In the lead up to the Scottish Labour leadership election, the CfS executive met to discuss the best possible approaches for CfS to, firstly, decide on whether to endorse a leadership campaign, and then, secondly, debate the most efficient approaches to intervene in support of Richard Leonard once this had been agreed.
After the result was announced, an all-members meeting was called for Edinburgh, where the result was reflected upon, and then discussion was held about the best approach for CfS to take forward under the new leadership and for 2018.
The following are brief reports back on the Executive meetings (which were delayed in being sent as a result of the leadership contest being the main priority) and then a longer report back on the main points agreed at the all member meeting.
Campaign for Socialism Executive Meeting – 3rd September 2017
- The recently announced leadership campaign and candidates was discussed. The executive formalised their full and unanimous support for Richard Leonard.
- It was felt that CfS should remain independent of the official campaign in order to effectively put across the views of the grassroots
- It was agreed that CfS should run a positive and complimentary campaign, focusing on the distinct and radical policies of Richard Leonard and Jeremy Corbyn
- It was announced that Seán Duffy and Lesley Brennan will both be working on Richard’s campaign team.
2. Motions for consideration
Campaign for Socialism Executive Meeting – 4th November 2017
1. Leadership (and meeting post result)
- An all members meeting was organised for 2nd December in Wester Hailes. Motions will be accepted in the week prior.
- Seán Duffy gave a report of the leadership situation and the expected results. It was noted that there is a great deal more campaigning to be done in order to secure victory.
2. Motions to conference (including rule change regarding the NEC)
- Options explored for a motion and rule change, and present to the next executive.
3. Youth SEC election
- Nathaniel Butler Blondel and Mhairi Sharkey have been confirmed as CfS/SLYS endorsed candidates.
4. Momentum NCG representative
- The ballot for this position will go out shortly. There are 3 confirmed candidates. Lorcan Mullen, Grant Aitken, and Stan Crooke. They will all be given an opportunity to contact the CfS facebook group members.
5. Finalising AGM
- AGM expected to be in March 2017, likely the 3rd Saturday of the month.
6. Local groups
- A number of members stressed the importance of maintaining and building up local groups. Progress on this has been mixed.
Campaign for Socialism All Members Meeting – 2017
1. Report back on leadership campaign and discussion.
- A broad range of submissions were made from the floor about the campaign. The victory of Richard Leonard was welcomed, but there was a recognition that there is still significant work to do within the Scottish Labour Party as well as the wider UK Party and labour movement to rebuild our base of support and ensure that we are in a position to win elections again.
- The growth of CfS and significant role it played in mobilising the grassroots of the party in support of the main campaign was recognised, and this needs to be built on for the coming years, as well as reflecting on areas of weakness and ensuring that we address them.
2.Report on CfS Executive work and proposals post-election
A variety of papers and reports were presented to the meeting to provide an update on work that has been ongoing and planned for the new year. Below is a summary of those.
A. Political Education
Lorcan Mullen, the recently elected CfS rep to the Momentum NCG provided a paper on political education. The main point was that: "Momentum (nationwide) and CFS (in Scotland) have made remarkable progress in the past few years. We now have socialist leadership at Westminster and Holyrood, have scored a string of victories in internal elections and have strengthened our position in selection battles. We can't get complacent about any of this, but we must also divert some thought and energy to longer-term development work designed to build a party and culture that carries our politics well beyond the current leadership." This work will be taken forward in the new year.
B. CfS Sub-Committees
At our AGM we agreed that there should be various sub-committees set up to help increase the scope of work that CfS undertakes as well as being a forum for our membership to become more involved in the organisation. Certain Executive members would effectively be the chair of these sub-committees and invite members to get involved and arrange events, produce policy, etc. Constitutionally, the agreed committees were:
Women's Sub-Committee (chaired by the Women’s Officer)
Policy Sub-Committee (chaired by the Policy Officer)
Campaign Sub-Committee (chaired by the Vice-Chair)
Other sub-committees could be set up as required to meet other demands.
However, due to the General Election and then the Scottish leadership contests, we have not had the time or resources to launch these sub-committees. The proposal is to formally launch these in the new year, and begin building the relevant networks and forums to progress them.
We should have these established and initial meetings or discussions taking place in advance of the 2018 AGM where the relevant Executive officers will report back on their initial progress.
C. Trade Unions
We have started to encourage trade unions and branches to affiliate to CfS. This is with the joint view of increasing our connections with the wider labour movement and, eventually, encouraging trade unionists to join and become more active in both CfS and the Labour Party. We have already undertaken some initial leafleting and organised protests in support of the the Boycott Picturehouse/Cineworld campaign, and have been approached about supporting the McDonalds strikes for £10/hour in the new year.
D. Candidate Selections
Due to the leadership election, the process for selecting Prospective Parliamentary Candidates for the 20 most marginal Scottish seats was delayed until January. It is likely that the Scottish Executive Committee will put forward a timetable for this in January. CfS will be actively encouraging members to stand for selections across Scotland.
There will shortly be an election for the 8 Executive positions of the Scottish Association of Labour Councillors (SALC).
The SALC Executive is there to represent Scottish Labour Councillors, ensure their voice is heard at all levels of the party and that they are given the support they need to best represent their communities. The Chair of SALC, elected by the 8 Executive Members, will also occupy one of the 2 Local Government positions on the Scottish Executive Committee (SEC).
The SALC Executive will consist of eight representatives, with two elected per twinned region. Within each twinned regional ballot the male and female with the highest number votes will both be elected – ensuring a gender balanced Executive.
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F. Democracy Review
The UK Labour Party has launched a Democracy Review regarding the party’s structures and mechanisms for engaging with our membership. The deadline for submissions to this can be done individually or via CLPs, the latter of which will carry more weight. Due to the size and scope of the review there are three ‘phases’ which will allow for staggered submissions. They are:
Phase one (deadline 12th January)
The role of BAME Labour
The role of Young Labour
The role of Labour Party Women’s Conference.
Phase two (deadline 23rd March)
The governance of CLPs
The role of socialist societies
Improving diversity and gender representation
Strengthening the involvement and participation of members
The recruitment of members and harnessing the potential of social media.
Phase three (29 June)
The method of electing the Party Leader
The composition of the NEC
The policy process including CLP motions
Local and national links with Trade Unions.
It is proposed that local CfS and Momentum groups should meet early in the new year to discuss their priorities and organise submissions to be passed through CLPs. The CfS Executive will provide information packs to local groups to facilitate discussion. Local group reps will coordinate the responses via the CfS Executive.
G. Campaign Days
The Labour Party is changing the way it does campaign days - moving away from lots of small events, to four or five mass canvass sessions. The first of these will take place on 20th January and likely to be in Edinburgh N&L, Glasgow SW, Dunfermline & West Fife, Inverclyde and Motherwell & Wishaw.
- One amendment was passed, asking for quarterly all member meetings to be held. This will take effect from the 2018 AGM.
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