The steering committee of the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) had a tumultuous meeting last Saturday.
On the agenda were proposals about how the NSSN locates itself in the anti-cuts movement. The first sought to reaffirm the NSSN’s position as a network of trade union activists committed to working with all genuine anti-cuts groups.
The second proposal, from the Socialist Party (SP), called for the NSSN to set up an “All Britain Anti-Cuts Campaign” and “organise support for anti-cuts candidates in the local elections in May”.
This could alienate Labour Party members.
The SP has a majority on the steering committee and their members used this to defeat the first proposal. In the debate on the second resolution, SP comrades agreed to remove the clause urging support for “anti-cuts candidates in the forthcoming local elections”.
In a heated debate on the rest of the motion—setting up an All Britain Anti-Cuts Campaign—and despite attempts to amend the motion, SP members drove through their proposal. This could be a real set back for the NSSN and the wider movement.
At the moment no single organisation has a mandate or wide enough support to set itself up as the sole national organisation against the cuts.
The fact that every single NSSN steering committee member not in the SP voted against the proposal should be a warning that this divisive manoeuvre should not proceed.
Steering committee members opposed to the SP proposal met after the meeting. Many wanted to leave the NSSN, but agreed on reflection that we should try and reverse this decision before the NSSN conference on 22 January.