The “People’s Convention” against cuts called by SWP and LRC on 12 February should be a chance to make good the damage done by the SP’s coup in the National Shop Stewards’ Network (creating a new SP-line “anti-cuts movement”) and the Coalition of Resistance (anti-cuts campaigning as an exercise in listening to lots of celebrities speak).
To take that chance, all the SWP needed was good sense, telling them to make the conference practically-focused, open for serious debate, and unity-oriented.
But four days before the conference there is no agenda — just an ever-longer list of workshops and celebrity speakers, many of them not very good.
The minority caucus after the NSSN event decided to take up an offer from SWP to run a workshop on 12 February, but SWP has apparently been tactless enough to put them off.
The conference should:
• Propose specific united actions with the other national anti-cuts campaigns; support FBU general secretary Matt Wrack’s call on the unions to organise a unity conference.
• Tell the SWP to stop setting up local Right to Work groups as fronts for the SWP, often in competition with broad-based anti-cuts committees. (In Lambeth, for example, the SWP has still not reconciled itself fully to working in the Save Our Services campaign.)
• Orient towards struggles that are happening now, and generalising them. Tell the SWP to give up demagogic calls for a general strike. (Will the SWP be putting this demand on the union bureaucrats speaking at the conference?)
• Make itself a space for real debate among activists, not just set-pieces, and create a properly functioning open and democratic structure.
Anti-cuts activists should attend the conference to push these ideas.