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Statement on the crisis in the NSSN

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The Socialist Workers Party has issued the following statement on the crisis in the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN)
Issue 2237

The working class movement in Britain faces its biggest challenge for decades. If successful the assault launched by the Con-Dem Coalition will devastate the lives of millions of people.

We believe that the key issue facing all those under attack from this vicious Con-Dem government is unity. It is absolutely crucial that all trade unionists, anti-cuts groups, students and those from differing political traditions come together.

The decision made by the National Shop Stewards Network anti-cuts conference on 22 January to establish another national anti-cuts campaign, made by the Socialist Party majority at the event, went against the wishes of all the independent elements in the NSSN’s elected leadership and has led to the withdrawal of most of these comrades from the NSSN as a whole.

Alongside the comrades from the Socialist Party and SWP, the “independents” have been the backbone of the NSSN over its five year history. We believe this outcome is disastrous for the NSSN as a broad based organisation of shop stewards and campaigners and will harm attempts to bring national and local anti-cuts campaigns together in the future.

Socialist Workers Party members who have been active in the NSSN wish to make it clear that we wish to work closely with the NSSN “independents” in the future. But we also call on the Socialist Party to step back from their decision and work to re-unite the NSSN.

Socialist Party comrades are not the only activists committed to building the anti-cuts movement and are not the only grouping opposed to every cut. To argue differently is simply not serious politics.

Although we felt it was impossible for our members who were officers of the NSSN to remain in place, our comrades on the NSSN steering committee will attend its next meeting on 19 February and call for serious moves by the Socialist Party majority on that body to bridge the chasm that has opened up in the organisation.

Millions of ordinary workers who will come out onto the streets on 26 March or are set to take action against the cuts will not forgive the left if it fails to unite at this time of crisis.

The Socialist Workers Party stands for an all out fight against every cut. We also stand for a united anti-cuts movement that brings together all national, local and trade union bodies. We call on the NSSN’s Socialist Party leadership to play its part in making this a reality.

Issued 1 February 2011

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