Some random reflections on NCAFC conference so far.
1. We should have sorted motions far earlier, we ended up with a lot more than we expected and not nearly enough time to debate them all even cursorily, let alone with a proper debate. Sorting motions earlier could also have allowed more time for amendments and compositing.
2. That is a better coverage of the various left factions and groups in attendance than at previous conferences (AWL, REVO, SP, SWP, Counterfire, SolFed, AF, Greens, SBL are all here to some extent), which gives a good justification to claim that NCAFC is not a faction itself but a united left campaign. On the other hand, the conference is still only 150 odd people, mostly very involved people, and there are still problems with FE, schools, BME etc. representation.
3. We’ve passed some good policy already, to support HE and FE staff in the pensions dispute, up to and including in the event of non marking of exams; to coordinate a boycott of the national student survey; to broaden the fight and work more with non education workers in future strikes; to support direct action ,occupations, walkouts and strikes.
4. We’re going to have a lot of potential campaigns to run, I’m not sure how exactly we’ll prioritise them.
5. The workshop on anti-racism and fascism was very interesting, certainly in my discussion group there seemed widespread recognition of the need to stand up to groups like the EDL directly on the street but also to broaden the debate and realise that underlying mainstream structural racism is actually a bigger problem and we need to realise the role the media/tories/labour etc. play in fomenting the conditions within which the EDL can prosper.
6. There has been some movement to open up the working of NCAFC and be more inclusive, but a proposal for the NC discussion list to be fully open to anyone narrowly lost.
7. It was disappointing to hear some people rejecting the call for a break for accessibility just so their motions would be slightly more likely to be heard.
8. Women’s caucus reported back and remarked that conference needed to make a better job at being a safe space and generally inclusive, particularly that speakers use less jargon, don’t speak over people and don’t clap (as we did agree at the start though not everyone held to (myself included at one point - sorry!)). Good points.