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Submitted by martin on Mon, 24/01/2011 - 23:20

1. So the reason for setting up a third centre alongside COR and RTW is that some COR and RTW supporters in local anti-cuts committees have a too-liberal policy about inviting Labour councillors to speak at meetings and protests?

That is a problem at the level of the local anti-cuts committees, not the national centres. So is the new NSSN centre proposing to set up its own "pure" anti-cuts committees, guaranteed Labour-councillor-free, in all areas?

Sometimes SWP has been "soft" on Labour councillors. Sometimes SP has been sectarian. Those issues should be debated out within united local campaigns, and a united national movement, rather than made the occasion for setting up a third centre.

2. "The anti-cuts campaign will merely be an add-on to NSSN..." We'll see. What the conference indelibly branded the NSSN as is an organisation unfriendly to anyone who does not accept that the SP are the only people "really" against cuts. That stance is incompatible with being a politically-broad shop stewards' network.

3. Yes, I know the "workplace delegates" system was as it has always been in the NSSN. Not all readers will know that. There is a difference between a vote of 305 people delegated by workplace meetings, and a vote of 305 people who have some workplace union post.

4. Ok, shall we say "nearly all" the non-SP members of the committee resigned? I don't know Andy's position.

5. I didn't suggest that AWL speakers were unable to get the floor because of exclusion by the SP (or anyone else). On the contrary, I noted that "the crowded hall contained many would-be speakers who couldn't get the floor".

6. There is no great virtue in conceding a democratic debate when you can't avoid it, and when your "party whip" ensures a majority whatever is said in the debate. The SP could scarcely have avoided a debate when all the non-SP members of the NSSN steering committee, and the majority of the NSSN officers, vehemently opposed what the SP wanted.

7. Cursing the Labour Party and the SWP does not amount to "a fighting programme second to none". I notice that you do not respond to the political gist:

"The SP's claim to be the guarantor of uncompromising industrial action against the cuts is also unfounded.

"SP speakers referred to Liverpool's Labour council in the mid-1980s, when it was controlled by Militant, forerunners of the SP, as a model. In fact Liverpool council never openly confronted the government; it made cuts in the course of the 1985-6 financial year and in its 1986 budget.

"The SP also claims PCS as a model of anti-cuts militancy. In fact the PCS is riding through a wave of job cuts in the civil service right now, with no campaign for industrial action to oppose them. Its strategy is based on a hope of future joint action (of some sort) on pensions with other public service unions if the conditions are right. It has just been ballotting its members on whether they are at all opposed to changes in the civil service severance-pay scheme worse than similar changes they struck against nearly a year ago!"

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