This short report comes from Campaign for a New Workers' Party secretary Pete McLaren via the Independent Socialist List. It seems after years of prevarication, sectarian squabbles, and a general passing up of opportunities, the far left could finally be getting its act together. And in typical fashion, it happens to do so in the least auspicious of circumstances to found a party to Labour's left in a generation. Let's just say if all the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition can boast about is a £20k donation from the Rail, Maritime and Transport union and a national vote of 15,580 then prospects are grim to non-existent. As always this blog will cover interesting developments on the far left, even if they're on the road to nowhere.
A very brief report from today's CNWP Open Steering Committee. A full report will be available in the next few days.
There were 22 present, including members of the Socialist Party, Socialist Alliance, Communist Party of Great Britain and a number of independents
Hannah Sell's political introduction laid out the tone for the meeting - anti cuts campaigns were growing, and a number would want to stand candidates in next year's local elections. TUSC welcomed that and would endorse any such candidates who wanted to stand under its umbrella. There would be a Conference for all such TUSC anti cuts candidates on January 15th. She accepted TUSC was not the finished article, let alone a new Party, hence the need to continue promoting the CNWP. However, she argued that TUSC had laid down a marker with its TU support, the RMT having donated over £20,000 to general election candidates which was a first in terms of a national TU promoting non Labour candidates. She accepted that the election of Milliband would galvanise the TU leadership and the labour party, but not the rank and file - and Labour Councils were already pushing cuts through.
Dave Nellist, in the chair, added that the next TUSC Steering Committee on October 13th was discussing how to broaden the structure of TUSC, including how to involve independent socialists which Nick Wrack was delivering a Paper upon. There followed a wide ranging discussion on the possibilities arising out of TUSC, its limitations, how we should learn from the anti poll tax campaign, the role and potential to grow of the Labour Party under Ed Milliband, the serious effects the cuts would have on benefit claimants as well as public services.
It was agreed that the next CNWP Conference, initially scheduled for March 2011, might have to be delayed until June to avoid any clash with a national anti cuts demonstration which the TUC was at present suggesting should be in March. It was noted that there would almost certainly be anti cuts demos before then, locally and nationally, with the Fire Brigades' Union, RMT and Public and Commercial Services union giving serious considersation to a national demonstration on Sat Oct 23, three days after the Public Services Review, itself a day earmarked for local and national demonstrations.
After a break, the SP and SA resolutions were debated at length, most of the discussion centering around the SA resolution, but not in a particularly negative way. Both were passed without any votes against (one abstention to the SP resolution)
As a result, the CNWP is now committed, amongst other things, 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 which includes:
* The long term aims of the Party
* A federal structure recognizing the rights of both affiliating organisations and individuals,
* A mechanism to ensure that no single affiliated organisation can impose its views on the Party as a whole
* Clear democratic structures to ensure that any internal Party body is representative of the Party as a whole,
* Recognition that affiliated organisations remain free to campaign externally to the Party
* Recognition that members are entitled to form open political factions able to campaign both internally within and externally to the Party.
So at least there will now be discussion about how a new Left Party should look - that surely is a start, and could be the blueprint, dare I say, for the creation of such a Party in the forseeable future. But I don't think I will hold my breath!
Comrades should join the CNWP to help us in any discussions that do take place