The Coalition of Resistance National Council met last weekend to decide the next steps to build a united anti-cuts movement and what we think that movement needs to fight for. 70 of the 122 people who put themselves forward at the conference attended and there was a real breadth of representation there from different campaigns, unions and movements.
The day kicked off with a political discussion of the cuts, which was interesting and also included some reports of the work of local anti-cuts campaigns. However, the length of this discussion meant that all the decision-making parts of the meeting had to be cut down and this was detrimental to our ability to organise and decide the actual policy of CoR.
Although there was no time for discussion of the week of action starting 14th Feb, it was clear that it will be very useful for building support for the 26th Jan TUC anti-cuts demo in London.
A number of resolutions were proposed at the conference that were then referred to the National Council to discuss and decide on. There wasn’t much time for debate but some good decisions were made, like trying to forge links with anti-cuts groups across the world and holding another CoR conference in June where decisions could be made.
A few good resolutions fell, but we can always take these to the next conference to be considered by a larger number of people. They included additions to CoR’s policy like being in favour of a general strike and the development of a rank and file movement, and also on basing the National Council on representatives of the local anti-cuts groups and other campaigns who would then be accountable to those groups.
We finished with the election of the steering committee and then a speech from a Tunisian activist on the developing struggle for democracy.
Overall, my impression was that the anti-cuts movement is alive and well and the conference in June should cement the basis of a national anti-cuts movement, especially following the TUC demo on 26th March. However, I do think that we need to do more to try and unite the anti-cuts movement, especially considering that this weekend the National Shop Stewards Network has launched it’s own anti-cuts campaign. It’s also not just a question of getting everyone opposes the cuts to work together, but also to say what we need to do to stop the cuts. To me it’s clear that to bring down this government we need a general strike, and the anti-cuts movement has a responsibility to say this.