Coalition of Resistance Conference Report

Report on Coalition of Resistance(CoR) conference 27th November
The venue of the conference, the Camden Town Hall was packed  and to accommodate the 1,200 delegates who had registered,  an overflow room had to be used. My  feeling  at the end of proceedings was that this was an impressive conference. The student demonstrations and occupations served as an example  to the conference  of the determination of a new generation to resist the cuts imposed by the Con. Dem. Government.  Students engaged in direct action had in some cases succeeded in their demands put to the university authorities. The tactics adopted by the police in kettling students at demonstrations had only strengthened their resolve to resist cuts. Paul   Mackney said  lecturers and college workers had joined the students in their demonstrations and he  foresaw the day when  a united  resistance movement of workers, students, community organisations and minority groups, confronted the government
        Rachel Newton  of the People’s Charter said it was impossible to separate politics from economics and that signing the People’s Charter would help to build a national movement against the cuts. Jean Lambert of the Green Party said the government talked about a big society but the cuts and unemployment it was creating, made that impossible. She called for job creation  to reduce carbon emissions, to build houses for the homeless and properly insulate them. John McDonnell  of Labour Party said abstention on cuts were not good enough and that there should not be any cuts by Labour or other councillors. Mark Serwotka talked about opposing the government tactics of shock and awe with mass strikes and linking up with the students. Len McCluskey, newly elected secretary of Unite promised that he was going to instruct his union’s  branches to link up with the anti-cuts committees. Bob Crow of RMT came out strongly in favour of direct action. A French leader of a railway trade union in France, Christian Mahieux discussed the 6 months struggle of the French workers against attacks on their pension rights . Although they had lost the struggle, they were not demoralised. He felt that the current in the trade union movement, which had  wanted a general strike called that might have brought success , was too weak to carry the day .  He stressed the necessity of the European trade unions linking up in the struggle against the austerity measures. Ken Loach said we cannot go half way in the struggle against cuts, we have to fight all the cuts. We have to articulate an alternative to the cuts and devise a strategy for victory.  Andrew Murray of  STWC said the government were spending  £ 6 billion on the war in Afghanistan.  People were recruited into the army because there were no jobs for them. Britain had no right to have waged war in Afghanistan and should withdraw its troops.
The conference then broke up into workshops. One of those I attended was on  organising against the cuts locally. There were anti-cuts committees from all over the country represented, London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Brighton, Andover ……..  There was agreement about   being in favour of no cuts to public services but  supporting cuts to  Trident and the armed forces. We are in favour of tackling inflated management salaries and opening the council accounts to the unions and community. Another political argument developed around how we related to Labour councils. The overwhelming feeling was that those who made or supported cuts,  excluded themselves from the anti-cuts movement. I also attended a workshop on states of inequality.  Discrimination against the LGBT community, against the black minority, against disabled people and gender inequality meant that they would suffer more from the cuts than the rest of the community. In implementing the cuts, the ruling class employ the policy of divide and rule, treating the most vulnerable sections of the community the harshest. Therefore in fighting against the cuts it was essential for all to stand together  against discrimination.
At the closing plenary session, there were rousing speeches from Dot Gibson, a pensioners campaigner, who said the pensioners had to be as involved in the fight against the cuts as other sections of the population. John Rees said he had been the first member of his family who had received a university education and he was going to make sure he was not the last. Chris Bambery of the Right to Work Campaign(RTWC) talked about how some people in the hall came from a tradition, where their organisation rushes to claim they are the leadership. He believed those holding such pretentions should be punished by the mass movement. He invited those present to get involved in the RTWC’s upcoming conference and demonstration.
One hundred and twenty people had their names put forward for membership of a national committee, which will elect an executive at its first meeting. All were accepted. Twenty two amendments were made to the resolutions, which were up for discussion. CoR  will hold a policy making conference before July 2011 and a “No Fees No Cuts” student conference to try and unite the divided students campaign was agreed.
 
                                                                                                Norman Traub   December 10

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  1. […] Report on Coalition of Resistance(CoR) conference 27th November The venue of the conference, the Camden Town Hall was packed  and to accommodate the 1,200 delegates who had registered,  an overflow room had to be used. My  feeling  at the end of proceedings was that this was an impressive conference. The student demonstrations and occupations served as […]More Info: Click here […]

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