Please find below the minutes of a special meeting we held in August. Our next monthly meeting will be held on Wednesday 2 September at 7.30 p.m., at the CB2 Bistro, Norfolk Street, Cambridge CB1 2LD.
Cambridge People's Assembly, 19 August 2015 (special meeting): minutes
- How to work with other campaign groups?
- Current or forthcoming campaigns
- TTIP meeting
- Manchester demo
- Next meeting
The venue was the 82 Akeman Street Community Room, at 7.30 p.m. Present were Hilary, Kamila, Lesley, Martin B., Maud (minute taker), Neil, Richard M., Steve, and Vern. Names may have been changed here and below.
Apologies were received from Dan, Olivier, and Paul.
As Maud initiated this meeting, she explained why she thought we needed it.
There are a lot of things going on throughout the year and we often struggle to find the time to discuss our broad goals and activities. She thought that having this kind of meeting at the beginning of the year might help us agree on the year's priorities.
Maud summarized her understanding of the objectives of the Cambridge People's Assembly (CPA) as follows:
- promoting national demos at the local level, and organising transport to support a broad mobilization
- acting as an umbrella for other anti-austerity groups
On these two points, Maud's opinion was that we were doing quite well at supporting national demos and funding transportation, but that it was difficult to become an anti-austerity umbrella for other local groups. Although we work jointly with other groups (Keep Our NHS Public, Global Justice Now, the Central Library Campaign, Cambridge Commons, etc.), we need to do more. It would be great if other groups could also take ownership of the name 'People's Assembly' as the Cambridgeshire NUT recently had; as we are a small group it is difficult for us to get involved directly in every anti-austerity campaign.
Maud suggested organizing a meeting with other campaign groups to discuss it with them. The meeting agreed and we moved on to discussing how to make this happen.
List of organizations
Kamila suggested that we should build a list of all other local groups that were campaigning against austerity. We agreed that Kamila would create a file that would be available online. Each of us could add any organization s/he thinks of as well as a contact within this group. (Action: Kamila.)
Once completed, this list would be used to contact all of these groups and invite them to a meeting. When one of us is a member of the organization we want to contact, s/he will do it (and put her/his name against the organization in the file); otherwise Neil will do it as our secretary. (Action: everybody.)
When could the meeting happen? We already have several events in October: TTIP meeting, TTIP demo, Manchester transport and demo. We agreed that mid-November could be the right time.
Manchester as an example
Maud mentioned that the Manchester People's Assembly was actually acting as a proper umbrella and that discussing with them could help us. Maud will contact them, maybe they could send us some advice or we could have a Skype meeting. (Action: Maud.)
Steve will send us a draft motion we could send to the different groups for them to support the PA and raise money for the Manchester bus. (Action: Steve.)
We discussed the different campaigns of the year:
- Kill the (Trade Union) Bill: lobby of parliament on 2/11. This campaign will certainly last several months and will be coordinated by the TUC. We could lobby Daniel Zeichner.
- NHS: out-of-hours 111 services. We will soon know who the bidders are. The contract should be awarded during winter 2015.
- Zero-hour contracts
There are a lot of campaigns going on and it is impossible for us to be active on each campaign. Steve suggested having a big anti-austerity meeting with workshops about the different topics. Everybody agreed.
We decided that we will integrate that into our work with the other campaign groups: during the November meeting, we will share the idea of a big anti-austerity meeting which will be a platform for local anti-austerity groups. This public meeting could happen in May, before the June national demo.
Steve suggested that we could have a newsletter. As we had already received a review of the year that everybody approved, we agreed that it could be circulated to our mailing list and put on the website.
John Hilary confirmed he would come to talk in Cambridge on 7 October. The event will be an apportunity to promote the 10 October international day of action against TTIP.
Maud suggested and the meeting agreed to invite other speakers:
- Richard Howitt (MEP for the East of England, Steve will contact him)
- Eva Nanopoulos (lecturer in European law, Maud will contact her)
We are now one of four co-organizers of the event and the demo: CPA, Cambridge Keep Our NHS Public, Global Justice Cambridge and UNISON Cambridge City. The four groups will share the costs.
UNISON Cambridge City had booked ten seats via Facebook.
We need to raise money by submitting motions to local union branches.
This meeting was at the Akeman Community Centre. It was selected on the basis that it is cheap and accessible to disabled people. However, Hilary pointed out that it was badly served by public transport meaning that access remained difficult.
We agreed that we would try another one for our October meeting, either the Ross Street Community Centre or the Riverside Centre.
As previously agreed, the next meeting would be held on Wednesday 2 September at 7.30 p.m. at the CB2 Bistro.