On the weekend of 24-25 June, rs21 held our All Member Assembly (AMA) in central London. The first day was our usual AMA, the sovereign decision-making body of the organisation. This was followed by a day open to non-members, entitled A World to Win. The weekend saw members and non-members meet to discuss current events and political strategy, with many meetings including breakout sessions that allowed attendees to discuss in smaller groups. rs21 members report on the weekend.
A World to Win
In the first session of the public event on Sunday, we discussed the growth of the right internationally and in Britain. The first speaker outlined the development of far-right government forces around the world, and the convergences between mainstream political parties like the Tories and far right groups. A second talk outlined the strategic situation for antifascism in Britain today.
In the second session on the strike wave and the potential for rank and file organisation, we heard from a striking teacher and a nurse about their disputes. The teacher discussed the NEU’s strategy and the need for the union to use the strike days on 5 and 7 July as a launchpad for further, hard-hitting escalation of the dispute in the autumn term. The nurse talked about how the dispute had given her the space to articulate militant tactics in a way she hadn’t been able to do for some time and that, while it was likely that the reballot would fail to hit the threshold (which was unfortunately proved true just days later) that the dispute had transformed nurses’ attitudes towards industrial action and convinced many of the need for coordinated action between unions. A third talk outlined the prospects for rank-and-file organisation today.
The final session on the climate movement began with a presentation focusing on the various groups that have emerged in Britain and Western Europe over the last five years. It was argued that ecocidal capitalist industries were doubling down on their commitment to ecological breakdown and the extraction of further fossil fuels. At the same time, movements are uncertain of where to go, experimenting with various tactics and facing escalated repression.
A range of breakout groups then discussed different questions facing the climate movement. One looked at the various ways in which the workers’ movement and climate movement can act together in a more coordinated manner. A second asked how the climate movement can confront state repression. A third group recognised the need to ensure the environmental movement in Britain is internationalist. Whether in solidarity with protest movements, learning from comrades in the places most affected by climate breakdown, and acting when large disasters occur, socialist internationalism has a role to play at this moment. Finally, there was a discussion of visions of the future, which included discussions of degrowth, the scale of the disasters occurring globally, and the necessity of socialist planning.
All Member Assembly
The day before, the first session of the AMA focused on the importance of rs21 analysing the current conjuncture, with a presentation highlighting many of the contradictions present in British and world politics in the years following the pandemic. Groups then discussed how interventions from socialists could contribute to escalating and uniting struggles, and improving the terrain we organise upon. In the second session we heard reports from our organisers, website editor, and treasurer. The Steering Group presented a plan for the year for open discussion and questions from members.
In the third session, we discussed organising as revolutionaries in coalitions. This was a wide-ranging discussion aiming to identify some of the key pitfalls and opportunities of doing coalition work. The session was introduced by members reflecting on experiences of rs21’s involvement in coalition-building around the NHS, the cost of living crisis, when we helped initiate the first round of national protests at the beginning of 2022, and rs21’s current involvement in campaigning for trans liberation in London and Edinburgh. We agreed that it’s important to analyse specific examples and learn from them, but that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for revolutionary work in coalitions. Rather, what we need is a set of principles to apply in making decisions about how we do this. Two principles that were heavily emphasised were honesty and democracy.
After the sessions, we held a social through the evening. The recently-formed Pan African Workers’ Association were meeting in the same venue, and we want to thank them for sharing leftover Zimbabwean food with our members late on Saturday night! Follow them on social media to find out more about the project.