion on establishing a national network. It was overwhelmingly agreed by the 33 present 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 arrange the date and venue of the next meeting.
Information about the Convention of the Left and future activities of the Coalition of Resistance were circulated. Finally, publicity for the CNWP EXTENDED STEERING COMMITTEE ON SEPTEMBER 26th, which was open to all members, was circulated
MAIN DISCUSSION ITEM: A STRATEGY FOR THE COMING STRUGGLES AND HOW THEY COULD BE LINKED – CONTINUATION OF THE DISCUSSION STARTED AT THE JULY MEETING
Martin Thomas (AWL) wondered if there were local TUSC groups. He felt the emergence of anti cuts committees was significant, and pointed out that the TUC was calling for that. The government knew there would be resistance, as socialists we should maximize that resistance and the lessons that came out of it. The AWL was open to unity as long as the basis was right. This will be determined by struggle. The low vote for left candidates indicated that other campaigning methods were needed. The mood for socialism did seem to be growing. We needed a working class political programme. Dave Church (DLP) was concerned about lack of democracy within TUSC. He argued that we needed an organization to feed protest into, an organization which could become permanent – a real genuine umbrella organisation. The CNWP should be supported. The left was not confident enough at the moment to unite – it was more like a debating society than a serious force. We need to counter the view that people should just look after themselves and their family with a more collective position. The fact that the left is small is no reason not to set up a Left party. He hoped the CNWP would lead to it, but, if not, the SA should do so. Steve Ballard (tUSP) described the Coalition of Resistance as a "top down" centrist platform looking for an organisation, when what is needed is a "bottom up" umbrella organisation which could only emerge in the political struggle for a fighting socialist programme. He suggested the CoR would stifle the
political struggle for a fighting socialist programme because it is dominated by people who don"t want one. Pete McLaren (SA) argued that we needed a new Left Party as soon as possible or we would lose an opportunity afforded by the current crisis. The plethora of left groups contesting the General Election showed how divided we were on the left, and did nothing to make inroads into Labour or the far right. We needed to work to a timetable, hence the SA resolution to the CNWP Extended Steering Committee calling for a debate over the type of structure we wanted for a new Left Party to take place over the next 15 months, with a commitment to hold a Founding Conference for a new Party without specifying when. He argued that trade unions and community groups were more likely to come on board an actual Left Party than they were a campaign for one
DATE OF NEXT MEETING – this was agreed as Sunday December 12th, Lucas Arms, 3 – 5pm
Pete McLaren 30/09/10
report from Left unity meeting september 18th 2010