Minutes of the November CPA meeting

Please find below the minutes of our November meeting. Everyone's welcome at our next meeting, which is on Wednesday 3 December at 7.30 p.m., CB2 Bistro, Norfolk Street, Cambridge CB1 2LD.

Cambridge People's Assembly, 6 November 2014

The venue was the CB2 Bistro library, at 7.30 p.m. Present were Dan, Hilary (acting chair), Kamila, Neil (acting secretary), Olivier, Paul, Simon, and Thomas. Names may have been changed.

1. Apologies

Martin O., Maud, and Richard sent their apologies. Remembering that Maud was no longer available on Thursday evenings, the meeting agreed that future meetings should be held on the first Wednesday of the month.

2. Minutes of the last meeting, 2 October, and matters arising

The minutes were approved. Neil had sent a report on the CPA's first year of activity to the Cambridge and District Trades Union Council (TUC), and would shortly send reports to two more major supporters: the Cambridgeshire National Union of Teachers branch, and the Unite the Union branch at the Cambridge University Press. All other matters arising from the minutes were on the agenda for the present meeting.

3. Treasurer's report

Neil reported a balance of £187.60. He asked the meeting to note a collection of £11 at the October meeting, a collection of £30.50 at the CPA event on NHS privatization on 4 October, and a payment of £52.80 to member Martin O. in reimbursement of the fee he paid for the hire of the room at the Friends' Meeting House.

4. New constitution, page three

Paul reviewed the progress towards a new constitution, which the July meeting of the CPA had asked him to prepare. He had put successive pages from his draft constitution (based on that of the South Yorkshire People's Assembly) before the September and October meetings. The September meeting had agreed the introduction of a membership fee and a voting restriction in public meetings to paid-up members, on top of a more traditional organizational calendar with an annual general meeting (AGM). As to what the October meeting had agreed, he was confused: it had accepted his recommendation for an organizing committee elected from the members, but rather than giving them sole voting rights in organizing meetings (which were to be separate from public meetings) had extended such rights to all members. Paul now suggested on reflection that the CPA was too small an organization for a separate organizing committee to be necessary, which the meeting accepted.

Paul suggested that a chair, a secretary, and a treasurer should be elected at the AGM. Olivier suggested that it should be possible to recall the officers. The meeting agreed that if an officer does not attend a meeting for three months, he or she would normally be recalled.

The meeting agreed that the AGM would be held in January, and reaffirmed that only paid-up members should be able to vote. Paul suggested that the group should aim to hold a public meeting once a quarter. (There was a brief discussion of terminology – organizing meetings and public meetings, against meetings and events – but it was agreed that it was unnecessary to decide the question now.)

Paul suggested a review of the new constitution after six months, and the meeting agreed. Thomas queried what majority would be needed to pass changes, and the meeting agreed on a simple majority.

5. CPA event with Ken Montague, 'One Million Climate Jobs Now': 22 November

This event, with Ken Montague from the Campaign Against Climate Change, would be held at 3 p.m. at the Castle Street Methodist Church hall. (Secretary's note: Maud would bring tea and coffee. The venue has a kitchen with crockery.) The CPA had promised to cover Ken Montague's travel expenses; Simon, who had initiated the event, now volunteered to make an equal contribution to CPA funds.

Thomas volunteered to drive Ken Montague from the railway station. Dan offered the use of a parking space near Midsummer Common if needed.

The meeting agreed not to promote this event by distributing flyers in the street, on which technique it had found there was a bad return. (However it agreed with the suggestion of Olivier's that a small run of flyers could be prepared for display in the shop Books for Amnesty on Mill Road.) Instead it would put up posters. Dan volunteered to design a poster (which could be reproduced at a smaller size to make a flyer for Amnesty).

Olivier volunteered to be the press contact in case the absent Maud, who had taken over the CPA's correspondence with Ken Montague and organized the venue, did not wish to be.

Simon reminded the meeting that the event should be announced on the CPA blog. He also suggested that an item could be placed in the Transition Cambridge e-mail newsletter (this would require a web link to the blog post).

6. CPA event with John Hilary, 'No TTIP': 4 December

It had been agreed with the Cambridge World Development Movement (WDM) branch at the last No TTIP event on the 11 October that this event on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, with John Hilary from War on Want, would be held jointly with that group.

The time was arranged for 7 p.m. but a venue had not yet been arranged. Paul suggested that what was important was that twenty or thirty people should learn about TTIP and tell others, and therefore that the free CB2 Bistro library would be an adequate venue. Olivier disagreed: interest in TTIP was growing. Cambridge WDM could perhaps help with the cost of venue hire, so why not try to make it a big event?

Neil volunteered to contact Aidan Baker from Cambridge WDM to confirm that the group would contribute, and then the intended venue, which the meeting agreed should again be the Castle Street Methodist Church hall.

Paul volunteered to contact Tom Woodcock to seek the help of the Cambridge and District TUC in promoting the event.

As for print promotion, all the arguments above, in respect of the event with Ken Montague, applied here too. Dan was happy to design another poster. It was agreed that although a poster designer should be given a free hand, there should be a power of veto on any particular design. In this case, Dan would send his design to Paul for approval.

7. Trades Union Congress/Keep Our NHS Public leafleting: 15 November

It was agreed that the CPA should support this action by having members help distribute leaflets on the 15 November.

8. Cambridge Keep Our NHS Public video screening: 28 November

It was agreed that the CPA should help promote this event using its web communications.

9. Web communications

The CPA had lost contact with the member who created its blog, and its address (domain name) had now expired. Neil had been asked to look into the possibility of resuming a CPA blog on the page freely offered by the central People's Assembly (PA) on its website (www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/). Neil reported that the page was updated using the popular Nation Builder platform, which it seemed as if one could fairly easily learn to use. There would be no problem in posting any of the kind of materials we had done on the original blog; however he was not sure it would be possible to organize posts under the standing categories ('Future events', 'Past events', 'Book reviews' and so on) previously in use. On the whole, he recommended resuming a CPA blog on the PA website, and the meeting accepted this. Neil volunteered to learn to use Nation Builder and to update the blog.

Under an earlier item Thomas had suggested the establishment of a CPA e-mail discussion list. A number of members were familiar with discussion lists and the meeting welcomed the idea.

10. Other business

Paul brought it to the attention of the meeting that Unite Against Fascism (UAF) would be demonstrating in Luton on 22 November against a demonstration there by the far-right English Defence League. It was unfortunate that this coincided with a CPA event, but Paul urged CPA members to get involved with UAF.

Hilary brought it to the attention of the meeting that the Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) activist Martin Booth would be leaving Cambridge at the end of the year, which the meeting agreed would be an enormous loss. The KONP event on 28 November would be a chance to say goodbye.

11. Next meeting

It was agreed that the next meeting should be held at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday 3 December in the same venue. Hilary would book the room.

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