Please find below the minutes of our February meeting. Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday 4 March at 7.30 p.m., at the CB2 Bistro, Norfolk Street, Cambridge CB1 2LD.
Cambridge People's Assembly, 5 February 2015
- Minutes and matters arising
- Secretary's report
- Treasurer's report
- Role of a chair
- Election of a chair
- Update on TTIP and reminder of leafleting, 7 February
- Meeting venue
- Event for Women's Day, 8 March
- Event on housing
- Event on economics
- Cambridge Amnesty election hustings
- Call for representative at the Manchester Assembly, 28 February
- Time to Act climate demonstration, 7 March
- Anti-austerity government in Greece
- Other business
- Next meeting
The venue was the CB2 Bistro basement, at 7.30 p.m. Present were Hilary (acting chair), Justin, Martin B., Martin O., Neil (minute taker), Olivier, and Simon. Names may have been changed.
The meeting accepted the draft agenda which had been circulated.
Apologies had been received from Andrea, James, Kamila, Maud, Paula, Steve, and Thomas.
3. Minutes and matters arising
The minutes were approved and there were no matters arising.
4. Secretary's report
Maud reported through Neil that the Cambridge People's Assembly (CPA) had 169 subscribers to its mailing list (last month 170). Two hundred and eighty-four Facebook members liked the CPA (last month 277), and 544 Twitter members followed it (last month 531). Having introduced formal membership at its last meeting, the CPA now had 13 members.
Olivier suggested that there should be a general invitation for subscribers to the mailing list to become members and Neil agreed to circulate such an invitation.
5. Treasurer's report
Neil reported a balance of £238.49. He asked the meeting to note
- a payment of £20.50 to the Cambridge World Development Movement, its share of the surplus collection from the joint event on 4 December,
- the receipt of membership fees of £26,
- a collection at the last monthly meeting on 7 January of £8.20.
6. Role of a chair
Olivier moved that the functions of the chair in meetings should be separated from the elected role and rotated. Five members of the six then present voted for the motion, with one abstaining, so that the motion was carried.
7. Election of a chair
The election of a chair was referred to the next meeting.
8. Update on TTIP and reminder of leafleting, 7 February
Olivier noted that the Labour Party's parliamentary candidate for Cambridge, Daniel Zeichner, had organized a meeting on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) for Friday 13 February. Mr Zeichner seemed to consider TTIP acceptable as long as the NHS could be protected. The meeting agreed that the CPA should continue to urge the total rejection of TTIP, and that it was important that members and supporters should attend on 14 February and argue this position. Neil would circulate a notice.
The last meeting had arranged to distribute a leaflet prepared by Maud, and gather signatures to its petition to the City Council (calling for the council to pass a motion against TTIP), in the street on Saturday 7 February. Olivier had in hand the printing of 300 colour leaflets and had circulated a press release. He and Neil volunteered to make placards for Saturday.
9. Meeting venue
It had been thought that the well-liked venue planned to introduce room hire fees at prices which would be hard for the CPA to afford, but Hilary explained that this was a misunderstanding. The fee was for the exclusive use of the library room, which the CPA did not usually require.
10. Event for Women's Day, 8 March
Neil advised the meeting that Paula was keen to help the CPA organize or jointly organize an event to mark International Women's Day, Sunday 8 March, as it had done in 2014. Paula had suggested equal pay as a theme. Martin O. offered to contact two good organizations he knew, the Cambridge Feminist Network and Cambridge Women's Aid, to coordinate local efforts.
11. Event on housing
Discussion of this event was referred to the next meeting.
12. Event on economics
Discussion of this event was referred to the next meeting.
13. Cambridge Amnesty election hustings
Neil advised the meeting that Andrea, a member of Cambridge Amnesty, had asked if the CPA would like to participate in a hustings to be held in April, where local organizations could question the candidates standing in the general election in May. The meeting agreed that the CPA should participate. Neil would communicate this to Andrea.
14. Call for representative at the Manchester Assembly, 28 February
There was no volunteer.
15. Time to Act climate demonstration, 7 March
Simon advised the meeting that the London demonstration would assemble at Lincoln's Inn Fields at midday. The meeting agreed that the CPA should support the demonstration by circulating an item on its mailing list.
16. Anti-austerity government in Greece
The meeting discussed the new situation in Greece after the formation of a government by the leftwing Syriza party, which had committed itself to fight austerity. Justin had misgivings: would the party go far enough? He believed it already to have reneged on promises, such as to withdraw from NATO and to pursue the separation of church and state, and he was concerned that it had chosen to form a coalition government with the hard right Independent Greeks. Martin O. remarked on the great difficulty of escaping austerity while staying within the European Union and the euro, as Syriza hoped to do. Simon welcomed Syriza's challenge to the EU. Hilary was excited by Syriza's victory but concerned about what would happen if the party failed.
It was noted that a meeting in Cambridge in solidarity with Greece was planned for Tuesday 10 February.
17. Other business
Under an earlier item Martin O. had reported on the Cambridge Union debate, This House Believes That Austerity Works, on 27 November 2014. The economist Tim Congdon and the students Michael Dunn Gockjian and Thomas Simpson spoke for the motion (the journalist Louise Mensch having withdrawn). Martin, the economics journalist Chris Dillow, and the People's Assembly officer Clare Solomon spoke against it and won the day: the motion fell. The house did not believe that austerity worked!
Simon told the meeting that the final proposals for the A14 improvement scheme had been published. He believed the main grounds for objection relevant to the CPA were that the scheme would take money away from projects it would prefer were supported, and that it would do considerable harm to the environment. He urged everyone to register as an objector, which had to be done by Thursday 12 March (see the address below).
Martin B. noted that the Unite Against Fascism national conference would be held on Saturday 21 February at TUC Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS, and that a Stand Up to UKIP demonstration would be held in Margate on Saturday 28 February. Transport from Cambridge to both events would be available, leaving from the college backs on Queens' Road. Anyone interested in going to either or both should please contact Martin B. or Paul.
Neil read a message from James that there would be a rally at 1 p.m. on Friday 6 February outside the Department for Work and Pensions (Jobcentre) building on Chesterton Road, in support of Tommi, who suffered recurring cancer but had been refused Disability Living Allowance.
Neil read a message from Steve that the People's Assembly would again hold a national demonstration in London in early summer, so the CPA should think about publicizing it and organizing transport; that the People's Convention for the NHS would be held on Saturday 11 April, supported by many campaigns including the People's Assembly and Keep Our NHS Public; and that a demonstration about Hinchingbrooke Hospital would be held in Huntingdon on Saturday 28 March. The meeting expressed its support for both the latter events.
18. Next meeting
It was agreed that the next meeting would be held at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday 4 March. Hilary had already booked the basement room.