A useful and informative meeting of the Campaigns forum organised and chaired by Darren Galpin took place last night at Quay Arts.
The agenda was previously democratically aired on line and followed in the meeting. An economic discussion led by Martin Young about the alternative economy for the Isle of Wight and a thriving “Wealth Creating” economy took place. A wide range of issues was covered as a basic frame to proceed and develop the thinking about whose economy it is. Whose economy is it anyway? It is ours and we should independently decide. It started by raising the issue of a low paid economy on the island. Such issues as manufacturing as a key component of added value and also the island demographics and its role. It was also discussed about how the big players like BAE and GKN operate, where investment should come from and to a degree what innovations should take place in terms of investment in land and manufacturing as well as social programmes such as health and education. Ecological Issues such as cycle tracks, fracking, eco island and infrastructure were touched upon to expand upon existing knowledge. Some history of how the Trades Unions and Trades Councils had organised activity in the past around Austerity along with Unite the Isle of Wight and also the struggle for Assisted Area Status and Strategic funding as well as the Civil Authority and the cuts in funding. One specific area was how the Civil authority has diminished and how unreliable it had become and had lost its credibility to an extent. It was discussed how to take up the mantle of economics where others had left off. In this context it was emphasised the importance of independent organising and forums to help the organisers themselves to determine the aims and objectives of campaigns that spontaneously spring up. It was also discussed about the role of political parties in these campaigns and the necessity to maintain independence. The health campaign, IOW Save our NHS, had successfully managed to get the point where a demonstration over the NHS had taken place in Newport where over 200 people marched to secure a future for the health service. The question of rights being at the hub of all campaigns, shows how their independence and authorative knowledge, is growing and empowers them more and more, and where sustainable well organised and led campaigns, lay down the seeds of real public authority.
Aaron Williams elaborated views about Health and Social care and what it means to campaign around such a vital issue. Carl Feeney, from the Fixed link campaign, attended the meeting and contributed to the economic discussion and campaign networking. There was also discussion around basic issues in order to mobilise for campaigns and also how taking care of the future of the movement through advancing ideas, around the alternative, should occur.
Ken Knapman explained why the campaign for an Anti-War Government was an essential for the Isle of Wight and how it frames, and strategically leads, the entire struggle for rights in the country at this juncture. This frame includes health and education and other issues. The island has a history of organising against War and the national Stop the War Movement is currently organising a tour around anti-war Government right now. Darren explained how specifically the youth could be a factor in future activity. Darren pointed out how the Corbyn phenomenon has taken the questions of Austerity, environment and war into the public domain, civil society and also into parliament and the diminished civil authority. Recently Darren had organised action in Newport over the nuclear confrontation on the Korean peninsula and posited how opposition to Trump could take place to mobilise youth as a reserve force for our campaigns.
It was decided that the campaigns meetings and political forums should continue and Darren Galpin is already considering the next one.