2012/03/19 Minutes EWG Meeting
OLSX Economics Working Group Meeting 5.00 pm @ the Barbican, 19/03/2012
Present: Sean, Michael, Fabian and Chris FD. Janos attended to give his apologies; also acknowledged from Clive, and subsequently noted from Dave on line.
There was no agenda available, although we were told that this had been posted later in the afternoon by Dave.
The meeting commenced in conversational mode at 5.30, with just one transient facilitation intervention to curtail an extended reiterative exchange.
The truncated meeting was based upon the minutes of 16th March (thanks to Clive).
Agreed inappropriate to vet minutes of 12th and 16th March for agreement on accuracy.
The meeting was therefore largely devoted to matters ‘arising’.
1) We first discussed the proposed meeting at Waltham Forest, with the open agenda of ‘What is Occupy’. Michael to continue to explore the practical arrangements with his contacts there, with the plan for a weekend occasion, probably later in April Three aspects to the initiative :- 1) Weekend meeting and 2) exploration of 6th form college Occupy Outreach occasion (Sean thinks that this might contravene legislation concerning taking political activity into schools – Outreach/ Citizenship WG will best advise about this. Any such agenda would have to depend upon an approach from the institution concerned). 3) Also, the link to the London Boroughs walk.
Chris suggested that it could be helpful to engage the Walk group in the weekend event, as an exploratory exercise in relation to the logistics of the ‘Walk’ and interaction with the local community. Reiterated response of ‘Walk group’ that it did not anticipate engaging with local Trades Councils, but that they had all the details and would be open to local involvement on a broad front. Chris to pass on email addresses of interested parties to Michael.
2) Tues ‘GA’. Had been agreed that Peter would be there +? And also that he would provide info. Re: EWG requested by ‘WG Assembly’.
3) There were differing views on the merits of the (previously agreed) proposal to prepare Information ‘leaflets’. There was a semblance of agreement on the idea that summarised and bullet pointed information for comprehensive alternative narrative economic material for ‘outreach’ would best be based upon a detailed information papers which had undergone the rigour of discussion, editing and approval by the group. A question mark over timescales and necessary time commitment was reiterated. Pointed out that condensed readily and quickly digestible info. should be available by June, which is the new start date for the London Boroughs Walk, and ideally in time for the May actions.
4) Noted that Clive had prepared an outline response to budget. No comment other than that it might be that Dave and Peter (press) might between them put something together. It is possible that these meeting notes may trigger action if they think it appropriate. Noted that a number of possible new initiatives are being released or leaked in run up to budget (100 year bonds, further Social housing sell off inducements, Privatisation of the roads). (As I write, we now have Credit Easing scheme).
5) Sean committing a lot of time to the Glencore/Xstrata investigation. ?Possibility of tabling motion at meeting of shareholders. Sean particularly interested in finding evidence of commercial illegality to trigger legal sanctions to ban trading in the States.
6) New website signing on details have been circulated by Fabian. Not operational yet, and Vica (who happened to be passing) had no news on this, although clearly committed to this important interactive basis for information in the Group and OLSX.
7) NHS discussion was limited to the announcement of a proposal for a substantial number of medics (?50) to stand in the next election against members of the coalition who have voted for the NHS bill. Sean keen that Chris should make contact with this action group to offer support of Economics WG. Chris has independent intention to make contact – more definitive action will need to wait upon the views of the EWG as a ‘whole’ , and there would need to be GA sanction of anything more.
8) AOB:- There was concern about the very low turnout for this meeting, and it ended at approx. 6.30 after Michael left early with fatigue and Fabian for another commitment.
Sean expressed concern that he had been committing a great deal of time and energy to OLSX issues and would be constrained by the realistic demands of gainfully committed life, such that he would not be willing to commit time if meetings were so poorly attended that they could not hope to be truly productive in the context of the uncertainly established group ethic. Thought that two meetings a week might be reduced to one. Chris concerned that inevitable resource limitation of the group may be spread too thin – emphasised that meetings had been well enough attended for functionality in the past (?numbers ranging from min. of 6 to max 18). Fundamental issues of the conflict between depth/breadth demands of OLSX and ‘other life’.
At the start of the meeting, Michael expressed concern about those who had in the past attended meetings and then been ‘lost to follow up’, with question as to how, if at all, such attrition might be minimised. This is perhaps an important topic to readdress in the context of realism of aims and ?uncertainly evolving agenda of the Group. Horizontal Model is an undoubted challenge for the future of OLSX.
Fabian says that his irregular attendance has been due to conflicting commitments, but that he now hopes to come on a more regular basis. He expressed a readiness to support the Groups ‘internet/web’ and information functions which were 1st explored during the short life of the Education Subgroup. To be emphasised that this was in response to specific enquiry, but that it will be most helpful if he is comfortable with, and has the time for, such a commitment.