Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Convention Of The Left Statement Of Action

The Convention of The Left (supported by Green Left and a number of local Green Parties) organising group has published a statement of action ahead of the recall event on January 24th 2009.

Convention of The Left – moving forward – Statement of Action

The September launch of the Convention of The Left exceeded expectations and was a significant event on the left. We must now work out how to build on this positive beginning.

We re-affirm our intention “to join together with all those seeking a better society, as an anti-capitalist left fighting for an alternative socialist society” (September 21st 2008 Statement of Intent).

Local Campaigning

To do this effectively we must “go local” – building local Conventions, experimenting with organisational and political models, learning from each other and from experience, building on “what works”, with an emphasis on bottom up campaigning, participation and decision making.

Local Convention of The Left groups or forums should develop a combination of campaigning and political discussion – not duplicating other campaigns or seeking to replace them but drawing the left together in co-operation and struggle. We should go out of our way to overcome the division that exists between the organised left and the direct actionist and libertarian groups.

Campaigns should be developed and supported locally. Already some local groups have taken a lead in actions coming out of the financial crisis, on house repossessions, on fuel poverty and energy costs. Other areas of activity might include anti-academy campaigns, defence of local GP surgeries against poly-clinics, campaigns against privatisations, in support of migrants and opposing deportations, fighting the fascist threat.

Local Convention of The Lefts should be encouraged to:

1. produce reports for a local convention section of the website

2. discuss demands and programs of action around their struggles

3. submit these demands and charters to the Convention website and future events for
further discussion.

National Campaigning

We re-affirm that this is not the construction of another political party. Rather, the strength of the Convention lies in attempting to bring local groupings together and to provide a wider forum for discussion and united action – so that we can strengthen the anti capitalist left by uniting ourselves around action and policies where we can.
The Recall Event on January 24th 2009 should elect a steering committee to build on the work of the group that organised Manchester 2008’s Convention. This steering committee should be charged with organising or co-ordinating future activity – such as a further day or weekend Convention in summer 2009 – and with exploring the possibilities of a similar event at TUC and/or Labour Party Conference in Brighton 2009 as was organised in Manchester 2008.

John Nicholson, for the organising group, also sketched out the proposed shape of the recall event in an e-mail to supproters -

The provisional agenda is for a general political discussion (particularly about the development of a socialist economic alternative) followed by three parallel workshops (loosely along the lines of planet, peace, people) and a final plenary for agreeing demands, actions, campaigns, and ways of working that we can all carry out together across the left.

All sessions will follow the style developed by the Convention in September - participation rather than top-down platforms, consensus rather than polarisation - and we encourage background contributions or suggestions for action that will fit with the themes outlined. We would also welcome progress reports from local Convention groups or forums that may have started to develop. (We do request that all contributions are short and, in line with the Statement of Intent agreed in September, we request that contributions are not about the creation of a new left party now.) Please can you email these or submit to the website discussion - no later than January 10th, so that we can collate and circulate for the day itself.

Here is the Convention's discussion blog.

Let us hope we can see real progress as grassroots unity of all progressive left forces on the ground in Britain is going to be very important in the coming period of struggle against recession, attacks on living standards and possible ominous far-right electoral inroads.

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