One of my photos

AGM tactical blunder

April 26th, 2007 · Posted by Skuds in Politics · No Comments · Politics

This evening I forgot one of the fundamental golden rules of attending AGMs – I got carried away and volunteered for something and now find myself on the committee of the Crawley Campaign Agaist Racism.

The CCAR is a venerable organisation, now in its 31st year. Many of the firebrands who started it up are still involved but, not surprisingly, are now 31 years older and not quite as vigorous as they used to be. The Chair kept dropping hints about needing new blood in there and its a bit strange that, at 45, I will be looked on as one of the youngsters, as most of the others are over 70 now.

I had the same experience when I first joined the council as well…

Anyway, there was some discussion about how the UAF fits in with the CCAR. Some members understandably felt that as there is already one non-party political anti-racist campaigning organisation in the town there is no need to form another. I think that will all get sorted out at the Crawley-Horsham UAF inaugural meeting.

Personally I feel that there is a point to having two apparently similar organisations. Firstly there is the Horsham dimension, which the CCAR does not cover. I have had contact with a few people from there and one thing they have which we desperately need over here is youth. Something which covers both towns might enable us to get some help from relative youngsters in Horsham in getting our own youngsters involved.

Also, the CCAR actually does very little direct campaigning now. It does a lot of work supporting all sorts of initiatives, and building relationships between different parts of the community, especially in the Interfaith initiative which it has been instrumental in, and its membership has some of the nicest people you could hope to meet, and they throw a brilliant party every year where all the different groups get together.

The UAF is more of a direct action body, with a single aim: to work towards reducing the support of the BNP. Because it focuses on that single thing it can do it very well, and as part of a national body it will get lots of advantages from its network. All those pooled resources and information can make it a lot more effective than an isolated local organisation.

In the meantime, the CCAR should continue all the positive and constructive work it is doing. That is where its strength lies. I really think the two organisations can complement each other very well and should have a considerable overlap in membership.

It may well be that youngsters will be more tempted by a more action-oriented body. They might consider the work of the CCAR to be not intrinsically exciting and be more in tune with something a bit more militant. Certainly thats how I remember being in my late teens. It would be nice to think that some who join the UAF for its direct and well-defined narrow agenda will meet others and see what they are doing in the CCAR and the many other groups we all belong to and actually want to join them as they start settling down.

Well that is the argument I shall be making anyway.

I did learn tonight that we now have a firm date, time and venue for the Crawley & Horsham UAF meeting, which I shall be shamelessly promoting any minute now.

(Or will it be the Horsham & Crawley UAF? Perhaps that should be item 2 on the agenda)

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