Putting people off

T en comrades, including members of the CPGB, Alliance for Workers' Liberty and Socialist Workers Party, met on April 8 for the latest Nottingham Socialist Alliance steering committee get-together. In a reasonably cordial atmosphere, the meeting proved useful in planning activity for the next couple of months. With no local elections to contest until May 2003, Nottingham SA has time to build a near year-long campaign on a variety of issues - the first of which would be the parlous state of the education system in the city, which would be the subject of a public meeting. Pete Radcliff of the AWL gave a report-back from the successful demonstration and public meeting on Palestine/Israel in the city centre on April 6. The demo attracted 150 people and the meeting 40 - but, said comrade Radcliff, he was concerned about the absence of SA members at both events. This again shows that the SWP's tendency to allocate different issues to different fronts - instead, in this case, of working through the Socialist Alliance - is having a demoralising effect on some non-SWP members. There seems to be a certain falling away amongst our peripheral support, as highlighted by the report from comrade Bill Walton, our treasurer and membership secretary, who is still chasing people for subs. Only 43 people have paid their membership fees this year, compared with 150 in 2001. The SWP comrades present seemed surprised by this. They should not be - our supporters are bound to lose interest if the largest SA component simply drops the project for a year. This is a massive opportunity lost - 150 members was a considerable achievement and if we do not at least make the hundred mark it will be difficult to see how we can run a campaign to match the general election for next year's local elections. An SWP comrade, however, volunteered to ring around lapsed comrades. It was quickly agreed that the NSA will sponsor the annual May Day march in the city centre. Finally, we came to the subject SA action in opposition to the royal jubilee. Nearly all comrades concurred that it would be ridiculous to let an opportunity like this pass us by without making some mark. Despite comrade Radcliff's well aimed ironic remark, wondering whether opposition to the monarchy might lose us votes amongst pensioners, a public meeting on the question will be held on May 27 and I was charged with looking at further NSA activity in relation to the jubilee. Sam Metcalf