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IS Network steering committee teleconference minutes: 06/04/2014

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ISN Steering Committee meeting 06/04/2014

Present: Simon H, Kat B, Rich T, Alison L, Javaad A, Jenny R, Paris T

Agenda:

    Regroupment conference 26th April
    Political educationals
    Left Unity conference in Manchester
    RS21 event in London
    Publications - any report backs
    Caucuses- any report backs
      Minutes and any other matters

 

1.Regroupment conference

Discussion:

Only 20 days away.

James N started the ringround in London and has had mixed responses.

Javaad A asked if we should use the 2017 centenary as a date to aim for, to launch a new revolutionary organisation of the left. Javaad A in support of regroupment in 2017.

Rich T said we should promote the 2017 centenary, but not necessarily put revolutionary regroupment on hold. Rich can see the benefits of regroupment in 2017 but doesn’t think this should prevent regroupment sooner.

Simon H said we should not use the anniversary of the 1917 revolution as a focal point for revolutionary regroupment but perhaps set up a website to mark the occasion and ask for different political revolutionary organisations to contribute. Simon doesn’t think we should hold up regroupment.

Jenny R recently attended boycott workfare event. Good event with people doing stuff but sceptical of left-wing politics. Workers movement needs to include unemployed workers and others. Not fall into the trap of the PCS union.

Action:

Simon H - phone ISN members who have been inactive. The regroupment coordinating team, Tim N, James N and Emma R are doing a ringround.

Javaad A will draft the regroupment document. Official deadline for the document 10th April. This will include: What organisation we need? What rev unity will look like? Members attending should be encouraged to write.

Paris T to organise and ask members to help compile discussion documents based on the agenda. We can use the Facebook discussion group and the Googlegroup to go over the documents. Get as many people in the network to write something as we can.

2. Political educations

Simon H said as members of the SC and the network we need to start consoliding some of our ideas and begin a discussion of our key politics, possibly reading certain texts and have educationals.

Alison L talked how positive cross organisation reading groups have been in London and that she thinks they are a good idea.

Rich T said we need to look at the way educations are structured, so we’re not just setting up a series of lectures with the pretense of a discussion and would like our events to be participatory.

Javaad A would like to see different branches doing podcasts and we could have discussions like this.

Javaad A argued that we can overplay the ‘we don't want to sit in a room and be lectured to’ argument because actually democracy means that we care about the contributions and perspectives of our members and we want them to develop and contribute to the overall perspectives of the organisation. The fact is some comrades know more about certain things than other comrades. If it matters what you think, you should be given time to set out your ideas. We should differentiate between educationals and discussions.

Paris T thinks that a member of the SC should be responsible for tasks and accountable for them and this should sort things out, rather than discussing things all the time.

Actions: Simon to bring proposals to the April meeting in London concerning educationals across the ISN.

3. Left Unity conference in Manchester

LU recruited 400 new members in the last 10 days. Lambeth have had quite a few new members. LU have a good media profile at the moment which is attracting people.

We need a better Rank&File motion to put through.

Javaad A said there is an argument to be won in the ISN about having a coherent position on LU. In Bradford comrades already on the left joined LU, so to give the impression there are loads of new people joining politics for the first time is not the experience of the Bradford branch, so we need to be careful about this.

In Lambeth LU branch they are attracting new people in to politics, including students new to politics.

Alison L likes that we're a loose network so not sure about talk of cohesion.

4.RS21 event in London

Paris T said we should engage with the Steering Group (SG), they are the democratically elected body of the organisation so invites to events should be directed at the directly elected body of RS21.

Kris S sent the SG an email but hasn't heard back from them. We have invited RS21 individuals. At what point will we take a general approach to the membership more widely?

Paris T said we should give RS21 SG a week to respond to the invitation to attend the April 26th event.

James N asked whether there will be an issue inviting individual members because we cannot go public with this meeting?

We won't be advertising the venue and time on the website.

Rich T is unsure why we are not advertising the regroupment event because most people wouldn't be interested in coming anyway.

We agreed it will be damaging to lose Socialist Resistance (SR) by not adhering to what we agreed to do in the regroupment process.

Publications

Kris S asked whether we have tried to get anyone involved in the publishing group? Have we moved further on the Exchange?

Simon H said we need a process of commissioning articles and be more forward-thinking. The publication group are in the process of updating the website so we will have a new and approved website in the near future.

We will consider whether the Exchange publication is viable after the regroupment conference.

Paris said there needs to be someone on the SC responsible for the publications. There needs to be a clear line of communication.

Caucuses

We need regular report backs from the caucuses.

Alison L is concerned that the Women's Mag is moving too slowly.

Action: Kat B volunteered to set up the blog as a first step and reported back that an ISN comrade sent over some helpful information to help us do this.

Minutes and any other matters

Kris S said the piratepad should only be used as a guide and the secretaries should go away and write the minutes using the piratepad as a draft.

Rich T said all members of the SC should contribute to the minutes.

Paris T said we have secretaries to write the minutes, so we shouldn't be arguing about them all the time and should leave the secretaries to write the minutes because that's their job.

Kris S - We need to discuss and decide on how we do the minutes at next Sundays meeting. Kat and Simon to bring proposals.

Meeting closed.