Monday, 17 January 2011

Coalition of Resistance National Committee - a good start

Around 80 people attended the first meeting the CoR national Committee after November's founding conference.

There was a good spread of people there representing unions, local anti-cuts groups and political organisations. Among the participants was a representative for Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey. Unite has affiliated to CoR, which is a real boost for the organisation.

Andrew Burgin from the Steering Committee also reported that a working relationship had been established with the Right to Work Campaign and the Peoples Charter, and that it was hoped that something similar could could be established with the National Shop Stewards Network. There was a real willingness to have the broadest possible unity against the cuts.

In terms of activity the chief subjects for discussion were the TUC march planned for 26 March and the week of action being planned for 14 to 20 February.

The meeting also discussed a number of amendments to the founding statement of the CoR which had been held over from the conference, some of these were controversial, some not.

In general , there was a refreshing sense of realism about what CoR could most effectively do - acting as a source of collective support and solidarity for people on the front line of fighting cuts. Only a small minority wanted to substitute CoR for the leadership of the trade union and student movement, and they were comprehensively outvoted.

Accordingly, CoR declared itself ready to support and give solidarity to strikes and occupations against cuts, including co-ordinated action, but avoided the temptation to start sloganising about general strikes (as proposed in one amendment) - a sure way to give the trade union bureaucrats an excuse to withhold support.

In a similar vein, another amendment, which seemed to want to tell students how to organise themselves (like they need anyone's advice!) was also voted down.

The meeting did vote unanimously to call upon councils not to implement cuts and promised support for councillors who voted against cuts.

The other thorny issue was whether CoR should encourage local anti-cuts campaigns to stand candidates in the local elections. The meeting voted against this on the grounds that it would split the anti - cuts movement and narrow its base.

The meeting also heard a short speech from the honorary president Tony Benn and there were also guest speeches from a Belgian trade unionist and a Tunisian activist.

All in all a useful and promising meeting.

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