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John Riddell: Democracy in Lenin's Comintern

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Richard Atkinson: Death and the Bedroom Tax

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Financial Appeal

IS Network steering committee minutes (13-iv-2014)

Minutes of the IS Network steering committee face-to-face meeting in London, 13-iv-2014. 



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

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.

 

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IS Network steering committee teleconference minutes: 24/03/2014

Agenda

  1. Regroupment - action plan for conference
  2. LU - conference on Sat
  3. RS21
  4. Javaad's action plan
  5. Weekly worker letter?
  6. Motions put back from conference

1. RS21 conference

Stall booked, table provided. At least 4 / 5 people there all day Sat and Sun. Paris has drafted leaflet, needs feedback to be laid out and printed on Weds.

Javaad: Leaflet feedback - very good. Harden up section about criticisms of SWP Mk II (reference RS21's weak point). Political weekend has been advertised as if it were "Marxism" Also issues around LU - bring out that there are other views within Network.

Other material - talk to pubs about printing stuff done before - get hold of exchanges - AMM are bringing a stall with books

2 - Javaad's piece

No one has objected to getting organized. We should start looking ahead (even further than next week). Reading programme and also educational days look pretty good. Javaad Paris and Simon to look at drafting something to put to the committee.

Paris agrees

LU conference - meet up at the conference?

Simon thinks that the economic policy is amendable. He recommends comrades read the policy commission documents before. He doesnt think the CPGB motions will even get to be debated.

We should support the putting back of the foreign policy document. Anti racism policy and health policy are fine he thinks. He also thinks trade union motions will be up for real debate. If passed in their totality will produce a good trade union policy statement.

The Euro position: there is a clear demarcated debate between Lambeth branch (critical towards the EU but not in in favour of complete withdrawal.) and other amendments from Manchester etc that are in Simons position similar to no to EU. He thinks important to get a position agreed to shape intervention into the euro elections, whether we (left Unity) stand or not. He also thinks we shouldn't "rattle through" all the amendments.

There should be more debate.

Can ISN Members get up earlier on and argue with any attempt from standing orders committee to push through two speakers, two minutes for and against style debating because we need more time during the debates to go through the substantive issues.

Kat says: She doesn't think that Simon can say that we can go into conference with certain ideas, because we haven't really talked about stuff with members. Instead we should caucus. We haven't even talked about anti racist policy, let alone more controversial ones. How would this even work she asks? Would we get someone from the group to speak?

Kat to email the ISN- LU egroup and ask people to read them. Check who's going to the LU conference from the ISN and possibly arrange a meeting point. Will also contact the Anti racist commission group to discuss who will motivate the motion.

Javaad raised appoint about election producers, and reminded comrades of the critical questions he has over the left unity project.

Simon says an emergency motion will be introduced to okay the unconstitutional nature of one aspect of the election. More problematic is the issue that some people just randomly haven't had their names put on the ballot.

3. Regroupment conference

Simon introduced on ideas around the 26 April conference

Proposal for SC actions: Text from Richard Brenner to send to PG to put on website asap (should be sent to us very soon)

Email out to members about conference (Kris, Kat and Simon to write) Also ask members to contribute any thoughts or ideas for the meeting.

Emma and James to sort members list into three categories, active members, semi-active members and contacts (based on who goes to branches, who is in the orbit of the ISN but not necessarily organised by it and people who were members but we haven't heard from in a while.

Ask Tim N to help.

Paris to contact Rev Soc networks about coming to the conference, mobilising their supporters, etc.

SC to draft a statement for the conference (deadline April 6th)

Luke thinks it very important that we publish an announcement on the website detailing the regroupment meeting on the 26th alongside a call for bulletin contributions, in addition to an all-ISN email/Network News, National ISN facebook discussion and ISN googlegroup.

Javaad raised some political issues, putting the conference in the context of existing arguments that the process of regroupment isn't something that is identical with forming a joint group with these three organizations.

Paris proposed that we pay expenses for someone to have a mass ring round/internet trolling campaign to make sure people come.

Kris to send memebers/supporters details to James N, Emma R, and Rich T.

4. Weekly Worker

Debate about whether we should answer the letter and argue for them to engage with us in a wider process of regroupment.

Agreed to respond with a letter saying that we do not consider it useful at this time to engage with the CPGB. Vote five for, two against one abstention.

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IS Network steering committee minutes 16/03/14

Present: Kris S, Jenny R, Kat B, Simon H, Luke S, James N, Rich T

NOTE TO MEMBERS: There is a revolutionary unity conference for ISN, ACI, WP and SR booked for the 26th April at ULU. More details to follow.

Agenda

  1. Six month action plan document
  2. Environment
  3. Publications
  4. Left Unity
  5. Revolutionary regroupment
  6. AOB

1. Six month action plan

Agreed to have an initial discussion.

Simon H talked about the need to clarify membership - one or two people, or a group to spend some time urgently to find out who is and isn't a member and is paying subs etc. Also discussed a programme for educationals and political discussions on several key issues that the ISN need to develop policy on, e.g. trade unions, nature of the working class revolutionary programme, etc. 

Kris S quite likes the overall thrust of the document and agrees that we need some more political discussion internally. 

Emma R and Rich T have volunteered to help with membership in the ISN.

Javaad A agrees with the idea of more political discussions in the organisations. There was a question about Sheffield branch's activity and other cities where there is a potential to establish functioning branches.

2. Environment

Kat B explained that the NMM asked the SC to get trade union affiliation to the CACC.

We also need to write an article on climate change/ the environment.

3. Publications

Luke S reported.

The PG is functioning but needs to work on how to get some original content for the website. PG also needs a strategy to become constitutional by coopting at least two more women to the group. Need a procedure to put the minutes from the secretaries to the PG and then onto the site. 

Minutes should be emailed to the PG address:

editorial@internationalsocialistnetwork.org

Luke S/Rich T to set up PG email list for formal discussion and planning.

Kat - PG to write a report about their plans in time for the next SC, including delegating sufficient numbers to the Exchange clarification, about who the delegate is to the SC and whether technical skills are being shared. This process to involve the membership more widely, including development of 'mentoring' assistance.

Javaad A offered to help as a mentor (will PG collate a list of people and perhaps work out with them what support is offered and how?)

4. Left Unity

Conference is coming up at the end of March.

Kat B read out the key parts of the resolution that we agreed with at the NMM:

  • Every member should be encouraged to join LU
  • Members of LU should be encouraged to take part in local and national struggles
  • We support a party that fights for reforms, including strike action and election to parliament, alongside our long-term vision of an alternative society
  • We aim to unite the more active and class conscious activists and take those arguments in to the wider movement.
  • Build a party against austerity for an alternative, anti-capitalist society.

Javaad A explained the issue in Bradford in terms of building a LU branch. Argued that the SC should provide a space for pro-LU comrades to explain their line to the rest of the organisation. 

Simon H suggested two action points: one is discussing the ammendments and motions after they are circulated and coming up with some points of argument around teh key debates. Secondly, to clarify who is going from the ISN.

We won't know more about our work in LU until after the conference. For instance, will it pass a lot of motions which are to the right? 

Kat B and Javaad A made the point that some people are interested in the ISN but not LU so we have to be flexible. 

Kris S to get list of ISN members coming to the conference and to circulate the motions and ammendments.

5. Revolutionary Regroupment

We got an email fro TC in Socialist Resistance which had a series of questions about the unity document.

We need to contact ISN members to get them to the 26th April conference - we have booked a room at ULU.

Kris S says that we need to make sure our member know about the unity conference.

SR are not in favour of a revolutionary unity meeting two weeks in advance of the conference.

Kat B says we should organise a regional meeting in advance of the meeting.

General discussion about what we would aim to get out of the 26th April meeting.

James N proposed a joint bulletin for the different organisations involved.

Go into Wednesday's rescheduled meeting very positively, stresssing our committment to the process and to mobilising members and individuals we work closely with for th 26th April.

6. AOB

CPGB have sent us a letter. Kris to re-circulate to the SC.

 

 

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IS Network National Members Meeting minutes (Sheffield, 01/03/2014)

Minutes of the IS Network national members meeting held in Sheffield on 01-03-2014

Click here to view and download a pdf of the minutes (23pp.)

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IS Network steering committee minutes 09/03/14

Present: Kris, Javaad, Simon, Alison, James, Luke, Paris, Kat

  • Workers Power
  • rs21
  • Revolutionary unity talks
  • Publications committee
  • Left Unity
  • National/regional meetings/day schools
  • 6-month plan
  • Dates for next meetings
  • Googlegroups/communication


1. Workers Power

Simon began the discussion. Explained that there would be three issues with WP joining the ISN - how a cadre organising joining would affect the ISN in terms of votes and balance of forces, how it would affect the relations with Socialist Resistance and how it would affect the political discussions around programme.

General discussion, speakers, Jaavad, Paris, Alison, Kris
Kris proposed writing to WP explaining the dual carding system and that anyone can join if they agree with the IS's statement. However we feel that it might not be right at this moment to appeal to them to join as an organisation, either for us or for them.

SC had a more general discussion around the revolutionary unity talks and where they were at. Agreed to table a fuller discussion at the next meeting.

2. RS21 weekend conference

Paris put forward a proposal for the Network to run a stall at the RS21 "political weekend".
We agreed to put Paris in charge of organising the stall.

3. Publications committee

Googlegroup set up, some emails exchanged about possible articles. We will be using the Facebook group to communicate as well.

The Publications Committee has to co-opt women onto it to make it constitutional  since currently it is all male.
Proposal to write an article about the history of the ISN after one year.
Paris should draft a leaflet for a RS21 event and run it past steering committee for approval

4. Left Unity

Discussion around a coordinated approach to the Left Unity conference in terms of motions and elections

Kat raised the issue of a co-ordinated approach - do we support / publicise IS Network members standing? Do we extend that to other groups' members?

Simon proposed we prepare a briefing pack for members on elections and motions to 29 March LU conference. Agreed

Paris proposed we publicise IS Network members standing for elected LU positions. Agreed

5. Next meetings

Simon proposed the next teleconference should discuss a draft six month plan. Six-month plan - Javaad and one other to produce a proposal

Steering committee face to face meeting 12 April

Proposal for a teleconference once a week, Kris will set up an online poll for the next date.




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