The views expressed in this email and blog are those of the individuals whose name is attached to the posting. They do not represent a collective position of the WLG or the Labour Party
This week’s email and blog follows on from our Welsh Labour Grassroots AGM which was held last Saturday 27 October. A report of that meeting has already been circulated and can be accessed on our blog. At the end of the report are the resolutions that were agreed, together with an updated statement of principles and priorities for WLG.
On 25th October, Compass held a meeting in Cardiff that was primarily aimed at starting a left of centre debate about an alternative plan B for Wales. Compass has also produced a report of their meeting which is available here. This week’s discussion piece was stimulated by thoughts emanating from both events, which as usual is at the end of this email and has been posted to our blog.
Labour Representation Committee annual conference in London this Saturday, 10th November – all the details and online registration here.
On Saturday, 17th November, the Socialist Educational Association and other progressive educational campaign groups are holding a conference in London called ‘Picking up the Pieces after Gove’, 9.45 am – 4.00pm at Camden Centre, Camden Town Hall, Judd Street, London WC1H 9JE.
Cardiff Trades Council is organising a meeting as a follow up to the TUC demonstration on how to come together to fight the politics and policies of austerity. This takes place at 6.30 pm on Monday 19 November at the Holiday Inn, Castle St Cardiff. Here is the Facebook link with the details and facility to indicate that you are coming.
The next WLG meeting will take place on Saturday 1st December at Swansea Civic Centre (11.00am-1.00 pm) with Mark Seddon as guest speaker.
Left Week – Len Arthur
Silence has been a recurrent theme over the last week or so. Silence about how cyclone Sandy bought devastation to the Caribbean, especially Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica (the latter report coming from the Hindi Times!) The other silence has been from the left about the Tories defeat in the Commons over Europe.
In the last bulletin, I suggested that the Parliamentary Labour Party should move a vote of confidence in the government and thought it might bring forward the accusation of being utopian. Lo and behold, the PLP has subsequently decided to organise a Commons defeat over payments to the EU. Not so utopian, but what dangerous issues. Tactically planting your tanks on the opposition’s lawn may make for good parliamentary fun, but lining them up with right-wing Tories and jingoists on two key issues: public spending cuts and the EU, should send political shivers down the spine of every socialist.
At first sight it may seem wonderful to see the Tories defeated – hence, presumably, the silence from some of the left (however, not all) – but attacking on these two issues undermines what we are fighting against daily: cuts and nationalism. Where we need to be is not lined up with the Tory right, but with workers who are fighting back across Europe; we should be preparing common ground by fighting ourselves; organising what we can for the ETUC day of action on 14 November – see also the PCS statement; and getting as many comrades as possible along to Cardiff TUC meeting on the 19th.
What should we be supporting? Well the European Left position is a good start and the Marxists economist Michael Roberts again repeated this week a strong European socialist case. So – yes please, PLP, move a vote of no confidence in the Tories that we can all mobilise around: one that directly attacks the Tories’ ‘scorched earth’ polices on everything the working class has fought for and holds dear.
Labour Representation Committee (LRC) hold their (our) annual conference in London this Saturday, 10th November, and the link provides details of registration and motions. The LRC have also produced an analysis of left motions that were passed at the Labour Party conference. It is interesting how we have to dig around behind all grandstanding of the speeches to find out what happened at the real business of the conference.
Here is something called the Welfare News Service which brings together some frightening information about the numbers of families and what areas will be hit by the next stage of benefits cuts in April 2013. We need to dig into this information and identify what is going to happen in Wales and in our local areas, so we can start to mobilise those affected and who wish to fight. A good example is the ‘We are the poor’ meeting in Cardiff that was held on 2 November.
Internationally, the miners’ strikes in South Africa are reaching a critical stage – one of the miners’ leaders spoke in Cardiff last night and this Facebook page for the event also gives details of how to give financial support. In Europe, the rise of the fascists in Greece is a concern for us all as our own poor political judgement could allow this to happen: a fightback is possible. Links, the international journal of socialist renewal, can be followed through their website or through Facebook and has a sister called the Green Left Weekly. Their political approach is similar to that of Red Pepper and it is stimulating to read articles where just reading the ‘position’ statement in the last paragraph is not sufficient – if you know what I mean!
Finally, although it is too late to attend, Llafur, which used to be the Welsh Labour History Society, had its AGM a few weeks ago, but the speaker list is useful as it indicates some of the more recent Welsh labour history research.
The UK Labour Party website is here.
The Welsh Labour website is here. Stephen Doughty’s campaign in Cardiff South & Penarth is looking for support and the Police Commissioner elections draw near. Additional leverage for economic growth in Wales was Jane Hutt’s verdict on the in principle agreement for Wales to receive capital borrowing powers.
All the best
Darren Williams WLG SecretaryLen Arthur WLG Assistant Secretary