Monday, November 29, 2010

Guest Post: Coaltion of Resistance thoughts

I wasn't able to make the Coalition of Resistance conference on Saturday as I was in a meeting across London discussing a very different deficit. However, Natalie Bennett has kindly written up her experiences of the day for me. By the nature of these things her impressions are very much shaped by the sessions she attended;

The Coalition of Resistance national organising meeting on Saturday saw a packed Camden Centre with 1,300 registrants spilling from the main hall, a strong and determined mood, and lots of solid work in the breakout sessions...

I've written elsewhere about the Women Against the Cuts session, and I unfortunately couldn't make the morning session, when Jean Lambert reportedly gave a storming speech, but I was impressed in the afternoon plenary by the argument of Dot Gibson from the National Pensioners' Convention, who said that her generation had a responsibility to account to the youth of today - to account from "where we came in and where we got to".

In 1945, she said, there was a general determination in society not to return to the pre-war situation where everyone had to pay for education, pay for medical services, and there was widespread unemployment. Universal provision was meant to prevent poverty. "But now my grandchildren don't know if they can get a job or can get somewhere to live."

She said: "A compromise was made after the war. That compromise was the mixed economy. The private sector - the pharmaceutical industry, the rail stock manufacturers - could use the public sector for profit. That laid the foundations for what Thatcher, Major, Blair and Brown have done since."

Rapper Lo Key had an interesting suggestion: MPs supporting the rise in tuition fees should retrospectively pay £9K a year for the free university education they had enjoyed.

Kate Hudson from CND put it plainly: "The redistributive state has been the liberator for millions of people."

She dismissed the argument that Britain's nuclear weapons could in any way be defended as job generators - "There are a maximum of 7,000 jobs in our nuclear weapons systems, which means it costs millions of pounds per year per job. If you invested the same money in sustainable industry you would create many thousands of jobs. Nuclear is a dead end in every respect."

For other reports on the Coalition of Resistance see: Natalie on women against the cuts, Liam's uncharacteristically positive thoughts, Derek's thoughts, Permanent Revolution, Luna17, lots of images and videos and things on the CoR site.


King Clumsy said...

Thanks :)

As much as I would've liked to go. My mothers birthday was more important.

Clear and inspiring stuff though.

Jim Jepps said...

Like you I wasn't able to be there - but it does sound excellent. Hope your Mum had a nice birthday :)

Anonymous said...

Awesome post. Really enjoyed reading your blog posts.