Report of 2nd Liberty & Solidarity National Conference
Building a society based on freedom, democracy and cooperation
Liberty & Solidarity
Liberty & Solidarity is a political organisation aiming to build workplace and community democracy through direct action and struggling with all those fighting for change. We stand for the power of workers and local people against the bosses and politicians in order to bring about radical social change, to build a society based on freedom, democracy, cooperation.
Only six months ago, L&S was officially founded in the historic Freedom Bookshop in East London. Even at that early stage, we had brought together several of the UK’s most serious class struggle activists involved in various workplace and community. Since then we’ve helped reform the IWW and seen successes through LCAP, community gardens in Reading and local newssheets in Glasgow. However, if the tone was set at the first conference, the volume was most definitely turned up at the second.
Report of 2nd Liberty & Solidarity National Conference
Ambition and maturity, this was the tone of the 2nd L&S National Conference, held last weekend in Reading.
Only six months ago, L&S was officially founded in the historic Freedom Bookshop in East London. Even at that early stage, we had brought together several of the UK’s most serious class struggle activists involved in various workplace and community. Since then we’ve helped reform the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) and seen successes through LCAP (London Coalition Against Poverty), community gardens in Reading and local newssheets in Glasgow. However, if the tone was set at the first conference, the volume was most definitely turned up at the second.
Unity is strength.
The conference was marked by an easy understanding and unity between members on the situation facing us and the necessary tasks ahead of us. Early discussions on the economic crisis passed easily, with everyone on the same page. This continued as motions were passed effortlessly, starting with the practicality of agreeing that our priority is industrial and community organising, with recruitment and propaganda supporting this. Most notable though was the maturity shown as the odd disagreement was heard calmly and all members committed 100% to carrying out the decision of the majority.
Amendments to our community strategy were passed without fuss. Our position paper [see link below] was updated to reflect the impact of the economic crisis, this being backed up by the changing situation around us. From this, the organisation agreed to a strategy prioritising the building of permanent organisations in the community, imbued with values of independence and democracy and capable of weathering coming austerity measures and repression. To this end, detailed steps were agreed to link together our work in residents and tenants associations with our work in campaigns like LCAP while ‘building on victories’ was seen as a key element. Therefore, all members committed first and foremost to doing everything we can to help ensure the success of the campaigns and organisations we are involved in.
Labour is entitled to all it creates.
Of equal importance to community organising, is the reorganisation of the labour movements. This conference restated our commitment to building the strength of organised labour by acting in both our own trade unions and the radical industrial union, the IWW. Beyond that, as with ‘community’, we elaborated on our strategy in ‘industry‘ [see link below], considering areas of strategic importance as well as potential allies. This L&S meeting came fresh after the March IWW conference the day before, where IWW delegates (amongst them several L&S members) agreed to push forwards with the formation of an organising department, the possible formation of a fundraising department, national training programs, the potential modernisation of the unions procedures and most notably the application for the ‘certificate of independence’ which will enable us to fight on the same level as any other UK union - in reality meaning we will punch well above our weight.
Our resistance is as global as capital.
Despite what seems like a prioritising of local organising, L&S is more than aware that if we are to stand any chance of being able to challenge the power of the bosses, we must unite across borders. To this end, the conference passed three motions dealing with ‘internationalism’ [see link below]. The first two of these set out clear reasons for and steps towards the creation of two international confederations. Firstly, we agreed on the need for an organisationally disciplined, united and pragmatic anarchist international and we agreed to take moves to this end. Secondly, we agreed on the need for a reorganising of the international labour movement and the need to take steps to unite various syndicalist and ‘red’ unions towards this end. Meanwhile, the third motion passed on this topic, set out a framework for solidarity action, both domestic and global. Ever pragmatic, the organisation recognised that whilst solidarity is strength and therefore vital, ineffective action on behalf of others can simply divert attention from organisational priorities. We therefore agreed a framework, which should see the organisation take genuinely effective solidarity action whilst not taking our eye off the ball.
Getting our house in order.
Of course, to achieve all this, we know we need to be a serious, disciplined and united organisation. For this reason, there were several steps taken to improve our organisational procedures. The organisation has recently grown, receiving membership applications from around the country. Most notably, Reading anti-capitalists RGA (Reading Grassroots Action) recently voted to join L&S and were officially welcomed into the fold at the conference. However, it is imperative that this growth aids the organisation and does not risk our unity and discipline. For this reason, conference passed motions setting out a framework for recruitment as well as some standard responses to new applicants.
You gotta larf…
Despite the heavy subject matter of both conferences last weekend, and the seriousness of all present, both were characterised by a relaxed atmosphere and frequent hysterics. It says much for our organisations that both the IWW and L&S conferences never lost their comradely tone, often filled with laughter and yet both were efficient and productive to the point of finishing early. Members carried on chatting long into the night, allowing ourselves many relaxing drinks, knowing that we will all be full steam ahead for the coming months. All jokes aside, the message of the conference was this: We have a world to win and no time to waste, lets get on with it!
Thanks to all who contributed to the conference, see you all on the streets of London on the 28th!
L&S Strategy paper: Community
L&S Strategy paper: Industry
L&S Strategy paper: International