Thursday, August 25, 2011

Starting the year 2011 - 2012


I hope it doesn't sound trite but this is the start of a collective journey.

Following the annual general meeting of the constituency where it was agreed that we should establish a year long education / discussion process I (as the PCLP political and education officer) put a proposal to the executive which was largely agreed with some changes.

Here it is:

We will have 6 bi-monthly discussion sessions over the year starting in late September or early October.
The sessions will be on Wednesday evenings starting at 19.00 and aiming to finish at 21.00 but the booking of the room will be such to allow us to continue.
All the sessions will take place in the Labour Party offices in Pontypridd.
Whilst the sessions are aimed at constituency members the intention is to open them out to other party members, local supporters and affiliates.
We will sometimes have 'big name' speakers but the intention is really to encourage participation through contributions and discussions, so this site becomes important as a way of preparing for the evening sessions.
Although sessions sound heavy and theoretical the idea is to use this site and the start of the sessions to introduce the main debates but then relate them to current ongoing issues. The idea really is to dig a bit deeper to see if we can explore possible causes to problems and then perhaps suggest some radical and creative possible policy answers. Hence the journey.

Here is the method and the initial themes I proposed to the executive:


Having a ‘major’ speaker is one way. However, it can limit the amount of discussion and member input and lead to ‘guru’ style sessions. I would like to suggest that we consider a self education approach where we draw on a range of techniques including a speaker input if it considered relevant. The sort of techniques I had in mind are:

·        Establish a collective prereading or reviewing list of short but relevant texts and other media. Wider reading can be recommended for before and after the sessions.

·        Ongoing discussion could be encouraged through informal sessions and electronically. I don’t think our Facebook discussion group has worked well so would suggest a blog format using ‘blogspot’ which people can access directly through any computer without having to register first.

·        The three hour sessions could be started off with our own presentations setting up positions and a debate. Members and participants could do a bit of research and make short presentations and can share chairing. Discussion could then take place in a variety of formats. We should consider further debate, research or recommendations as an aim of the sessions.


At the GMC in February this year we had a discussion about issues that concerned members and these can be used as a guide to themes. Additionally, as this is the first time this has been attempted it could be used as an opportunity to cover some of the basic issues that underpin the politics of the Labour Party.

The following six would enable the capture of these aims and have now been organised. All will be in the Labour Party offices Morgan St Pontypridd starting at 19.00.

1.    The current economic crisis: what are the causes and possible solutions?
Wednesday 28 September 2011

2.    The Labour Party, trade unions and democratic socialism: where did it come from, where can it go?
Wednesday 30 November 2011

3.    Power, class, discrimination and social exclusion: meaning, relevance and answers?
Wednesday 25 January 2012

4.    Is the planet under threat from climate change and if so, how can it be avoided?
Wednesday 28 March 2012

5.    The EU, nationalism, internationalism, peace and militarism: what is the best way to secure a safe and peaceful world?
Wednesday 30 May 2012

6.    To what extent are we a democratic society? What more could be done to share control, openness and accountability?
Wednesday 25 July 2010

Give me a little time to get the administration in place and I will then open a post for the first session with some suggested areas of discussion and reading and then you can add anything you like in the comments.

Let me know what you think. Comment away.

1 comment:

  1. Qustions for the oracle.