Report on Cork ULA branch meeting on 24 May

Notes from Cork ULA branch meeting Tuesday 24 May.

20 present.

1. Presentation by guest speakers from the Cork Unemployed Centre which is threatened with closure following a massive reduction in funding from FAS.

They are looking to replace/supplement the FAS funding with direct debit mandates from currently employed workers in Cork. The Cork Council of Trade Unions has agreed to allow/facilitate this but there have been problems getting contact details of shop stewards to set up meetings at work sites.

There was discussion about the need to change the Unemployed Centre from just providing support for the unemployed to becoming a base for campaigning against the causes of unemployment.

The meeting agreed that ULA union activists would seek to put pressure on their reps to get things moving.

2. Presentation by Spanish participant in the demonstration in Cork last Saturday in solidarity with the “True Democracy” events in Spain.

Discussion on how this might be broadened out to be about Ireland and not just solidarity with the events in Spain.

There is another solidarity demonstration in Cork this coming Saturday @ 2pm – all ULA members encouraged to attend.

3. Branch business.

Report by Mick B. on plans for the national forum on 25 June, his activity as the ULA Councillor in the past period and the branch finances.

Proposal by Mick B. to produce a leaflet for council workers who will be affected by the Council’s plans for privatisation of bin collections encouraging them to take industrial action – agreed.

Proposal by Mick B. for a day of action on Saturday 18 June against the plans for privatisation of bin collections and the threat of payment for, and privatisation of, the water supply – agreed.

Proposals on branch structures by Anne M. & Alan G.

1. That the branch has fortnightly meetings
2. That the branch sets up a discussion email list for all members
3. That all branch meetings begin with a political introduction and discussion and the second part is given over to plans for practical activity and administration matters
4. That a new branch steering committee be set up with the election of the committee to be held at the next branch meeting

There was general consensus over points 3 & 4 with the proviso that as the ULA is still an alliance the steering committee would be made up of reps from the SP, PBPA along with some non-affiliated to either of these groups (the interim steering committee is suggesting 2 SP, 2 PBPA, 2 non-affiliated). Another suggestion during the discussion was that there should be people elected to carry out functions needed by the branch according to the tasks we set ourselves rather than everything being pushed to the steering committee.

Points 1 & 2 proved more contentious and a motion by Mick B. to defer any decisions on structure until the next branch meeting was carried by 10 votes to 7 as against the proposers who agreed with postponing decisions on all the items except for setting up the email list.


1 Response to “Report on Cork ULA branch meeting on 24 May”

  1. May 25, 2011 at 13:09

    People may also be interested in the political motivation for our proposals that Anne and I included with the motion:

    Motions for ULA branch meeting 24 May – Branch Organisation

    Our new organisation has historic and challenging tasks ahead of it. The situation facing the working class in Ireland is very serious. There is anger but also deep demoralisation and a feeling of hopelessness. The central problem is lack of working class organisation. But now with the election success and five TDs in the Dail we are taking steps towards forming the party our class so desperately needs.

    Bringing together the existing left with working class people new to politics is an exciting experience. There are a tremendous number of issues to be discussed and debated. The perspective presented at the public meeting on 18 April, was that the ULA will be an organisation of struggle committed to creating an explicitly socialist political party. It is therefore essential that we have democratic structures in operation from the beginning. All members of the ULA should be fully involved in the organisation and discussions. We need to create a democratic and open culture.

    A monthly meeting schedule would mean that far too many decisions would have to be made by the steering committee and is therefore contrary to the aim of empowering the rank-and-file membership. Fortnightly meetings would seem to be a minimum for any rank-and-file membership-driven organisation that aims to be active in campaigns against the attacks of the bosses and their government. Although in the next few months of the summer there may be little campaigning activity in Cork this would give us time to concentrate on political discussion to help provide a solid basis when we do get a chance to start practical activity.

    Any leadership bodies or administrative positions created by the new organisation should be open and transparent as direct representatives of the rank-and-file membership. The interim steering committee from the election pact has done a good job in getting things started but we need an elected body that reflects the reality of the new organisation.

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