Saturday 15 March 2014

People's Assembly makes itself fit for purpose

Today's recalled People's Assembly Against Austerity  began with a warm minute of standing applause for Tony Benn and Bob Crow which seemed to set the tone for a serious but friendly day in which the organisation sorted out its  aims, structure and priorties in an atmosphere refreshingly untainted by sectarianism.

I could have been there wearing one of several different hats but settled for the Green Party Trade Union Group which had put forward a resolution committing the PAAA to campaign for effective action against climate change. Natalie Bennett's moving of the resolution linking austerity, neoliberalism and clinmate change was well received and the resolution was passed overwhemingly.

The Assembly adopted the People's Charter for Change which states:
We need a government to reverse damagaing austerity and replace it with a new set of policies providing us with a fair, sustainable and secure future. We can no longer tolerate politicians looking out for themselves and for the rich and powerul. Our political representatives must start governing in the interests of the majority in the direction outlined by this statement of aims.
The aims were:
  1. A fairer economy for a fairer Britain
  2. More and better jobs
  3. High standard homes for all
  4. Protect and improve public servies
  5. For justice and fairness
  6. For a secure and sustainable future
Supplementary motions were passed adopting the People's Charter; supporting the  nationalisation of those firms and banks that do not invest to build a high-skilled, high-wage, high employment economy; supporting house building, rent capping and opposing fixed term tenancies and 80% market rents in Council and Housing Association properties and supporting regulation of rents, conditions and tenancies in the private rented sector;  stepping up campaigns to defend the NHS and abolish the NHS and Social Care Act, brnging privatised NHS services back under public ownership and control; and resolving to campaign for money to be spent on welfare rather than warfare,

The structure that was agreed created a body to be known as 'The Assembly' which would manage the PAAA between conferences and would be made up of one representative from each signatory group and one representative for each local, national or group assembly and this will nominate a management group to be endorsed by the Assembly. The Assembly will meet at least twice a year.

A supplementary motion from  the Coalition of Resistance was approved which set out the People's Assembly's commitemnt to be a broad united campaign against austerity, cuts and proiatisation in workplaces, commity and welfare services based on general agreement on the signatories' Founding Statement. It was made clear that the PA would be linked to no political party and would be committed to open non-sectarian working.

An amendment to adopt a less formal, decentralised structure with participatory democracy and consensus decision making, on the lines of Occupy, across the PAAA was defeated.

Two slightly contradictory motions were passed on Finance with some confusion about what constituted membership and membership fees, and whether these should be paid centrally or locally. This will need sorting out in the near future.

The Assembly adopted a future programme based on mobilising hundreds of thousands of people in activity and coordinating national events, days of action and support groups,

It was agreed to work to set up new People's Assembly groups, strengthen local groups and central organisation (finance will be essential for this) to hold 'meetings, rallies, protests and actions in every locality possible' and to mobilise for the following national events:
  • March 19th Budget Day Demonstration 
  • March 22nd Stand up to racism demo
  • March 26th Support for NUT strikes
  • April 5th Day of Action Against the Bedroom Tax
  • May Day Events
  • June 21st People's Assembly National Demonstration (support by the NUT)
  • August 31st NATO Protest Cardiff
  • September 28th Tory Party Conference protest
  • October 18th TUC National Demonstration
 The day ended with a rousing speech from Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT, making a strong case for community based campaigning in the form of the Stand Up For Education camaign that has seen NUT members out engaging with the public at high street and market places stalls throughout the country.

There is clearly a massive amount to do but the day left me feeling that we now had the beginnings of a structure to build a movement and the sense of shared purpose that can make it happen.


trevor said...

I Think That there are certain expectations that are way too high and one of those are when people start saying they want a government to reverse damaging austerity and replace it with a new set of policies providing us with a fair, sustainable and secure future. We can no longer tolerate politicians looking out for themselves and for the rich and powerful. Our political representatives must start governing in the interests of the majority in the direction outlined by this statement of aims.
we live in a country in which exploitation of the poor is the norm.
and to expect those that have created this system that thrives upon exploitation of the poor to suddenly have a change of heart and actually set out plans for a truly fair and just system in which exploitation of the poor is no longer the norm
is like expecting the health Secretary To View The Cigarette Business as it really is rather than continuing to tolerate and protect it as the So called Health Secretaries of Britain regardless of which political party they belong to.
the world we live in is deliberately corrupt and always will be.
simply cause those that take the responsibility of governing do so in a way that always benefits the rich.
they couldn't possibly tolerate a system in which there is no longer a class system.
they want the so called working class to truly believe they are inferior while the ETONITES are supposedly superior and destined to rule.
and yet after decades of ruler ship under So called Tories the state of the country is in a mess.
and they conveniently pass the blame onto the ones supposedly on our side aka The Labour party.

trevor said...

and after a few years of ruler ship by those supposedly on our side aka the so called labour party the system that thrives on exploitation remains.
to me that is like seeing a policeman/woman out on the beat dressed up in the uniform in other words they look the part but what they do and fail to do is what shatters the illusion.
likewise the labour party like to look the part by adopting slogans like "Britain deserves Better" and when they are given a chance to Live up to their slogan they do things like misuse the MP's expenses system which of course reveals their selfish sides which they of course would love to keep hidden from the ones on whose sides they claim to be on.
that also reveals double standards.
in that while we are expected to be honest in our daily activities, they can be dishonest when it suits them even though that obviously goes against the principles of democracy such the rule of law.
if the law states that gaining more than what one is legally entitled to is a crime for which punishment is received then how can those that make the laws think they can break them without being accountable?
and yet that is exactly what certain ones of the political parties did and it revealed a system in which you have one government but the government are able to make and break laws whenever it suits them.
they also approve of the public being exploited by the cigarette business and even when countless suffer and die as a direct result of smoking the government still allow it to continue.
and yet smoking ruins Health and the Lives of those addicted to Smoking
its natural to think that if a political party that claims to be on your side would fall over themselves to weaken the hold the cigarette business has on society.
but no instead they allow them to keep that hold on the public and instead use their authority to force the victims to abuse themselves out in the open and then drop the butts and empty boxes on the pavements.
so much for the political party that says it is on your side!
a political party claiming to be on your side would not give its approval to something that leaves people hurt all over.
that would be unthinkable but instead they welcome it!
because they were blinded by the billions they would reap in tax revenue.
and also this is what helps to create the very system that is now being condemned as being for the benefit of politicians looking out for themselves and for the rich and powerful.
this whole idea of politicians setting standards in which it is acceptable for business persons to exploit for selfish financial gain.
it sends out the message that if the price is right favor can be brought and that is exactly what has happened again and again whether those at the political steering wheel belong to labour or so called Tory.
and an extremely corrupt and unjust system is what can only grow when the planters are driven by greed and desire for more and more power.