Thursday, 18 January 2007

Branch Meeting: British Perspectives

Just a short post tonight.

The good Socialist Party comrades of Stoke-on-Trent (well, some of them) held one of our pre-conference discussions on British Perspectives this evening.

M opened with an overview of the document, choosing to highlight the sections dealing with the yawning gulf between the rich and the rest, likelihood of a recession, Blair and Brown, NHS, low pay, immigration, and the Campaign for a New Workers' Party.

I came in on the importance constitutional issues are likely to assume this year (see yesterday's post, immediately below) and we had a short debate - the consensus seems to be whatever stance one has (whether pro-independence or left-unionist) this issue deserves more of an airing. We agreed we should spend more time on it at a future meeting - guess that's another lead off for me to do then, in addition to next weeks on branch strategy and one not long after reviewing Peter Taaffe's new book!

The CNWP got a look in too. In general terms we talked about how the campaign can be taken forward and the nuts and bolts of what we can do in Stoke. One suggestion was making sure a team in each branch is responsible for CNWP work, another key point was the need for the CNWP to attract a layer of activists who may not join the party, but are nevertheless in agreement with the aims of the campaign and for whom it is the primary focus of activity. Again more discussion is needed, but I suspect an amendment to BP may be forthcoming.

Finally, A summed up his overall impression of the perspectives. He argued the documents have been very similar in recent years because the struggle for basic conditions and rights constantly recur. The 1945-75 period was an aberration in the history of capitalism. Since then the nature of the attacks on working class people has seen capital come back for the reforms it once conceded. This is normal politics now and this is why it has been consistently reflected in BP.

Next week is the branch AGM. It should be quite interesting. We've recently been undergoing the process of sorting out the division of labour in the Stoke party so I hope comrades will find the meeting inspiring in a strange, almost navel-gazing way.

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