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was it a dream

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The Porkadian
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Joined: 27-07-05
Feb 24 2006 01:18
was it a dream

I went to my first ssp branch meeting in Inverness tonight, let me describe it to you

12 people in all , minutes from last meeting gone through, co chair reads out some warblings he wrote on saturday night after a few beers , a little ditty on capitalism and how its destroying the country, he finishes reading and says "discuss" so members start to pontificate about dead russians who have been rotting in their graves for many years and their union memories eventually one person says " what are we discussing this for this is all the past what the hell are we going to do now " co chair gets huffy. then reads back a synopsis once again mentioning dead russians and quoting marx. next on agenda discuss privatisation of 7 care homes in local area, basically patting themselves on back for turning up nat a demo arranged by other people, onto branch business, discussing having a stall on high street on sat morning, cant decide what to do, 3 people volunteer to turn up but if nothing has been decided by sat morning decide to go for a coffee, asks for money to pay for room in community centre, ask for money for party newspaper no other business, next meeting in 2 weeks, guy who said discussion was shite says to 3 new members please please come back, they havent got a clue, no local issues discussed apart from care homes, no agenda proposed , nothing said about being pro active..... they really need to re-think their policy and what they are goin g to do as a local party, apathy seems to reign............cant go to meeting in 2 weeks time so going to next meeting in a monthjs time, i went there to observe and see what they actually did, very little seems to be the answer........... fucking big sigh.

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ginger
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Joined: 19-07-04
Feb 24 2006 23:36

That sounds painful. sad As if we can afford to be apathetic. And reading out bad poetry - that really is first against the wall behaviour.

Anything you do will look inspired and dynamic to the members used to that.

Maybe decide on a campaign or local issue you think is tactically best? To me, any campaign I get involved in has to be about improving people's lives now, liable to not just be me and my anarchist / dissident lefty mates in yet another meeting, and be likely to raise the consciousness of all involved. Then decide on a venue for a meeting, and all very non confrontationally, raising it through the chair, announce it, allowing your enthusiasm and imagination to show through?

Or maybe it genuinely was a out the ordinary dull meeting, and if you go back you'll find that they actually do do stuff? It is February after all.

The Porkadian
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Feb 25 2006 14:49

well I did email my concerns to the branch organiser for the highland and his reply basically said it was part of party policy to discuss marxist theory and dead russians, he said that the party did deal with local issues but neiver more than 2 at a time as it would stretch them too much, the biggest impression i got was a lot of self back patting over things they have participated in previously but it seems to be that they piggy back a lot of issues started by other groups, the branch co-ordinator when i first met him tried to impress me with branch membership numbers but told me never more than 14 attend branch meetings, ive lived in inverness for 3 years and the ssp profilee is virtually non existent, volin said that i would find the meetings wishy washy, and the meeting I attended certainly was, and it also included quite a bit of huffiness, they have no direction and imho they are just playing at being a party and not much more else, it may be different in other parts of the country, what summed it up for me was the one member saying that wasnt it about time they discussed what they were going to do now rather than discuss what old communists or socialists had done in the past and the reply he got was dont worry the revolution starts at closing time and then at the end of the meeting he basically pleaded for people to come back, it stank of desperation.

Oh yeah and i submitted an idea to the branch organiser, Inverness is looking at the same situation a lot of scotland has seen, where the local council has been planning to see how residents feel about transfering the housing stock to private housing associations, I made a suggestion about how it would maybe be beneficial for the ssp to talk to tenants associations about forming housing co-operatives, educating tenants about how they work and guaging how tenants would feel about it ergo giving them a chance to take responsibility for the areas they lived in................ it was totally ignored, kinda sums up the ssp in Inverness. no doubt in time my

Nick Durie
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Joined: 12-09-04
Feb 25 2006 19:29

Comrade! Don't be down about this! It sounds to me like you now have a core group!

Think about it, it totally plays into your hands if the SSP is shite, and there are lots of members, that you have now met, who want to pursue local issues and the party's refusing to push it forward.

Did you get the disaffecteds' contact details? Ask them if they'd like to get involved wi a wee group you were thinking of starting up to pursue the housing thing - pitch it right. It sounds like you'll have at least two or three other revolutionary socialists itching to get involved in local politics to help local people out with their problems and to defend council housing. With a bit of careful guidance you can forge links with tenants groups and start to organise in communities, which will allow for campaigns against the closure of public services like hospitals to become full-blown community campaigns.

You should also be aware that if just one tenant contacts the STO (scottish tenants organisation - PM me and I'll give you the vice-chair's email, he's a good guy) and asks for help to campaign against stock transfer then they will get right in there and help you out.

Some comrades from Glasgow can also definitely come up and give you help leafletting in the initial stages. After that you will have made contact with a lot more locals and you can start to take the fight to the enemy.

The Porkadian
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Feb 26 2006 21:58

I spose I have too much of a negative side where I cant see the complete picture, what you said there certainly is a reason to go back to the next meeting, I will have to go and do some networking , get me a few details of who people are and what interests them.when I receive an email from the ssp organiser it lists all the other members email addresses, would it be totaly wrong of me to email all these adresses and ask if anyone is disgruntled about what the ssp does and would be interested in doing more, if i did this i basically dont think I would be welcome at another ssp meeting, so is it worth doing.

answers on a postcard please.

afraser
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Feb 26 2006 22:27
Quote:
would it be totally wrong of me to email all these adresses and ask if anyone is disgruntled about what the ssp does

That will seriously irritate some of them, especially the party hack types like presumably the co-chair and the regional organiser. And there's no point or need to do that, because you can just be a little more diplomatic with:

Quote:
would it be totally wrong of me to email all these adresses and ask if anyone ... would be interested in doing more

Nothing wrong with that. You can say "I'm about to go off and do 'X' and 'Y', does anyone want to help out?" The party hacks will actually love you for doing that because it will give them an opportunity to piggy back onto your campaigns right at the end to pick up the glory, without having to do any of the legwork themselves. So they will let you publicise your activities to their members and meetings forever.

As an aside, there have been no shortage of anarchist meetings every bit as dreadful in their own way as your SSP one. But it worries me how people can keep backing Marx and Lenin for all the world as if the USSR had never failed.

IanB
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Joined: 17-02-06
Feb 26 2006 23:37

I have been to SSP meetings like that in Livingston, really disheartening. At the most recent there were about half a dozen people there including myself, one of which was the local SSP candidate while the others didn't seem at all bothered that the meeting was terrible. The discussion consisted of going through previous meetings minutes, going over, in painful detail, a motion and it ammendments for the SSP conference, someone spoke about mutinies in history and opened it to discussion. It wouldn't be as bad if there had been others there that were un-happy with this type of meeting but they seemed to be think it was fine.

sad

The Porkadian
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Feb 27 2006 14:20

seems to be that this is what ssp meetings are all about then, makes me wonder how they plan to put their message across and get the votes they seem to be desperate to get, even their newspaper e socialist voice doesnt really seem to be a center of ssp activity considering 70 per cent of the paper is dedicated to world socialist issues.

definately will be collating e mail addys and sending out ideas and seeing what the reaction will be, even if i get told to fuck off at least I will feel I have attempted to do something, and as said above it does seem the ssp enjoy piggy backing others campaigns for the publicity they can get and im quite happy for them to do that, publicity means nothing at the end of the day, what matters is getting things done.

The Porkadian
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Joined: 27-07-05
Mar 3 2006 16:39

well thats a whole pile of ssp members e mailed just waiting to see what response I get.

The Porkadian
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Mar 28 2006 18:13

heres an update on what the ssp are doing to fuck me about.

Housing stock transfer is on the agenda in October here in the loverly highlands of scotland and I noticed there was no organisations standing up against it, so just after I joined the ssp i pointed out nothing was being done and got a rather apathetic response, but now that they have realised they can get publicity out of it they seem to be all gung ho for battling it.... but this is after I supplied them with contacts , did leafleting for them , tried to find disgruntled tenants for them, and what thanks did I get .... they have railroaded it for their own publicity purposes , they had a regional conference where they appointed a 67 year old ex trade unionist to handle all things to do with the housing transfer, this is the same guy who at the leafleting last saturday did fuck all but shelter from the rain cos he didnt want to catch a cold, they are fuckwits who have no fresh ideas and jump on the bandwagon of campaigns others have started and then stand back and pat themselves on the back for a job well done when in reality others do the work while they take the credit.

I was willing to undertake all the work involved in this campaign and quite happy for them to take any credit if all succedded, all I wanted was help with resources for leaflets etc, but now they have shafted me big style, ok I could set up my own group, but im on the dole , no resources etc, I was invited to go to a tenants and homeowners networking conference in Glasgow and the ssp had said they would pay travel costs if I went as their representative, well nothing has been mentioned of that for a week, ever get the feeling youve been cheated.

to say im a bit disgruntled is a slightly understating the fact.

afraser
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Mar 28 2006 22:13
The Porkadian wrote:
I could set up my own group, but im on the dole , no resources etc, I was invited to go to a tenants and homeowners networking conference in Glasgow and the ssp had said they would pay travel costs if I went as their representative, well nothing has been mentioned of that for a week, ever get the feeling youve been cheated.

Did you go? Or is it that conference that's just about to happen. eek . I hate to say it, but in that case the Inverness SSP could be right. You would end up thinking the ICC are sane if you went and listened to some (one) of the speakers there. In fairness, there's substantial anarchist involvement too.

Quote:
to say im a bit disgruntled is a slightly understating the fact.

The Leninist timeline is:

1921 - shoot anarchists, dump corpses in mass graves.

2006 - manage to fail to pay anarchists Inverness-Glasgow train fare to attend Sean Show?

At least it's progress.

Why not set up your own group, use/steal their (SSP) contact list, people here in libcom I think could help get leaflets printed.

Nick Durie
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Joined: 12-09-04
Mar 29 2006 01:26

Andrew is spot on here. You've done some amazing things. You need to stop, take a step back, and realise now that the problems you have are problems of success (I'm sure you're aware of this).

In September last year you summed up your frsutration at the total lack of any leftwing political activity in your area by starting a thread saying the following:-

Quote:
or do i mean ostrasiced( however you fucking spell it ) , living here so far up north sooooooooooooo far away from so called civilisation, what am i going on about , ok then heres my point, I wanted to become a member of an anarchist federation, looked at AF looked at CW for a start i was told by CW i had to go through 3 months vetting process and because i lived so far north I had to meet up with someone, AF also would like me to meet other members, point one, there seems to be no other members of either in this area, point two im skint cant go anywhere to meet other people, point 3 stick your fucking vetting process up your arse, I dont care who the fuck you are or what you represent no cunt is going to vet me , you may notice I feel slightly insulted and maybe a tad bitter on these points. start my own federation up here and we are all gonna wear kilts paint our faces blue and run around screaming freeeeeeeeeeeeeeddddddddddddoooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmm Black Bloc

You went on to state that nobody was doing anything about one of the major issues that was about to fuck the working class in your area. You said the SSP - the only major leftwing political faction in your area - were useless and were more concerned about talking about Lenin and having marches against the Iraq war where only 30 people came. So you joined them because you wanted to influence their policies on this looming issue, and you discovered that there were quite a feew disgruntled members.

You then dug up some contacts, you leafletted, you find angry tenants, you contacted the vice chair of the STO and you got SSP party policy to swing full cricle and now they're gunning to oppose the stock transfer. The fact that they've shafted you is a mark of your success - they're taking the issue seriously now (as a result of your activities), and to them that means shafting randomers, who they don't control, such as yourself, and appointing some 'trusted trade unionist and longstanding campaigner from the best traditions of solidarity' to run the campaign - ie some random Leninist who's far ben wi the ISM.

That's all good. Job done. You've achieved it in quite literally a matter of weeks. Stay in with them as long as it takes to make sure they do what they say they're going to do, but it's also now time to jump ship and form a group. Launch it big style, but don't tell them all to go to Hell just yet as you'll want to keep in with them for a while longer.

Quote:
im on the dole , no resources etc

You have internet access. You could tap funds from the STO - we could look into getting you a grant sorted for some random liberal shite (there is still time for this, just, in time for the October ballot).

You're obviously competant and have some people skills (given the stuff you've achieved within the SSP that much is obvious). You know how to do intenet stuff and can make a website. You have the on the ground know-how about the tenants. You've worked in the CAB and know the score with all sorts of things that frankly could make you a popular man if your group were to do surgery sessions (again a possible source of funding BTW). There may also be ways of getting stuff printed too for no, or for little money. There is always the SSP office to get stuff printed at cost, for members initiatives and so on. You can hold a well publicised event to really launch the campaign - basically a rally of the faithful (and as such would require only a few hundred fliers - where you ask people to 'contribute to the fighting fund'. Is money really a problem with so many wealthy, or politically motivated donors? The dole thing is an opportunity coz you'll have lots of spare time, comparitively.

Don't do yourself down man.

Compare the situation to that post just six months ago. Instead of worrying about which tiny federation to join, none of which have any presence outside the central belt, just to keep your end in the movement, in a sense, you are now worrying about setting up a group to spearhead the campaign on the possibly biggest single class issue in your area, having managed first to completely change SSP policy.

The Porkadian
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Mar 29 2006 12:36
afraser wrote:

Did you go? Or is it that conference that's just about to happen. eek . I hate to say it, but in that case the Inverness SSP could be right. You would end up thinking the ICC are sane if you went and listened to some (one) of the speakers there. In fairness, there's substantial anarchist involvement too.

.

Its the conference on 8th April at caledonian Uni.

Hi nick some fairly valid points, I suppose my major problem is that I tend to look too much at negative points rather than positive points but it has certainly been made clear to me by the ssp , that they consider me a novice and not one of their main players.

Will stay with them for now, but eventually I am going to consider writing an article on my experiences within the ssp and send it to all the local papers.

As to starting my own group, iain at the sto did mention there had been someone else from inverness he met that wanted to start a group, so im hoping to get this persons details from him, also going to search the net for any forum boards relating to inverness and leave messages about starting a group and try and get some interest, and will be attending next residents meeting ( if i can find out when it is ) in this area to see whats being said .

But thanks for the encouragment ( both of you ) wink

Nick Durie
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Mar 29 2006 13:15

I'm not as negative about the 8th of April conference as Andrew - indeed I'm inolved in organising it, along with some other chalkboard people - but what he says about that guy is true.

I would also say it's more a kind of Glasgow thing. Sure jump down if you feel you want to take part but it'd be perhaps less relevant to you than the STO AGM the following weekend where the steering group that have kept the STO ticking over for the past year or so hope to thoroughly relaunch it. As this is a national event and people will expect to talk about issues nationally and you're going to be spending your last bawbees you might be better apprised to hain them in tae the 15th. I think it's to take place in Stirling so it might be slightly easier for you an aw.

The Porkadian
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Mar 29 2006 14:11

probably wont make STO agm either as the bawbees are few and far between, but always nice to be invited to go along, will keep all and sundry updated with whats happening in the cold windy north.... bloody freezing up here today. cry

The Porkadian
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Mar 31 2006 13:50

Been thinking about what my next step should be in starting a group, did a search for forum boards for my area and could only find one and it was for teenagers looking for a shag, tried to find out if there were any papers in the area that did free ads, came up blank there, so apart from sticking an ad up on tescos and morrisons boards im at a loss as to my next step, and with people in the highlands being a bit dour and very backward at coming forward I dont think I would get much response, Ok im being negative again, but its what im best at lol tongue