Linda Taaffe is defiant:
'A few stones hurled at us by those with bruised egos will not deflect us from our course'
REPLY TO STATEMENT BY DAVE CHAPPLE AND OTHERS
'I want to clarify some matters that are circulating regarding the outcome of the NSSN Anti-Cuts Conference on January 22nd.
It seems that some people, who are not “independents” but themselves have their own various political affiliations, have taken umbrage at the result of a democratic process. This was conducted on the basis of their prior negotiated agreement and consent about all the procedures to be followed at the Conference. Now, instead of taking up the real issues they prefer to throw mud at the Socialist Party comrades on the Steering Committee.
This is what happened
1) Two motions were brought to the Steering Committee on 4th December. After more than three hours of discussion one proposed by myself to set up an NSSN Anti-Cuts Campaign, was passed; the other recommending throwing our lot in with Right to Work and Coalition of Resistance was defeated. Our view was that we did not want to dissolve the NSSN into either of these organisations, but would work with them as and when.
2) Despite this vote we proposed putting the two motions AGAIN to the Anti-Cuts Conference. A procedure was negotiated. Equal time was given to each motion both in moving it, and in speaking from the floor. Two chairs decided on each side’s speakers. In all 15 from each side were heard. There was a credentials committee with one person from each side should there be any problems. Equal numbers of tellers, who were paired, counted the votes. Apart from a few, but important, introductory speakers the whole day was devoted to the discussion.
In the end the Majority Motion won 305 – 89. The vast majority of delegates who were real “independents” supported the majority motion. This is called democracy. As one delegate pointed out, it is a sad day when trade unionists, who lose the vote, threaten to take their ball home.
However, some have not only taken their ball home, they have also spread lies and misconceptions. Even before the Conference took place some tried to turn left general secretaries against the NSSN. This backfired.
Just today the Socialist Workers Party have published a statement saying that they will attend the next NSSN Steering Committee to “call on the Socialist Party to step back from their decision and work to re-unite the NSSN”. Yet the SWP members who are Officers have already taken the decision to divide the NSSN by resigning from the NSSN Steering committee.
This so-called “Majority of NSSN Officers” now complains about the influence of the Socialist Party. Yet I cannot think of any important initiative that was even suggested by these individuals. All the events, conferences, demonstrations, lobby of TUC etc were largely proposed and worked for by Socialist Party members on the Steering Committee. Some Officers whose first allegiance was to the Right to Work or Coalition of Resistance constantly sniped to undermine the integrity of the NSSN.
From the moment the NSSN was set up - as the result of a resolution of RMT - initially of only 12 members, its composition has always been made up of all shades on the left. From 2006 up to the present we have managed to work together. As a broad and inclusive Network there was freedom to organise in whatever way activists found useful.
At the time of the Conference there were 11 Officers, 5 in the Socialist Party, 2 in RTW/SWP, 2 Syndicalists, 1 in a small sect Permanent Revolution and 1 ex-WRP. It reflects very badly that these 6 people cannot accept a democratic vote.
The NSSN Steering Committee aims to continue with the work we have been doing, and which has won recognition from many in the trade union movement. Note how the FBU publicly praised the NSSN for our work in their strike, and at the same time condemned those in RTW for their denunciations of their leadership. We hope to intensify our efforts to help strengthen trade union organisation on the ground and prepare for the coming battles.
A few stones hurled at us by those with bruised egos will not deflect us from this course.'