Minutes of the 7th meeting, 29 October 2013

Minutes for the 7th meeting of Left Unity Leamington Spa,
29 October 2013, at LAMP

Facebook: www.facebook.com/leftunityleamingtonspa

Twitter: @leftunityleam

Blog: https://leftunityleamingtonspa.wordpress.com

Email: leamingtonspa@leftunity.org, leftunityleamingtonspa@gmail.com

Present:

Ally, Anna, David, Kate, Lynn, Mary-Ann, Pauline, Roger, Sinead, Stuart, Tim, Ten Wasps (now sadly deceased)

 

Apologies:

Colin, Maureen, Mike, Peter, Phil, Skip

 

Minutes of previous meeting:

Agreed.

 

Matters arising:

  1. Bedroom tax campaign: Tim gave a brief report of the state of affairs and everyone’s valiant efforts to keep up enthusiasm and momentum. Roger gave information from his freedom of information request. Stuart to write up into a leaflet/newssheet for distribution and a press release. At the meeting outside the townhall on Saturday, a few of us additionally resolved to a. Set up in the Parade not the town hall, as there are more passersby. b. Get a petition or email contact list to sign. c. Set up a stall with leaflets and newssheet.  d. Start to build towards public meeting. Discuss as matter of urgency at next meeting.
  2. Spirit of ’45 film showing: Final arrangements have now been made. It’ll be a great night – tell your friends! (Thursday, 7 November, 7.30pm, at LAMP.)
  3. NCG meeting: Ally said this was a very good and positive meeting, and gave a full report. Ally to forward his report to our email discussion list. Or you can see the official minutes here: http://leftunity.org/documentation/
  4. Gas Free Leam meeting: Members who were present gave a brief report of proceedings. Agreed to keep an eye on this campaign and support as we can.
  5. Email from Salman Shaheen (LU press): Noted. To follow up later (writing to/advertising in student press).
  6. Picket line at Warwick Uni this Thursday: LU members will be present to support.
  7. Stop privatisation of George Eliot hospital: See blog to sign petition. Further action? To discuss at next meeting.
  8. Treasurer/bank account: Carried forward to next meeting.
  9. Agenda for founding conference on 30 November: This was discussed at some length, with disagreements expressed about the speed things were moving, particularly towards standing in elections and the setting up of ‘leadership’ structures. We reached no agreement, and decided to call a special meeting to discuss in more detail and move amendments to motions for conference. See notice about this below.

Next meeting: A special meeting to discuss founding conference motions. 14 November, 7.30pm, at LAMP. See notice sent to our email list, pasted below. Please note only fully paid-up members may move amendments and/or vote at this meeting.

 

Collection/funds:

Collection: £12.66. Funds: £26.88. New total: £39.54.

 

Timetable

Every Saturday. Bedroom tax meet up on the Parade/townhall

7 November. Spirit of ’45 showing at Leamington LAMP, 7.30pm, free entry.

14 November. Special meeting to discuss founding conference. All welcome, but only paid-up members can vote.

16 November: Deadline for submission of amendments.

22 November: Statements, resolutions and amendments circulated to local groups.

30 November. London: Left Unity founding conference.

December: Regional Christmas meet-up and social? Date to be confirmed.

 

Notice sent to email list concerning special meeting

Dear all,

As agreed last night, there will be a special meeting on 14 November, 7.30pm, at LAMP. This meeting will only discuss the motions and policies to be discussed and voted on at Left Unity’s founding conference in London on 30 November. All these motions and policies are in the document attached. Below is some information which I hope will be helpful and perhaps clear up some problems hanging over from last night.

 

1. If you want to propose amendments and/or vote at this special meeting, and then participate and vote at the founding conference in London, you must become a ‘member’ for the purposes of the conference. Details on how to do this are here:

http://leftunity.org/become-a-founding-member-of-left-unity/

Founding membership involves paying a monthly subs and a one-off attendance fee for the conference. The amounts are nominal (if you want to participate and attend the conference but can’t afford it, please just let me know and something can be arranged) and commit you to nothing more than the right to attend and vote at the conference.

2. The conference will only decide on five things, as per the five big bold headings in the document attached. These five things are:

A. Aims. Broad statements of purpose and intent.

B. The new party/organisations’s name.

C. The party/organisation’s electoral strategy (if any).

D. The party/organisation’s campaigning priorities.

E. The party/organisation’s constitution and rules.

3. In the document attached, you will find all the proposals for all these five areas. Under each area, there is the name, in bold, of who has proposed the motion or policy. This will either be the name of a platform (eg, Left Party Platform), a local group (eg, Hackney/Tower Hamlets, Leamington Spa), or of a policy commission (eg, the Internal Democracy and Constitution policy commission).

A  local group is, like our group in Leamington, any group of five or more people who have organised locally and signed up to Ken Loach’s appeal.

A platform is any group of ten or more Left Unity members who have got together to put forward a particular point of view and have that point of view discussed and voted on by conference. Anyone can join one of these if they are in agreement with its aims and views. (At least four members of our local group are also members of platforms.)

A policy commission is a group of any number of Left Unity members who have got together to discuss what Left Unity’s policy should be on specific issues. Anyone interested in contributing can join (I am a member of the Economics Policy Commission, for example, because that’s what I’m interested in). These commissions then present their recommendations to local groups for discussion, amendment (or complete scrapping and rewriting for that matter), and then a decision about it will be made at conference. This process is conceived as being ongoing and open-ended – so if Left Unity ends up with a policy you don’t like, it’s not the end of the story: you simply try to get it changed next year.

4. At our meeting last night, some people were unhappy with the pace at which things are moving, particularly in the direction of elections, and a perceived centralisation of powers. Lynn has found that there is a way that these views can be heard and voted on at conference. If you agree with the basic thrust of the views expressed last night, especially by Anna and Roger, but echoed in part by others, what you can do is:

a) Vote in favour of the Hackney/Tower Hamlets motion in the ‘Aims’ section of the conference. As you’ll see if you read it, this resolves not to vote in favour of or discuss any of the other platform statements, but instead to discuss and move amendments to the ‘Aims’ section of the proposed constitution (Section E).

b) Propose amendments to that Aims section (reproduced underneath Hackney/Tower Hamlets motion), as you see fit, and to include your views on, say, membership, electoral strategy, attitude to Labour and other parties, organisational form, etc, etc.

5. I will circulate an agenda for this special meeting shortly. Can I please ask that if you want to move amendments that you write them out in advance and bring them to the meeting (or, even better, circulate them in advance on this list, or by sending them to me). If you want to do this but can’t attend, also send them to me. I will be happy to move them on your behalf, even if I don’t agree with them.

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