Collective Resistance, but as one who was there I can provide a first-hand account of the whole disheartening experience. Some of the background is in my earlier post.
As one delegate (in one of the better speeches) pointed out, the trade union movement in this country is catastrophically underprepared for the onslaught the ConDems want to unleash upon our jobs, our terms and conditions and the public services we work in and/or use. About 27% of the working population is in a union. In the "strong" public sector, union density is barely more than half; in the private sector it plummets to about 15%. Trade union struggle is at an all-time low with worker resistance the exception not the norm, and shop steward numbers continue to decline.
In this area, while we were chewing the fat in a school assembly hall in Camden, jobs were going in the Brighton-based British Bookshops group (with more likely when the whole operation goes belly-up in the coming weeks), and yet another tranche of redundancies at the already battered Edwards Engineering in Crawley and Shoreham.
In this situation there is a crying need for a rank-and-file shop stewards movement to build the resistance which most of the union leaderships are failing to provide. We need a network which can support union reps at workplace level and give them the confidence to build trade unionism and build struggle.
Instead what we got was the Socialist Party deciding that what really mattered at this juncture was the formation of yet another national anti-cuts movement built in their own image.
And it really is in their own image....in fact....drop the word "image". It's them...pure and simple....no-one else! They've managed to drive everyone.....everyone....else out of the NSSN leadership. Way to go comrades!
This had to be justified by arguing that there was no other anti-cuts movement with the "correct" politics - in a battle where no real enemy exists, it is necessary to create one. So we had speech after speech denouncing the Coalition of Resistance (a genuine broad movement) for holding positions it does not hold, and in some cases just making stuff up about how CoR is "soft" on Labour, and doesn't oppose all cuts. Strange that...when I was at CoR National Council last week, an amendment to the Founding Statement calling on councillors not to vote for or implement cuts was passed without dissent.
Among some of the statements which rankled was Tony Mulhearn's moaning about about "people taking their ball home if they don't get their way". Well yes Tony, if the whole defence, most of the midfield and both wingers do that then maybe there are some "management issues" that need sorting! We had Linda Taafe declaring "NSSN was here first". Here first as a shop stewards movement, Linda, not the anti-cuts movement. And there was Dave Nellist, claiming that the SP's opponents "lacked shopfloor experience". Flamin' cheek! How could he possibly know?
One of the saddest aspects of this is that SP members would be a real asset to a broad anti-cuts movement, but sectarian advantage seems more important to them. The classic disease of the British far left.
One can only hope that they will rejoin the broad movement from which they currently seem to have separated themselves.