Our conference: ‘Organising 2019, Innovations and reflections’ is on 2 November, and the excitement is growing. The climate rebels have shown that even in dark days like those we face today, mass movements are possible, and we don’t have to wait for politicians to ‘lead’ on creating the change that we so desperately need.
Our school is named in honour of the African American Freedom movement’s leading organiser, and she would be smiling at the creativity and ingenuity of the climate rebellion. She would also be smiling at the victory of the Birmingham Home Care workers, and the organising undertaken by new grassroots unions.
But winning is not all about wonderful and creative moblisations, there is always the question of power. As Martin Luther king put it, the ability to make an adversary say ‘yes’ when they want to say ‘no’.
That is why we have brought together some amazing panels of speakers to explore both trade union and community organising with a view to consider emerging innovations and how we can put them to effective use across the movement.
There will be speakers on how to win industrial disputes, how to organise so called ‘hard to organise’ workers, and how to win (and win big). But we know that workplace organising is just one side of the coin. We need to win politically and in our communities as well, which is why we have invited organisers to talk about what we can learn from Labour for a Green New Deal and Extinction Rebellion, among others.
And of course we are not being parochial! We have organisers and academics talking about the wave of recent teachers strikes across the USA and about organising the construction sector in Turkey.
But however wonderful these contributors will be, the real learning will take place in the breakout sessions: small group discussions where people share their own experience in the context of the big themes introduced by our speakers.
It is going to be a great day, and we have not even mentioned the fact that a fantastic lunch box and an early evening pizza (including vegan and gluten free options) in a historic local pub* is included in the registration price.
Registration fees ranges from £5 for low or unwaged, through to £15 if you are paying yourself, and £40 if your employer is paying.
* we are not making this up, but by complete coincidence, the venue for the evening meal is the pub where the second congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) met and the famous split took place between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks!