The following resolutions were carried by the 2013 congress of the South West England and Cornwall District of the Communist Party. They are published as amended.
Congress recognises the value of the Marxist day school held in Exeter by Devon branches and encourages joint activity by branches to further develop knowledge of Marxism-Leninism.
Congress recognises the value of branches twinning with local bodies of other Communist and Workers’ parties to further international relationships.
Congress deplores the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board and calls on the incoming District Committee to encourage CPB branches in work with trade unions campaigning for its reinstatement.
AWB wage rates have been replaced by the national minimum wage with the likely consequence of real wage cuts for thousands of rural workers in the SW District area.
Public transport serving many remote rural communities in the S.W. region is being cut drastically, leaving isolated those without the means or ability to drive. In parts of Cornwall buses services used by school pupils and college students will be axed soon.
Congress asks the CPB District Committee to urge and support members to join/instigate local campaigns to defend and extend these vital services. Congress feels that this defence and expansion of services can only ultimately be achieved through their return to public ownership.
Capital has established that it needs to undermine the safety and security of the population of the South-West in order to maintain itself as evidenced by the dismantling of the Ambulance and Fire Services. Because of the particular nature of the South-West region
this will have an effect on individual communities which can and will be deathly and they go to the core of the structure of our society.
The Communist Party of Britain is uniquely placed to ensure that the activities of Capital in this context are beaten back by popular opposition. We should inform as widely as possible of the intentions of Capital and those whom it represents and support all local campaigns
against the destruction of emergency services as part of the task to highlight the activities of Capital in this context.
- Liaise with the FBU, Unison and other relevant trade unions in order
that we have up-to-date information immediately available.
- Work directly with the Regional TUC.
- Produce information leaflets, correspond with the local press, inform local radio stations and generally publicise whenever and wherever in the region our emergency services come under attack.
The South West England and Cornwall District of the Communist Party of Britain notes that it already has comrades who are officers and members of trade unions and trades union councils across the region, as well as a presence on the SW TUC Regional Council.
The District Congress therefore recognises the huge potential of the Party to influence working people and undertake focussed activity in the trade union movement in the South West. It also recognises that such work is at the forefront of our struggle against privatisation and cuts in jobs, benefits and services and for a fairer and more just alternative.
This District Congress therefore urges the incoming District Committee to continue to do everything possible to:
- Work with branches to ensure that all comrades who are able, especially women and young people, are encouraged to join their relevant union and participate in its activities.
- Encourage trade union comrades to engage with the Party’s newly established district Trade Union Working Group and attend the Party’s national advisory committees and trade union schools.
- Encourage comrades in the district to consider becoming stewards and branch committee officers and taking on other influential roles and to support all comrades who are active in these positions.
- Coordinate, deepen and extend the work of the Party in the regional labour movement in line with the national policies of the Party and in response to local circumstances and needs.
- Support the District Trade Union Organiser in leading this work.
- Regularly report on progress to the Party’s National Trade Union Organiser, the District Committee and Party branches.
This District Congress welcomes the formation of a regional Morning Star Campaign Group based on the trade unions that have shares in the People’s Press Printing Society, the readers’ co-op that owns the Morning Star. This has enormous potential to increase the sales and readership of the Morning Star in our region, especially among trade union members, to raise funds for the paper and to increase the Morning Star’s coverage of events in the South West. It can also provide a platform for unity of the broad left. Congress also welcomes the fact that there are now six Morning Star Readers’ and Supporters’ Groups in our region, working in a non-sectarian way to build support for Britain’s only socialist daily newspaper.
Congress notes that the financial position of the Morning Star is still insecure and urges the whole labour movement to recognise the value of the paper and its key role in challenging the domination of the media by forces hostile to the labour movement and all it stands for.
This District Congress resolves that the incoming District Committee will work with Party branches to organise public meetings in support of renationalisation of the railways and public utilities.
Congress re-affirms its commitment to young people in the face of government proposals to withdraw benefits from 18-25 year olds. This commitment also needs to include proving that there is a political alternative and introducing young people to the Communist Party and the Young Communist League. The District Committee is asked to urge members to support student and youth campaigns and for young members to become active in their student unions and any political discussion groups.
At the same time the young, disaffected youth, unemployed and those on low wages should not be excluded from our campaigning. Therefore, efforts have to be made to reach a generation whose future is being stolen from them.
Therefore the incoming District Committee should:
- Have a member of YCL age on the District Committee, who will help organise and provide leadership to the young members in the South West and Cornwall, to increase recruitment of young people and students into the Party and to report the activities and growth of youth membership at every District Committee meeting.
- Help all branches to recruit at least one member of YCL age and, where there are enough members, a Young Members’ Organiser.
Congress is concerned about the risks by the extraction of shale gas by the way of fracking in some parts of the country. Congress recognises the detailed studies of Michael Behar, amongst others, into the effects of fracking in the Prague area of the former Czechoslovakia, showing it can increase seismic activity.
The South West and Cornwall District Committee is asked to publicly call for local authorities not to permit fracking operations in their area and not be bought by operators in attempts to fund local services.
Congress recognises the acute housing shortage in the South West and Cornwall and the unaffordable prices of properties for those on low incomes. Whilst this crisis escalates year after year thousands of properties remain empty and increasing numbers of people are driven into the hands of rogue landlords.
The incoming District Committee should launch a campaign to address this issue. This could include:
- The compulsory purchase habitable or potentially habitable properties that have remained empty for 12 months or more, with the aim of renovation and letting.
- The construction of eco-efficient council houses on brown field sites.
- Abolishing the right to ‘Buy to Let’ residential property which artificially inflates house prices.
- Banning further purchases of second homes.
Congress deplores the fact that essential services for the elderly and most vulnerable in society are being withdrawn, putting the well-being of these people at risk.
One such service is sheltered housing, where even day cover wardens and scheme managers at some properties have been withdrawn and forced to cover a number of housing schemes in a town or area.
Congress recognises this as a human rights issue for many residents of sheltered housing schemes. The incoming District Committee is requested to encourage branches to campaign to re-instate resident wardens/scheme managers in their area and support existing campaign groups calling for this.