THIS COULD BE THE LAST TIME, THIS COULD BE THE LAST TIME, THIS COULD BE THE LAST TIME - I DON'T KNOW-OH-OH-OH.....(apologies to the Rolling Stones!)
The Furness Against the Cuts campaign will continue - it is the structure that might change. It is certainly not what I wanted to happen but a general unwillingness (and even point-blank refusal) to assist with the campaign undermined the principle of this being an open, democratic and participatory group with no hierarchical structure (chairman, secretary, treasurer, etc). Calls for assistance with the stall were largely unheeded and nobody wished to submit anything for the weblog. So, having been left 'in charge' this past year, I am considering 'taking charge' and deciding - without discussion - how the stall will be organised from now on.
The statement that nobody supported the campaign is not strictly true for there were two exceptions - the secretary of Barrow & Furness Pensioners Association (retired member of the union, UNISON) has provided consistent support for the campaign as has a solitary member of the Socialist Workers Party (and member of the GMB union) and both will still be welcome to use the stall as a focal point for their own organisation's interests eg to recruit for the Pensioners Association and for the promotion of the Socialist Worker weekend newspaper and any of its leaflets. Communist Party material will also be made available to the public.
So the big change is that the stall will no longer be 'apolitical' (ie no specific political content) but 'political' in that it will permit socialist and communist pamphlets and magazines to be on display. Should other organisations not wish to be associated with either of these then they can go and set up their own stalls. The stall will, of course, continue to condemn government austerity measures and its attacks on pensions, the welfare state (public services) and the National Health Service. Peace and environmental issues will only be addressed in the context of 'the cuts' - how reduction of armaments production and adoption of an alternative 'diversification' programme could create long-term, sustainable growth in employment and the economy of Furness.
There is just one thing that would disuade me from taking such a step and that is if the stall on Saturday19th May (10am until 12 noon) has trade unionists handing out their union's pamphlets, Barrow TUC attends to voice opposition to the government, local community organisations and charities have their representatives explaining to the general public what affects the cuts are having on the most vulnerable members of our society and religious organisations are there to condemn growing poverty. I think it's fairly safe for me to say that I shall be solely in charge of Furness Against the Cuts as of Sunday 20 May........