Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

People’s Assembly Conference: Personal Reflections.

with 4 comments

Photo: Andrew Coates (aka @Pabloite) from Suffolk People's Assembly speaking against #workfare at The People's Assembly national conference. #PAAAconf14

Andrew Coates  from Suffolk People’s Assembly speaking against #workfare at The People’s Assembly national conference. #PAAAconf14 — with Clare Solomon and Andrew Coates atPeople’s Assembly

The People’s Assembly conference on Saturday  was a success.

Proudhon said that while the French working class talks, the British  and German movement organise.

I would like to give respect to Jacky and to Clare for their contribution  to organisation.

It was highly appropriate to begin the day with tributes to comrades Bob Crow and Tony Benn.

I was waiting for  the right venue to hear and appreciate their lives and we got it – the most moving and the best tributes that you could possibly hear.

As they said, don’t mourn: organise.

We are a good Suffolk People’s Assembly.

We are based on the trade unions, and real co-operation between all the different parts of the left, from anarchists to the Labour Party.

We have had a real echo in our County.

During the day the only contentious debates  were attempts to introduce a US-style ‘Occupy’ ‘consensus’ model of how we work, and a SWP attack on my union UNITE.

The former was brushed aside: we do not need lessons from a marginal US movement for how we operate.

The second was, frankly, sat on.

The People’s Assembly is open to a whole range of movements, from the campaign  about climate change to (above)  campaigns against Workfare. The ideology is not hard to grasp: it is democratic socialism in all its varieties.

But one thing was very a marked throughout the day: we are a working class movement.

“We will today commit ourselves to fight back in unity and solidarity in the movement as a whole, with the organised working class in the trade unions at the heart and head of our movement and demanding the right of workers to organise freely in those unions, opposing all current and further attempts to undermine our right to resist.”


Written by Andrew Coates

March 17, 2014 at 10:57 am

4 Responses

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  1. […] his blog here, Comrade Coates informs us that in Suffolk they are based on the trade unions, and real co-operation […]

  2. I’m glad to see that some people are not buying into “consensus”. The popularity of this approach continues to mystify me.

    The Spanish Prisoner

    March 28, 2014 at 7:34 am

  3. The reasons for the supposed popularity of a “consensus” approach are surely fairly obvious?

    It means there are no clear ‘lines’, no clear ‘polices’, no ‘faction fights’ or open political disussions which lead to any actual decisions, it means controversial issues remain cloudy and no-one feels shut-out (while no-one is particuarly satisfied with the outcome either), it means leaderships can carry on doing what they like anyway as there is no agreed policy (not that that often makes such a difference). It is also so ‘nice’ and means people don’t get quite as angry and agressive to each other, meaning the human relationships in such a venture are altogether easier.

    But is this more appropriate for a political organisation as opposed to a ‘feel good discussion club’ ?


    March 28, 2014 at 10:30 am

  4. Our delegates from Suffolk are mostly trade union activists.

    The argument is: how can you run a strike by ‘consensus’?

    Andrew Coates

    March 28, 2014 at 11:31 am

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