Report on the work of the AWL

Submitted by cathy n on 24 May, 2021 - 1:49

The AWL gives credit to itself for adapting well to the pandemic conditions. These have brought our strengths, clear-sighted Marxist politics, to the fore — from proposals to fight pandemic inequalities, to principled internationalism as right wing populism and chauvinism is on the rise. Adaptation has been hard work and inevitably our organisational infrastructure has been under strain; nonetheless we have made some organisational gains. We can always do better, but our main task this year will be to work patiently at the areas that we can improve. We will return to the programme of work agreed at our January 2020 conference and seek to implement those parts of it, for reasons of pandemic conditions, were impossible to carry out. In other areas we have made progress, perhaps in unexpected ways, and these can be built on. All of these decisions will be reviewed at a further conference in November 2021.

1. Meetings etc.

• Continue with online meetings until conditions improve. Reintroduce face-to-face meetings, especially smaller ones which can be more easily socially-distanced, as soon as possible

• Continue longer-term with online meetings where this form facilitates new activities and improves the cohesion of others: political education, fraction meetings, geographically distanced branches.

• Continue and expand the programme of inviting people for political conversations, to online meetings and activities of our own and of campaigns we take part in, and to offer subscriptions to the paper and other literature

• Organise “activist skills” training workshops for our members, in areas such as public speaking, article writing, motion writing, direct action, contact meetings, press work, digital skills.

 

2. Sales and system of press

• Continue with a weekly paper and re-establish as soon as possible regular attractive local stalls — using petitions, slogans adapted to post-Covid conditions, leaflets advertising meetings.

• Rediscuss publishing a magazine at the November 2021 conference.

 

3. Social media; audio and video

• To develop over the year more systematic, planned social media content.

• To ask branches to flag up and review this content weekly.

 

4. Environmental work

• Help create, and stand for environmental rep positions in the labour movement.

• Set up and participate in Socialist Green New deal and LGND groups and other activist climate groups as they emerge with easing of the pandemic.

• Re-establish a climate work committee which will, as a first job, maps out the realistic possibilities for environmental work

• We can expect that one of the lasting impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic is an increased interest in and activism around climate change. The COP26 talks in Glasgow may generate further interest.

 

Further:

The focus of much of the climate movement thus far has been around reducing carbon emissions. While this is more urgent than ever, a lot of the negative consequences of climate change are already locked in. Climate change is already happening and it is getting worse. Nobody knows the pace of change but official predictions have consistently underestimated the speed of climate change.

The pandemic has shown that capitalist society has a tendency to under prepare for crises caused by natural disasters. It also shows that the capitalist mode of production is extremely fragile and economic recovery will lag a long way behind the easing of Covid restrictions.

There is a need for a socialist agitation for adequate preparations for climate change, even as we fight against it. We are in favour of workers plans for climate resilient infrastructure and demands for the resources to enact those plans. This is an area that has been largely ignored by the left but could form the basis of our intervention into the mobilisation around COP26, climate focused movements that emerge in coming years and the broader labour movement.

• We will produce a pamphlet based around this proposal for workers plans for the climate crisis in time for the COP26 mobilisation. We cannot substitute ourselves for the best engineering and scientific minds, but we can set out the broad predictions for how climate change will affect our ability to sustain lives and livelihoods. We can also set out the political principles of workers plans that reflect socialist values of equality and internationalism: e.g. rights to food, freshwater, housing, healthcare, safe passage.

• We will set up a series of discussions for the pamphlet

• We will seek to involve our international contacts in these discussions and if possible produce it collaboratively with these groups.

 

5. Campaigning

• Support the development of AWL sub-committees for our campaigning work. This will help mobilise resources as well as focus the work.

• Seek regular information on activity, publishing it in the paper's Agenda column, so that the work is systematically organised and connected with the AWL.

 

6. Industrial work

• Promote the anti-austerity pamphlet through the year.

• Organise an industrial school with the aim of tying together our trade union work.

• Systematically involve people in distributing our bulletins.

 

7. Labour Party

Last year’s conference was held in the aftermath of the Corbyn defeat and we were looking to consolidate as much as possible. The Labour Party report deals with these issues, events of this year and proposals for next year.

 

8. Feminist work

• To produce Women’s Fightback at least twice this year (aiming to scale up in 2022). To organise a meeting to produce the next WF.

• To bring proposals for a feminist event to our November 2021 conference.

 

9. “Two states” solidarity work

Last year’s conference resolved to develop an initiative around solidarity work informed by the “Two States” approach; this was put on the back burner. Opportunities to take this up have become more urgent.

• To ask the incoming NC to rediscuss solidarity work in the light of a reshuffled political terrain as the pandemic restrictions ease.

 

10. Anti-racism

The incoming National Committee will commission a discussion or series of discussions, focused on analysis of racial inequality in the UK and critiques of existing Marxist approaches, culminating in a new programme on ‘How to fight racism’.

 

11. Other policies

• Last conference also asked the NC to bring to a conclusion discussions on animal products and anti-semitism. The NC will decide how to do this before conference.

• Amendments to our policies and a rewritten Complaints procedure has been produced and these will be presented to the organisation after a process of consultation and thorough editing — for amending and voting on at conference. This can be found here.

Comments

Submitted by David Warren (not verified) on Tue, 25/05/2021 - 10:56

A quarterly magazine would be a good idea. I hope you decide to start producing one.

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