JOIN LEFT UNITY – TIME IS RUNNING OUT
- TUSC Conference 1st February 2014
- Some steps forward…..but some way to go. Pete McLaren reports from the Left Unity Founding Conference
- Support the Socialist Platform – an ISN Bulletin
- Let’s Get Serious – Support the Socialist Platform, argues Ed Potts
- ISN discusses TUSC, Left Unity, and the upcoming LU Founding Conference – with a number of actions agreed
- Neil Williams on Some steps forward…..but some way to go. Pete McLaren reports from the Left Unity Founding Conference
- Petr b on Rugby Left Unity submits two resolutions to LU Founding Conference
- Steve Wallis on Some steps forward…..but some way to go. Pete McLaren reports from the Left Unity Founding Conference
- Edmund Potts on Some steps forward…..but some way to go. Pete McLaren reports from the Left Unity Founding Conference
- Bob Thomas on Some steps forward…..but some way to go. Pete McLaren reports from the Left Unity Founding Conference
Some steps forward…..but some way to go. Pete McLaren reports from the Left Unity Founding Conference
REPORT FROM THE LEFT UNITY FOUNDING CONFERENCE NOV 30th
Before Conference, a number of Socialist Platform supporters gave out an 8 page brochure in support of the Platform produced by the ISN. In an unexpected start to the day, one man I gave a brochure to actually asked if it included a “Page 3”. Maybe I should have reported that to the Safe Spaces Policy team, but I was too taken aback to think straight! It certainly would have made interesting news during the gender debate later on.
Conference started on time, with the SOC report and its agenda agreed. Two chairs were announced – Liz Davies who chaired before lunch and again at the very end, and Tony Mercer, neither of whom had been centrally involved in LU’s development, but both fitted the agreed NCG criteria of not being a member of an existing Platform. Tellers were elected from the floor.
The first discussion was on the Safe Spaces policy moved by Felicity Dowling. This could be described as an attempt to recognise that everyone arrives with baggage from their experiences in the real world, and for LU to function it needed to allow everyone to be able to participate equally without that baggage affecting this. The document was long and detailed . There was no debate. It was overwhelmingly agreed to remit the document for further discussion.
This was followed by an amendment from Coventry and Leamington Spa regarding the transitional leadership arrangements between Conference and the election of a new leadership in March. The amendment, initiated by the Socialist Platform, called for the 10 directly elected members of the NCG to be re-elected as they had only been elected up to conference. Ally Macgregor from Leamington moved it on the basis of being seen to be democratic. There were two speeches against, suggesting that delegates would not know the people nominated if elections were held. The amendment was defeated by 228 votes to 110 in a show of support for the present leadership at the start of the day.
ISN discusses TUSC, Left Unity, and the upcoming LU Founding Conference – with a number of actions agreed
REPORT FROM ISN MEETING SAT NOV 9th
There were 10 supporters and members present, and a number of apologies
ROLE OF THE ISN OVER THE NEXT YEAR
There were four short introductions Pete McLaren began by circulating a report from the September and October TUSC Steering Committees. He highlighted the discussions about the need for TUSC local council candidates, and the decision for TUSC not to stand in the Euro elections. He described the meeting held with Left Unity and reported the initial findings from his survey, as TUSC Local Group Development Officer, on the level of local TUSC activity between elections. He described how the Steering Committee had gradually grown, but felt there was little evidence of TUSC developing local structures or moving in any way towards building a new mass party. That had left a void which Left Unity might now fill. Although it was still a work in progress, he felt Left Unity was moving forwards and had already developed local structures. It would become a new left party on November 30th. That raised the need for LU and TUSC to work closely together, which is where, he felt, the SN came in. We should continue the twin track approach of working through TUSC and LU, and move both organisations towards promoting there being One Party of the Left. Rodney Kaykreizman was concerned at the number of left coalitions now emerging. He agreed LU was a work in progress, and that the ISN was very much at a crossroads. If anything, he thought the ISN should prioritise its work within LU as an independent voice for socialists. Ed Potts argued that, for now, LU was the main forum on the left. The ISN was opposed to the approaches used by the left sects, instead working for a broad movement. We needed to work out how we related to LU – should it be as a group of revolutionaries? He also thought the ISN should continue acting as a bridge to TUSC. Will McMahon suggested that both TUSC and LU were part of a process. Both had positives and weaknesses. There was a lot to play for in both. It was important that TUSC had the backing of the RMT, and it was capable of bringing together new forces as in the approach from the 8 Harrow councilors. The left remained weak, and LU was much smaller than Respect or the original SA at their heights. The ISN should call for an electoral coalition between LU and TUSC, whilst also building the ISN, using the recently elected ISN SC to organise. TUSC, with its trade union and class base, was more politically serious than LU.
BY DEISY BUITRAGO AND ANDREW CAWTHORNE
(Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the military “occupation” of a chain of electronic goods stores in a crackdown on what the socialist government views as price-gouging hobbling the country’s economy.
Various managers of the five-store, 500-employee Daka chain have been arrested, and the company will now be forced to sell products at “fair prices,” Maduro said late on Friday.
Soldiers immediately began guarding the stores.
On Saturday morning, hundreds of bargain-hunters flocked to Daka shops to take advantage of the new, cheaper prices.
“We’re doing this for the good of the nation,” said Maduro, who accuses rich businessmen and right-wing political foes backed by Washington of waging an economic “war” against him.
“I’ve ordered the immediate occupation of this chain to offer its products to the people at fair prices, everything. Let nothing remain in stock … We’re going to comb the whole nation in the next few days. This robbery of the people has to stop.”
The measure, after weeks of warnings from the government of a pre-Christmas push against private businesses to keep prices down, recalled the sweeping and often theatrical takeovers during the 14-year rule of Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez.
Maduro, who took over from Chavez in April after the latter’s death from cancer, has stopped short of more outright nationalizations, in this case saying authorities would instead force Daka to sell at state-fixed prices.
“Inflation’s killing us. I’m not sure if this was the right way, but something had to be done. I think it’s right to make people sell things at fair prices,” said Carlos Rangel, 37, among about 500 people queuing outside a Daka store in Caracas.
Rangel had waited overnight, with various relatives, to be at the front of the queue and was hoping to find a cheap TV and an air-conditioning unit. Soldiers made lists of names, calling people in one-by-one to avoid chaos.
Local media group Ultimas Noticias and some Twitter users reported looting at a Daka store in the central city of Valencia. But there was no confirmation of that from officials. Under price controls set up a decade ago, the state sells a limited amount of dollars at 6.3 bolivars, but given the short supply, some importers complain they are forced into a black market where the price is nearly tenfold higher.
Maduro showed astonishment at a fridge on sale in Daka for 196,000 bolivars ($31,111 at the official rate), and said an air-conditioning unit that goes for 7,000 bolivars ($1,111) in state stores was marked up 36,000 bolivars ($5,714) by Daka.
Daka officials could not immediately be reached for comment.Tweet
October TUSC Steering Committee discuses Council Elections and hears interim report on local TUSC activity, reports Pete McLaren
Report from the TUSC Steering Committee, 9th October 2013
IN ATTENDANCE: Daren Ireland (RMT); Darren Procter (RMT); Sean Hoyle (RMT); Hannah Sell (SP); Charlie Kimber (SWP); Pete McLaren (ISN); Clive Heemskerk (Nominating Officer); and Dave Nellist (Chair).
TUSC’s 2014 LOCAL ELECTIONS PLATFORM
A list of possible additional core policies, circulated before the meeting, was discussed. Clive Heemskerk explained these are a supplement to TUSC’s national policies, and that organisations can then add to these Core policies if they wish. Endorsing the Local Elections Platform is a requirement for anyone seeking to stand as a TUSC candidate in the 2014 elections. The SP submitted ten possible additional points to the Core Policies – on refusing to implement the Bedroom Tax; restoring full council tax rebates; supporting parents and teachers who oppose the Con-Dems’ enforced academisation of schools; introducing local replacements for the Education Maintenance Allowance; supporting free school meals for every primary school pupil; using councils’ powers to compulsorily register private landlords and set-up council-run lettings agencies to tackle repair standards, high rents, over-occupancy, extortionate letting fees etc for private rented homes; re-instatement of childcare provision in Sure Start centres; using councils’ borrowing powers for capital spending to build council homes; implementing the UNISON trade union’s ethical care charter, ending ‘15-minute maximum’ visiting slots, zero-hour contracts, and unpaid travel time for home care workers.; using councils’ powers to exclude firms that have participated in blacklisting from tendering for public contracts. There was no disagreement with any of the proposed new policies. Points made in the discussion included:
The meeting will take place on from 12 noon til 5pm at 2 The Meeting Place, 2 Langley Lane, London SW8 1GB. As ever there will be a pooled fare. Map: http://bit.ly/12SeMXu
Please note: this meeting is open to all members and supporters of the ISN and any independent socialist who might be interested in the network.
Members of the ISN pay a minimum of £1 a month to support the work of the network and can vote at meetings
Supporters sign up to the ISN mailing list and receive advance notice of meetings and other ISN discussion documents.
The agenda is as follows:
12.00 – 1.30 Getting a perspective on the possible political developments over the next year and what role the ISN should play in them. There will be four five minute introductions offering personal views and then discussion until 1.30
1.30 – 2.00pm Lunch
2.00 – 3.15pm The ‘What sort of left party do we want’ event. The ISN will be hosting a public discussion in the first quarter of 2014 for independent socialists to debate the developments in TUSC, Left unity and the move towards a new party of the left. A draft paper will be circulated prior to the meeting.
3.15 – 3.30 Break
3.30 – 4.45 What role should the ISN play in the Left Unity November conference – including a discussion about campaigning for the Socialist Platform
4.45 – 5.00 Date of next meeting and any other business.
For further details e-mail email@example.com
Berliners vote on Sunday on whether to return the electricity grid of Berlin to public hands. A Berlintrend poll in September showed 60% of the capital’s residents backed the change. At least 25% of the city’s eligible voters will need to participate in the referendum for the vote to be valid. The plan proposed in the referendum is backed by the Greens, LINKE and the Pirate Party, and is opposed by the CDU and the SPD. At the end of next year, the capital’s 20-year contract with energy provider Vattenfall, a power company wholly owned by the Swedish government, is due to expire. Hamburg voted for a return of Vattenfall’s (and EON’s) grid into public ownership last September.Tweet
REPORT FROM LEFT UNITY NATIONAL CO-ORDINATING GROUP (NCG) OCT 19
This was the last scheduled National Co-ordinating Group meeting before the November 30th Founding Conference, and it had a number of potentially difficult decisions to make about the Conference. It also had to deal with an internal dispute that had arisen very recently within Leeds Left Unity.
There were 35 in attendance representing 26 local LU groups. Pete McLaren and Chris Hurley were elected co-chairs. The meeting began with everyone introducing themselves
REPORT FROM MANCHESTER POLICY CONFERENCE
Around 80 had attended. It was generally felt that the Conference had been positive, and that further discussion workshops were needed before a Policy conference was held in the spring. It was agreed that the Convenors of the Policy Forums, in liaison with those who had organised the Policy Conference, would plan for another Policy Conference
FOUNDING CONFERENCE NOV 30
a) PARTY NAME AND VOTING METHOD
The following actions were agreed:
§ The Supplementary Vote system be used to determine the Party name by vote at Conference
§ The deadline for Party names would be November 16, and could be supported by a statement of up to 50 words
b) DRAFT CONFERENCE STANDING ORDERS
Terry Conroy introduced the draft as circulated, arguing it was necessary to have agreed procedures that were not too prescriptive.
Following a wide ranging discussion, where it was suggested the proposals were too weighty and bureaucratic for a new, exciting organisation, that there was a need for disruption to be avoided, and that the Standing Orders could be simplified, it was agreed that there was a need for time limits for speakers and that the Committee responsible would re-draft the Standing Orders reflecting the discussion, and in particular looking at 7.6 – 7.9. Terry Conroy was thanked for her work on these Standing Orders
c) CONFERENCE TIMINGS