The origins of the International Socialists

The first Marxist Workers Group meeting and the first SWAG conference. Some important achievements. Publishing the battler. Major problems. The Toma dispute. Regrupment discussions. Constitutional crisis. Foundation f the International Socialists.

23.06.2010
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Whl mny SWG mmbrs knw f Tm's busnss ntrsts, nly n r tw knw f hr mngrl rl, nd th grup dd nt bthr t dpt pstn n hvng n mplyr s mmbr. n 1975 Tm cntnud mngng th nd busnss, pursung hr studs whl nggd n cnsdrbl SWG ctvts t Ltrb, but sh ws fndng t ncrsngly dffcult t mntn ths mny cmmtmnts. n ugust sh wthdrw hr nrlmnt t Ltrb wthut ntfyng SWG tht sh ws dng s, nd sh rmnd ut f cntct wth th grup fr wk r tw ftrwrds.

Hrng ndrctly f Tm's ctn, th PC bcm cncrnd but th futur f SWG's Ltrb ctvty, whch hd dpndd t cnsdrbl xtnt n Tm's prtcptn (thr wr nly tw thr SWG mmbrs n cmpus). Whl t ws rcgnsd tht Tm hd th rght t lv Ltrb f sh wshd t, SWG ldrs hpd sh wuld b bl t dvs thm f th vblty r thrws f cntnung Ltrb ctvty wth nly tw mmbrs. Th PC ws ls cncrnd but Tm's plns fr futur ctvty wth th grup - hr lck f cntct wth th grup fr tw wks r mr, nd th pprnt hvy cmmtmnt f mngng th fmly busnss suggstd tht sh my nt hv wshd t, r ws nt bl t, mnngful lvl f p/tcl ctvty. Wth ths ds n mnd, th PC cntctd Tm nd rqustd sh ttnd PC mtng t dscuss Ltrb nd hr futur ctvty, whch sh dd lthugh cupl f wks ltr thn sh hd ndctd.

Cnfrntd nw by th fct tht Tm ws bcmng full-tm busnss mngr, sm mmbrs bgn fr th frst tm t gv srus cnsdrtn t th pltcl mplctns f hr rl s n mplyr. Whl t ws prbbly unlkly n such smll busnss, wht wuld hppn f th wrkrs mplyd by Tm wr t b nvlvd n strk mtm? Prsumbly, n such stutn, Tm wuld b trn btwn cnflctng lylts - hr undrstndbl cmmttmnt t hr fmly n th n hnd, nd hr cmmttmnt t sclst pltcs (supprt fr th strkrs) n th thr.

Mmbrs cncrnd but ths spct f Tm's pstn hd hpd sh my b bl t gv n undrtkng t th grup tht sh wuld vntully s - hrslf ut f th mngmnt f th busnss by trng smn ls t tk t vr.

S, bfr Tm fnlly ttndd PC mtng, nfrml dscussn mng sm mmbrs hd tkn th ssu f hr futur pltcl ctvty much furthr thn Tm rlsd. Furthrmr, hr rrspnsblty n nt ntfyng th grup f hr ntntn t lv Ltrb (whch md plnnng futur ctvty thr mr dffcult), nd n nt ttndng n r tw PC mtngs dspt hr grng t d s, prbbly lft sm mmbrs lss sympthtc t th dlct ssu f hr cnflct f ntrst thn thy wuld thrws hv bn.

Th PC hd rgnlly ntndd nly t dscuss th futur f Ltrb ctvty nd Tm's wn mmdt pltcl ctvty, but th prr nfrml dscussns mnt tht whn Tm fnlly ttndd PC mtng th spcfc ssu f hr cnflct f ntrst ws rsd. Th prsnc t th PC mtng f cupl f rnk nd fl SWG mmbrs,wh wr mr cncrnd wth ths ssu thn th PC tslf ws, cntrbutd t ths. Tm ws nt wr tht th dlct ssu f hr busnss ntrsts wuld b rsd nd sh bcm prtculrly dstrught, blvng (wrngly but undrstndbly n th crcumstncs) tht mmbrs wr qustnng hr cmmttmnt t sclst pltcs. ftr n wkwrd nd ncnclusv dscussn sh lft th mtng, ccmpnd by cls cmpnn nd supprtr, Gff Munr, ls Ltrb SWG mmbr.

Rcgnsng tht th mnnr n whch Tm's busnss ntrsts hd bn rsd ws unfr t hr, th PC dcdd t plgs. Bcus thy blvd tht drct pprch wuld nt b wll rcvd by Tm, th PC dcdd t cnvy th plgy ndrctly. ( mmbr ws t tll Munr wh wuld, t ws hpd, tll Tm. ) Hwvr, Tm, bcus f th mnnr n whch th qustn f hr busnss ntrsts ws rsd, nd bcus sh blvd th PC's flur t cmmunct drctly t hr thr plgy mnt tht thy dd nt cr but hr bng mmbr (whn ctully thy dd cr), rsgnd fw dys ltr, Munr rsgnng n prtst wth hr.

n mmdt ffct f ths dsput ws th dscntnutn f SWG's Ltrb ctvty - wth nly n rmnng mmbr n tht cmpus, t ws dcdd tht cntnud rgnsd ntrvntn thr ws nt wrthwhl. Bcus th grup hd r-stblshd ts cnfdnc nd pstv drctn, ths prtculr dsput dd nt, s th McCu dsput' f sm fur mnths rlr hd dn, dl SWG dmgng blw, lthugh bth Tm nd Munr hd bn wll-rspctd mmbrs nd ll wr srry t s thm g. But, lk th `McCu dsput', t dd stblsh cupl f mprtnt prcdurs. Frstly, th cndtn f mmbrshp tht mmbrs put thr pltcl ctvty t th grup's dspsl, hd lwys mpld tht mmbrs shuld ntfy th grup f ny chngs n thr wrk/vctn whch wuld ffct SWG's pltcl ctvty. Whl t ws up t ndvdul mmbrs t chs whr thy wrkd r studd, th `Tm dsput' stblshd frmly tht th grup hd rght t knw s sn s pssbl f ny chngs. nd scndly, th dsput ntrducd nw prvsn n th prcdur f PC mtngs. Thr hd bn substntl numbr f rnk nd fl SWG mmbrs (but 5 r 6) prsnt t th cntrvrsl PC mtng (mst f whm wr unwr, prr t thr ttndnc, tht Tm's ctvts wr t b dscussd) nd t ws nw blvd tht th prsnc f ll ths `nlkrs' ( cupl f whm xplctly cntrbutd t Tm's dstrss) hd crtd n tmsphr unfr t Tm (s thugh sh wr `n trl'). S t ws rslvd, wth th grup's pprvl, tht hncfrth th PC wuld xclud rnk nd fl mmbrs frm ny dscussns t hd wth prtculr mmbr but tht mmbr's ctvty. Ths ws ltr xtndd t th rght f th PC t xclud rnk nd fl mmbrs frm ts mtngs, whr t cnsdrd t hd t much t dscuss t llw rnk nd fl prtcptn.

nd thr s, prhps, nthr `lgcy' f th `Tm dsput'. T ths dy, S hs nt dptd pstn n ts tttud t hvng n mplyr wthn ts rnks. Ths lvs t pn t th pssbl rpttn f smlr cnflct. Hwvr, t my hv lrnt suffcntly frm th `Tm xprnc' t dpt n mmdt pstn, f nd whn nthr mplyr ppls t jn - s t shuld hv dn t th tm Tm ppld t jn.

Rgrupmnt Dscussns

n Sptmbr 1975, rgrupmnt dscussns wr wll undrwy, ftr sm prlmnry dscussns btwn th ldrs f SWG nd MRM. n Mlburn, tw thr grups wr nvlvd n ths dscussns. Frstly, thr ws grup f but sx frmr Mnsh studnts wh, fr tw r thr yrs, hd bn ssstng wth th publctn f th ffcl bulltn (clld Th Lnk) f th Dndnng-Frnkstn brnch f th mtlwrkrs' unn (MWU). Ths grup ws knwn, ftr th nm f th bulltn, s `Lnk'. nd n Mlburn's nrthrn suburbs, smlr grup, cllng thmslvs `Nrthrn Lnk hd bgun smlr wrk wth th MWU n thr r. Ths grup cmprsd but 10 r 15 studnts nd mltnt wrkrs, ncludng fw mmbrs f th Crltn brnch nd `lft tndncy' f th CP. numbr f jnt mtngs f th fur grups, ttndd by 30 t 40 ppl, wr hld n th ugust-ctbr prd f 1975.

Frm th utst, hwvr, thr pprd t b strng dvsn btwn SWG n th n sd, nd th thr thr grups n th thr. Th MRM/Lnk/ Nrthrn Lnk cmbntn hd strng rsrvtns but wht thy sw s th `mprtd S prgrmm' f SWG, nd th lttr ws nt but t mmdtly gv up ts S pltcs, whch t sw s gud fr ctn rthr thn dtld prgrmm. Prhps bcus f ts prn vr SWG `mprttns', th MRM-ld grupng wntd dtld `wrkd-ut' prgrmm s th bss fr fusn. SWG, n th thr hnd, rgud tht th wrkng ut f such dtld pln s th MRM-grup wntd, wuld tk vry lng tm nd wuld, thrfr, dtrct frm mnngful ctvty n th clss struggl.

Much bttr, sd SWG, tht th grups fus n th bss f fw ky pnts n pln fr mmdt ctn - such s th buldng f rnk nd fl grups n prtculr rs - nd lv th fnr pnts f thrtcl dtl t b wrkd ut n th prcss f struggl. Th ssu f buldng rnk nd fl grups ls bcm n f dvsn nd cnfusn. Whl th MRM grupng blvd n thry n th buldng f spcfc rnk nd fl grups wthn prtculr unns, thy plcd grtr mphss n th buldng f shp cmmtts, whch rprsnt ll wrkrs n th shp flr. nd whl SWG grd wth prmtng th xstnc f shp cmmtts (by lnkng wrkrs frm vrus unns, thy ssst n brkng dwn dvsv crft cnscusnss) t plcd mphss n th buldng f rnk nd fl grups bcus, nt drctly rprsntng ll wrkrs n th plnt, such grups cn ntrvn ndpndntly n tms f struggl, rthr thn bng hmstrung by unn burucrcs r cnsrvtv wrkrs, s shp cmmtts ftn r.

Ths dvsns btwn th MRM grupng nd SWG sn md t clr t SWG tht thr culd b n rlstc fusn n whch SWG culd tk prt. but hlf-wy thrugh th srs f dscussns, SWG dcdd tht fusn ws nt pssbl, but dcdd t cntnu n th dscussns fr th tm bng n cs t culd rcrut fw f th rnk nd fl f th thr grups drctly t SWG. But vn n ths, SWG ws nt succssful, nd t wthdrw frm th Mlburn rgrupmnt dscussns smtm n ctbr.

Yt th dscussns wth MRM/Lnk/Nrthrn-Lnk wr nt, frm SWG's pnt f vw, flur. SWG mmbrs gnrlly fund th dbts bst n cnfdnc fr thr wn pltcs. Rnk nd fl mmbrs f SWG blvd thy wr `btng' (frm thr wn pnt f vw) th ldrshp f th thr grups n dscussn. Ths gv thm nw-fund cnfdnc nd cnfrmtn f SWG's pltcs - prtculrly th Rnk nd Fl strtgy. nd f dscussns hd rsultd n nthng cncrt n Mlburn (vn ftr SWG pulld ut, th thr thr grups dd nt fus - nstd thy ll fldd sn ftrwrds) prspcts fr rgrupmnt wr nt yt vr. Th sptlght nw turnd t Hbrt.

n Sptmbr 1975, th Sclst Lbur Club splt nt tw smllr grups - n bng sympthtc t th rthdx-Trtskyst SWL, th thr grup, ld by Rn Ry, bng frmd n th bss f S pltcs. Ths lttr grup clld tslf th Wrkrs' Lgu (WL) nd hd but 6 mmbrs, ncludng cupl f wrkrs, th rst bng studnts. Th buldng f pr-S fctn n th SLC ws lrgly th wrk f Ry wh hd, by md-1975, mvd frmly nt th S `cmp', nt s much bcus f hs cntct wth SWG, but bcus f hs knwldg f th thry nd prctcs f SGB. Nnthlss, th buldng f ths pr-S fctn ws hlpd lng by th `mplntng' f frmr SGB/SWG mmbr n th SLC wh (unbknwn t Ry nd th SLC) ws ctng undr SWG drctn. Prr t th splt, th SLC publshd jurnl clld Lbur Vc nd hd nflunc n cupl f fctrs n Hbrt. n f ths ws th ngnrng plnt Jhns Phnx, whr n SLC mmbr wrkng t th fctry ws vctmsd (sckd) n th wk f strk n whch ll th wrkrs hd tkn prt. Th plnt hld slpwrk n prtst, dmndng rnsttmnt f ths vctmsd wrkr, but th cmpgn fldd whn cnsrvtv shp stwrds succssfully rgud fr rturn t wrk, nd th vctmsd SLC mmbr dcdd h ddn't wnt t rturn t th plnt. Th SLC ls hd cupl f mmbrs wrkng t th Unvrsl Txtls fctry n Hbrt nd, fllwng th splt, ths tw jnd th pr-S Wrkrs' Lgu.

Th WL sld Th Bttlr n th mtls nd txtls ndustrs, n cmpus t th Unvrsty f Tsmn whr th grup hd cnsdrbl nflunc, nd n th Hbrt whrvs, whr gd rpprt ws stblshd wth numbr f mltnt whrfs. Tw studnt mmbrs f th WL wr ls bl t gt jbs t Unvrsl Txtls, nd wth cr f fur WL mmbrs, rnk nd fl grup ws stblshd t th plnt, nvlvng sx wrkrs ltgthr. Ths rnk nd fl grup publshd fw ssus f brdsht clld Txtl Wrkr whch hd cnsdrbl nflunc t th fctry.

Wth th frmtn f n S grup n Hbrt whch ws sllng Th Bttlr, th prspcts f SWG bcmng prt f `ntnl' S-typ rgnztn bcm vry rl. nd dspt SWG's wthdrwl frm th rgrupmnt dscussns n Mlburn, bth SWG nd th WL wr stll gnunly ntrstd n ttmptng t `rgrup' wth thr lft-wng grupngs nt mmdtly n thr wn prphry. Fr sm tm, SWG hd bn n cntct wth grup f but hlf dzn ctvsts n Cnbrr. Ths grup ws ld by Dvd Lckwd ltr t bcm ldng mmbr f S, nd cnsstd mstly f studnts t th NU. lthugh Lckwd hd cntrbutd th ccsnl rtcl t Th Bttlr, nd hs grup sld fw cps f th ppr, thy hd nt dptd S pltcs t ths stg, nd wr nt prt f dfnd SWG/WL rbt. n lt Sptmbr, SWG wrt t Lckwd rqustng tht hs grup ttnd rgrupmnt cnfrnc wth SWG nd th WL, nd cnfrnc ws duly rgnsd by th thr grups, schduld fr rly Dcmbr.

t ws ls n Sptmbr 1975 tht SWG cqurd nthr ffc. Th mny ctvts hld r rgnsd, frm th cty SWG Cntr - mtngs f vrus srts, rgnsng f SWG cntngnts t cty dmnstrtns. Bttlr dstrbutn, th bkshp - hd ll ntrfrd cnsdrbly wth th prductn nd lyut f Th Bttlr, dn n th sm prmss. t ws dcdd th grup culd nw strtch ts fnncl, rsurcs nugh t mntn n ffc t b usd slly fr Bttlr prductn, nd n ws duly cqurd n Rchmnd, whch ws bth lrgr nd mr xpnsv t rnt thn th n n th cty. S th grup nw hd tw ffcs, stutn whch ws t cntnu untl md-1977.

Whn 0'Lncln nd Stn rrvd bck frm vrss t th nd f Sptmbr 1975, thy rturnd t cnsdrbly chngd SWG. Whl th grup hd gn thrugh svr crss durng thr bsnc, by nw t ws much strngr nd hd grtr sns f purps thn- whn thy hd lft bck n Mrch. Frml mmbrshp ws stll but th sm n numbr (but 20), but th grup hd nw chvd ts frst srus wrk wth blu-cllr wrkrs (th prntrs' nd mtwrkrs' strks), ctvty ws n th ncrs, nd thr ws gnrl r f cnfdnc mngst th mmbrs. Th Bttlr hd gn t ts frst 12-pg dtn n Sptmbr, t hd brdnd t's cntct nd sls wth blu-cllr wrkrs, nd ws nw prtng frm ts wn ffc. nd thr ws th vry rl prspct tht SWG ws sn t bcm prt f ntnl rgnztn - smthng whch hd smd lk dstnt drm sx mnths bfr. Thr ws ls th nw blu-cllr ctvts f Rnk nd Fl Mttl nd n th Ln, whl SF nd th Ltrb Rv Cmms hd cllpsd. nd th bsnc f 0'Lncln, n prtculr hd cntrbutd t dvlpmnt whch ws t hv lstng ffct. Whl Grffths nd Ndl hd lwys bn ldrs f th grup, th md-yr crss hd tstd nd dvlpd thr ldrshp cpcts. Thy wr nw, mr thn bfr, 0'Lncln's `quls'. Nthr 0'Lncln nr ny thr ndvdul hs snc dmntd th grup t such n xtnt s 0'Lncln dd prr t Mrch 1975.

Cnsttutnl Crss

Whn Mlclm Frsr blckd supply t th Whtlm gvrnmnt n 15 ctbr 1975, nd ushrd n th `Cnsttutnl Crss', ll sctns f th ustrln cmmunty wr gg wth spcultn s t wht ws gng t hppn, nd th Lft ws crtnly n xcptn. nd md th spcultn, mny sctns f th wrkng clss bgn t tk drct ctn n prtst gnst rsr's bd fr pwr. Twnty-fur hur stppgs by whrfs thrughut th cuntry, strks n mr thn 30 mtl shps n Mlburn, stp wrks by 7,000 buldng nd fctry wrkrs n dld, brwry nd rlwy wrkrs n Prth, PMG lnsmn n Nwcstl, tug crws n bth Mlburn nd Nwcstl - ll n pr-txt gnst th blckng f supply, qut n mprssv lst. nd thr wr mss prtst rlls n ll cts, th n n Mlburn rchng s mny s 20,000. Sm sctns f th cnsrvtv prss bgn syng tht t my b mpssbl fr Frsr t gvrn wth `ny msur f cprtn frm th unns'. S th SWG ldrshp thught tht, n th fc f ths mltnt ctn by sctns f th wrkng clss, th rulng clss nd cnsquntly Frsr wr n rtrt. bv pctur f th Mlburn mss rlly nd lst f th vrus stppgs. Th Bttlr dclrd:

THS S HW W STPPD FRSR
Whch prvd t b vry mbrrssng hdln. Thr dys ltr, Krr sckd Whtlm!
Hwvr, wpng th gg frm thr fcs, th SWG ldrshp quckly cmpsd tslf nd ctd n rmrkbly rpd nd pstv fshn, gvn thr smwht mzng `fux ps'. ftr numbr f SWG mmbrs hd ttndd th spntnus dmnstrtns n th cty nd t th Lbrl Prty hdqurtrs n th ftrnn Whtlm ws sckd, gnrl mtng f ll mmbrs ws rpdly cnvnd tht vnng. nd th SWG ldrs cm frwrd wth pstv pln f ctn. Frtuntly, nt mny cps f th mbrrssng Bttlr hd, s yt, bn sld. t wuld b wthdrwn, nd nw dtn prntd, hpfully n tm fr th gnrl 4 hur stppg nd mss prtst rlly t b hld n Mlburn thr dys ltr. By wrkng vrnght tht sm vnng, Ndl nd th ldrshp prducd nthr Bttlr rdy t b snt ff t th prntr th nxt dy. Lyut f Th Bttlr nrmlly tk wk r mr. Th rmrkbl ft f prducng nw dtn vrnght, ws dn by clvrly r-rrngng pgs f th prvus dtn, s tht th ffndng mtrl rltng t `Frsr's dft' (but 4 pgs) ws lmntd wth nly mnmum f r-lyut nd r-wrtng ndng t b dn. Th frnt pg f th scnd dtn f Bttlr n. 12, rdy s plnnd fr th gnrl stppg nd mss rlly, crtnly hd dffrnt lk but t:
Whtlm hd th vts, th Cnsttutn nd publc supprt. Frsr hd th bsss nd th Gvrnr-Gnrl h wn. S much fr dmcrcy n Prlmnt. Dfnd yurslf wth dmcrcy n th jb. STRK T STP FRSR.
nd ths ws th cntrl dmnd whch SWG nd th WL gttd fr n th nsung lctn cmpgn: ntnl gnrl strk untl Whtlm ws rnsttd. t frst ths pprd t b rlsbl dmnd; mny mltnt wrkshps nd lft-wng unnsts wr clmurng fr t, nd th wrkng clss ws hghly mblsd wth mss dmnstrtns numbrng 50,000 nd mr. Th mv fr gnrl strk ws vntully dffusd by cnsrvtv lbr ldrs rgung tht mss ndustrl ctn wuld dstry Lbr's chncs n th lctns. t ws cmmnly hld vw wthn SWG t th tm, tht gnrl strk wuld mprv Lbr's chncs n th lctns - such mssv, untd nd ggrssv ctn by th wrkng clss wuld ntmdt swngng vtrs t vt Lbr. Wth th dffusn f th gnrl strk mvmnt, ths vw ws nt put t th tst. Th lctns, hwvr, wr nt th mn ssu fr sclsts. Th vry tnuus nd prctclly mnnglss `dmcrcy' f Prlmnt hd bn grphclly xpsd by Krr's ctn. s Th Bttlr sd, `dfnd yurslf wth dmcrcy n th jb. ` Thr ws fundmntl sclst prncpl bng nvkd hr. Sclsm cn nly b cnstructd, nd wrkrs' ntrsts cn nly b mnngfully dfndd undr cptlsm, by th nttv nd drct, prtcptry dmcrcy f th wrkng clss tslf. Mss ndustrl ctn nd rlls r cntrl spct f rl wrkrs' dmcrcy. rsr's snstr rmvl f gvrnmnt supprtd by wrkng clss vts, nd hs nt-unn prpsls such s th ndustrl Rltns Buru (RB), wr drct ttck n wrkrs. Nw s nt th tm, sd Th Bttlr, t `kp clm'. Rthr t ws th tm t b `NGRY, MLTNT, ND UNTD' nd t `FGHT BCK':
W fc grv thrt. Frsr wnts t ttck unn rghts. H wnts t undrmn ur blty t strk. H wnts t prtct scbs, nd h wnts spcl plc frc (RB) t d t. Th lst thng w cn f-^r/ +00(0 !s xrcs `rstrnt' nd turn th thr chk. W dd tht bfr nd th Lbrls nd thr Gvrnr Gnrl trd t kck ur fcs n!
W hv t rgns ctn t dfnd urslvs. W cnnt rly n nyn t d t fr us. Th Lbr Prty crtnly cn't; th ruls r stckd gnst t.
W nd gnrl strk t smsh Frsr. f th CTU wn't rgns t, w'll hv t buld t frm th rnk nd fl urslvs.

nd mr mprtnt thn th rl f `swngng vtrs' ws th pssblty f th rulng clss tslf bng ntmdtd. Th ndustrl ctn prr t Whtlm's dsmssl my nt hv bn suffcnt t stp th bsss nd thr rprsnttvs, but n ndfnt gnrl strk wuld hv th ptntl t wn rnsttmnt f th Lbr gvrnmnt prr t th lctns:

w hv t mk th bsss rls tht th cst f Lbrl vctry wll b t hgh. W nd n ll-ut ndustrl cmpgn t shut ths cuntry dwn untl Frsr gs.

nd s Th Bttlr, n n ttmpt t b n rgnsr f struggl, urgd `vry rnk nd fl unnst' t rs th dmnd fr gnrl strk n thr wrkplcs, n thr unns, nd t th mss rlls.

ftr th mvmnt fr gnrl strk hd bn dffusd nd dftd. Th Bttlr, urgng vt fr Lbr, hd n ncsv pnt t mk wth rgrd t th lctns:

f Frsr s lctd, t wll mn tht th Snt gt wy wth blckng supply nd Krr gt wy wth sckng n lctd gvrnmnt. t wll mn tht n mttr hw mny tms w lct th Gvrnmnt f ur chc, w cn n lngr rly n t tkng ffc. f tht hppns, w | my stll hv lctns whr w wrt numbrs n pc f ppr, but thy wll hv n mr mnng thn th lctns n cuntrs lk Spn nd Russ, whr th rsults r knwn bfr th lctn.

Th mn rsult f Frsr bng lctd wuld b n utrght ttck n th wrkng clss thrugh nt-unn lws nd ncrsd unmplymnt. nd th mplctn f Frsr vctry wuld b th swpng wy f th n tnuus vstg f dmcrcy n th cuntry.

Th prd f mss wrkng clss dmnstrtns durng th 1975 lctn cmpgn ws n f ntns ctvty fr ll th Lftj, nd SWG ws crtnly n xcptn. Rlly ftr rlly ws ttndd wth mmbrs wvng bnnrs nd plcrds dmndng gnrl strk. Th Bttlr sld lk `wldfr'. t th rlly f 50,000 ppl n Mlburn n 14 Nvmbr, vr 600 cps wr sld nd mr thn $100 cllctd n dntns. Ths ddn't mn suddn mss supprt fr SWG. ll lft-wng grups xprncd smlr phnmnl upswngs n thr ppulrty. Wht t dd rflct ws th ngr nd cnfusn f Lbr supprtrs - thy'd buy lmst nythng `lft-lkng' nd thy wuldn't gv yu 10 cnts fr cpy, thy'd thrw yu dllr, r tw dllrs, r mr. Hundrds f SWG-prducd bdgs wth th mn SWG slgn `STRK FRSR UT' wr ls sld. Th grup prbbly dd nt nflunc nybdy t g n strk, but t dd ttmpt t rgns, thrugh t's wrkng clss cntcts, n-th-jb mtngs wth ths vw n mnd. t lrg slughtrng wrks, mt-wrkrs wr ddrssd n thr cntn by Grffths, Stn nd Ry (rcntly rrvd n Mlburn t ttnd th cmng Rgrupmnt cnfrnc). Mny tk lvly ntrst n Th Bttlr nd svrl dntns wr cllctd. nthr dvlpmnt durng ths prd f hypr-ctvty ws th dsslutn f SWG's thr brnchs. s fcus fr rgnsng, rcrutmnt, nd gnrl `cm-rds-cm-rlly', wkly gnrl mtngs wr hld n th SWG Cntr t whch much ffrt ws put nt mblsng th ttndnc f th grup's prphry, but 30 t 40 ppl gnrlly turnng up. numbr f ndvduls jnd SWG durng ths prd.

Th znth f SWG's cmpgn, n trms f ntrvntn, ccurrd t th bg 50,000-strng rlly n Mlburn n Nvmbr 14. ftr lstnng t cupl f hurs f lng-wndd spchs frm Lbr ldrs nd `rdcls' lk th CP's Jhn Hlfpnny but th Krr Cup bng blw t dmcrcy (whch vrybdy knw), th ngry crwd ws tld by ths `mltnt ldrs' t dsprs nd g hm. But n ngry crwd wnts ctn. Wht ws ndd n stutn lk ths, ws fr n rgnsd grup t prvd ldrshp - prpsls fr ctn thrugh whch th crwd's ngr culd b fcussd nd xprssd. Th Lbr nd CP `ldrs', scrd f rnk nd fl nttv, lft vcuum f ldrshp; rthr thn gng hm, mst f th crwd mlld rund n th Trsury Grdns nt knwng wht t d nxt. nly tw grups ttmptd t prvd th ncssry ldrshp. Frstly, th Msts urgd th crwd, s thy dd t vry sngl dmnstrtn (n mttr wht th ssu) t mrch n th US cnsult. Ths prvd sngulrly npprprt, hrdly ny f th crwd mvng t fllw th Msts.

SWG ldrs, n rpd cnsulttn wth ch thr, cm up wth th nswr. Grffths gt mgphn nd urgd th crwd t mrch n th Stck xchng. Grffths ws nw n hs `lmnt'. t ws h, tw yrs bfr, wh hd, fr nd bv nybdy ls, strrd nsurnc clrks nt ctn n th qul py cmpgn, rsultng n th frst strk n thr unn's hstry. Nw, th ntur f th prpsl t mrch n th Stck xchng, cupld wth Grffths' gttnl skll, ws ll tht ws ndd. Suddnly th lttl bnd f `SWG-gs' fund thmslvs t th hd f n ngry crwd f 15,000 ppl, surgng dwn Cllns Strt twrds th Stck xchng. Th plc must hv bn lrtd vry quckly. hundrd r mr f thm wr wtng. Th crwd dd nt mk ts bjctv - th Stck xchng's Trdng Flr. But tht mrch prvdd vry usful functn nd md th pprprt nd ssntl pltcl pnt. t prvdd fcus fr th crwd's ngr - tht fcus bng th vry symbl nd bstn f cptlsm: th Stck xchng.

t ws bvus frm th rspns f ths n th mrch, tht thy blvd th cptlst rulng clss wr th cus f th crss. But ltnt blfs bcm mnngful nd mprntd n ppl's cnscusnss whn thy r trnsltd nt ctn - ppl lrn thrugh th prcss f struggl. Mny mltnts wuld hv gn wy frm tht cnfrnttn t th Stck xchng wth clrr vw f whr t fcus thr gttn n th futur. t's wrth ntng tht S hs bn succssful n mblsng furthr dmnstrtns t Stck xchngs. ftr Frsr brught dwn hs vcus nt-wrkng-clss budgt n ugust 1978, S ld crwd f 2000 t th Stck xchng n Mlburn, nd crwd f 1000 t th Stck xchng n Sydny.

t wuld b wrng t suggst tht th C ws nt nvlvd n th Krr Cup (th mprt f th Mst prpsl t mrch n th US Cnsult) - thy my wll hv bn. But th C r nly gnts f systm - n ntrlckng ntwrk f cptl mbrcng bth th multntnls nd th ustrln bsss. Th dmnd t mrch n th Stck xchng nt nly md th crucl pltcl pnt f cnfrntng th mn nmy, but ls prvd t b th ssu n whch th crwd culd b mblsd.

t wuld b nccurt t suggst tht SWG hd mss nflunc n th 1975 lctn cmpgn. Fw f ths ppl n th stck xchng mrch wuld hv knwn wh SWG ws, r, ndd, tht thy wr bng ld by smll grup f sclsts. Th sgnfcnc f th mrch ws twfld. t rvld th grup's cpcty t ntrvn ffctvly nd prvd ldrshp n mss-mltnt stutns. nd t hs bn, t dt, n f th mst succssful - thugh mmntry - cts f ntrvntn by th grup n ts hstry.

Fundtn f th ntrntnl Sclsts

md ll th cmmtn f th lctn cmpgn, th Rgrupmnt Cnfrnc wnt hd s schduld. n 6 Dcmbr 1975, cllctn f but 40 sclsts nd rdcls gthrd n mtng rm n Mlburn Unvrsty's Unn buldng. Thy ncludd 5 WL mmbrs frm Hbrt, 4 r 5 ppl frm Cnbrr, nd th rmndr wr frm Mlburn, mst f whm wr SWG mmbrs but nt ll.

Dscussn thrughut th dy ws rltd mnly t wht ws cnsdrd s th mmdt strtgy fr nw `rgrupd' rgnztn: th buldng, n th bss f mltnt sclst pltcs, f rnk nd fl grups n wrkplcs nd unns nd frm ths crss-ndustry rnk nd fl mvmnt whch, vntully nd hpfully, wuld ld t th frmtn f rvlutnry sclst prty. ssntlly, ths ws SWG's Rnk nd Fl strtgy, wth sm vlubl cntrbutns cmng frm Ry nd th WL. Nt surprsngly, thr ws gnrl cnsnsus fr th strtgy. Rsrvtns wr, hwvr, xprssd by th Cnbrr grup, whch pprd t fll nt thr mn ctgrs. Frstly, lthugh Lckwd nd hs cmrds rcgnsd th nd fr sclsts t rnt t th wrkng clss, thy wr pprhnsv tht th prpsd strtgy mght rsult n studnts pprchng wrkrs n hvy-hndd mnnr nd `tllng thm wht t d. ` Scndly, th Cnbrr ppl wr cncrnd but th SWG/WL cmmtmnt t th nd fr ndpndnt prgrssv mvmnts fghtng sxul/rcl pprssn (Wmn's Lbrtn, Blck Lbrtn, Gy Lbrtn). nd lstly, thy pprd t hv dubts but th sutblty t ustrln cndtns f th `mprtd' S prgrmm f SWG nd th WL. Dspt ssurncs t th cntrry frm SWG spkrs, th Cnbrr grup rtnd thr rsrvtns. Twrds th cls f th sssn, dcumnts frm SWG/WL, rltng prmrly t th Rnk nd Fl strtgy, wr dptd by th cnfrnc s th bss fr nw rgnztn, thr bng numbr f bstntns nd pssbly n r tw vts gnst.

ppr ws thn pssd rund fr ths t sgn wh wshd t jn th nw rgnztn. Ths ppr ws sgnd by 32 ppl, ncludng ll SWG mmbrs prsnt (but 23 r 24) Ry nd 3 thr WL mmbrs, nd numbr f ndvduls frm Mlburn wh hd nt prvusly bn mmbrs f SWG. Ths dclnng t jn wr ll th Cnbrr grup, n WL mmbr (wh grd wth th prpsls but ws gng vrss sn ftr nd thrfr ddn't thnk t wrthwhl) plus fw f th nn-SWG ppl frm Mlburn. Th 32 sgntrs wr nw tchnclly mmbrs f nw rgnztn nd, by mplctn, SWG nd th WL n lngr xstd. ny SWG/WL mmbrs nt prsnt wr nt gvn utmtc mmbrshp - thy wuld nd t pply f thy wshd t jn. Mmbrs nly f th nw (nd s yt unnmd) rgnztn wr nvtd t th scnd dy f th cnfrnc.

Th fllwng dy th nw rgnztn cnvnd n th SWG Cntr. rly n th sssn, dntfctn f th grup s prt f th S tndncy ws cknwldgd. Thr nw cm th qustn f nm fr th nw rgnztn. Ths prvd t b rthr ntrstng dbt. Th frmr SWG ldrshp wr dvdd thr wys. 0'Lncln nd Stn prpsd th nm `Wrkrs' ctn', Grffths prpsd `Sclst Wrkrs' Mvmnt' nd Ndl cm up wth vry lng-wndd ttl whch rd smthng lk `Wrkrs Lgu fr Dmcrcy nd Sclsm'. ndd, t culd b sd tht th SWG ldrs wr dvdd fur wys, snc scndry-ldr Khn prpsd th nm shuld b thr `Mltnt Sclsts' r `Sclst Mltnts'. Rnk nd fl SWG mmbr Ptr . prpsd `ntrntnl Sclsts' nd ths ws strngly supprtd by WL ldr Ry.

Snc th grup ws dntfyng wth th S tndncy, ths lst nm wuld hv pprd th mst lgcl t dpt. S why thn wr th ld SWG ldrshp ppsd t t? 0'Lncln nd Stn rgud th mphss n th nm shuld b n th wrd `ctn', t hlp dffrntt t frm thr lttl sclst grups rund whch tndd t b sctrn `tlkng shps'. Snc th nw nm shuld ls b shrt, `ctn' wuld b t dffcult t nclud wth `ntrntnl Sclsts'. Grffths rgud th mphss shuld b n `mvmnt' snc ths wuld mk t sund lss lk smll sct. ftr ll, th grup ws tryng t buld mvmnt, rrspctv f whthr r nt t rcrutd drctly t ts wn rgnztn (ssumng, f curs, t wuld b ttmptng drct rcrutmnt s much s pssbl). f th ld SWG ldrs, Ndl hd th mst xplct rtnl fr hs prpsl. H dmttd hs prpsl ws rdculusly lng nd thrfr smwht slly sundng. But thr ws mthd n hs mdnss. Snc th nm ws s lng, rgud Ndl, ppl wuld tnd t gnr t, nd th grup wuld bcm knwn, ftr ts ppr, s `Th Bttlr grup'. (t ws gnrlly ssumd tht th nw rgnztn wuld tk vr Th Bttlr, rtnng ts nm.) Snc Th Bttlr ws t b th mn vhcl thrugh whch th rgnztn ws ttmptng t buld tslf, ths wuld b mst dsrbl utcm. n thr wrds, sd Ndl, h wntd th grup t chs `nn-nm' - mr frmlty, dsgnd t mphsz th ppr rthr thn th rgnztn. Nnthlss, n th xhustv bllt tht fllwd, Ndl's prpsl ws quckly lmntd (nly Ndl vtng fr t), sn t b fllwd by Grffths' prpsl (`Sclst Wrkrs' Mvmnt' - but 5 vts) nd Khn's (`Mltnt Sclsts' - but 8 r 10 vts). lthugh th 0'Lncln-Stn prpsl f `Wrkrs' ctn' plld strngly, `ntrntnl Sclsts' wn by substntl mjrty. S tw yrs ftr SWG hd bcm ffctvly n S grup, th ntrntnl Sclsts wr `brn' n ustrl, n nm s wll s rgnztn.

Th rmndr f th fundng S Cnfrnc ws dvtd lrgly t mr dtld prspctv fr th cmng yr. Ths nvlvd 3 ky prpsls. Frstly, t ws plnnd tht Th Bttlr shuld bgn frtnghtly publctn n rly 1976, th tnttv trgt bng smtm n th utumn. Scndly, th grup plnnd t buld ntnl rgnztn. Tchnclly, thr wr lrdy brnchs n tw stts. But Hbrt ws nvr frmlly dclrd s brnch, snc t ws ntcptd tht th fur x-WL mmbrs, nw S mmbrs, wuld b mvng t Mlburn rly n th nw yr. Thr f thm wr studnts wh, by chc, wshd t cntnu thr studs n Mlburn rthr thn Hbrt. nd th furth Hbrt mmbr ls wshd t mv t Mlburn fr prsnl rsns. Pltcl cnsdrtns, nd prhps ncurgmnt frm th frmr SWG ldrshp, my hv nfluncd ths dcsn t mv t Mlburn. Th buldng f Hbrt brnch ws gnrlly cnsdrd t b lw prrty - stblshng brnch n Sydny ws much mr mprtnt. nd snc SWG hd nvr bn bl t rcrut drctly ts fw Sydny cntcts, t ws dcdd tht th nw S wuld hv t `clns' tht cty - tht s, th rgnztn wuld cll fr fw vluntrs t mv t Sydny nd frm th nuclus f brnch thr. Th pln ws tht but hlf dzn mmbrs wuld hpfully g t Sydny but Fbrury r Mrch. n ths cntxt, th ntcptd mv f Hbrt mmbrs t Mlburn ws sn t b dsrbl, t lst n n rspct: lthugh t mght mn n Hbrt brnch, ths mv wuld hlp fll th `gps' lft by ths gng t Sydny. f curs, t ws hpd tht bfr th Hbrt mmbrs mvd t Mlburn, thy mght b bl t lv bhnd thm n mbrync brnch, thr by drctly rcrutng cupl f frmr WL cntcts, r by t lst rgnsng mngst ths cntcts Bttlr dstrbutn ntwrk.

Th thrd mmdt pln dptd t th Cnfrnc, ws plcy whch bcm knwn s `ndustrlstn'. Th cntrl d ws t buld S nflunc n ndustry by ncurgng x-studnt mmbrs t gt jbs n blu-cllr rs. nd th mtls/ngnrng ndustry ws t b prrty n ths plcy. f frmr studnts dd dcd t gt blu-cllr jbs (nd th dcsn ws thrs - th plcy ws n f strng ncurgmnt, nt cmpulsn), thy wuld b furthr ncurgd t gt jbs n th mtls ndustry, prtculrly ths cvrd by th MFSU. Thr wr numbr f rsns fr chsng th MFSU. t ws n f th 2 r 3 blu-cllr unns n whch th grup hd mnngful cntct wth numbr f wrkr-mltnts. t ws nt nly ustrl's lrgst unn, but ls n f th mst mltnt nd pltcl. mprvmnts wn n th mtl-wrkrs' wrd ftn flwd n t thr ndustrs. Th nnul mtlwrkrs' clm ws, thrfr, n f th mst mprtnt rgulr wrkng clss struggls. nd lst, but nt lst, t ws th unn n whch th CP hd ts strngst nflunc. f S ws t buld rvlutnry mvmnt n ustrl, t wuld nd t wn mltnt wrkrs wy frm th CP. t ws cnsdrd tht ths wuld b lng nd rduus tsk -mst S mmbrs, ncludng th ldrshp, wr cutly wr f thr nxprnc (n cmprsn wth th CP) n ndustrl mttrs. But t ws hpd tht, by stblshng smll but wll-rgnsd prsnc n th CP's bstn xprnc n ndustrl gttn wuld b furthr dvlpd, nd th bss ld fr th futur struggl. nd prrty ndustry ws ls cnsdrd dsrbl frm th pnt f vw f th grup's mgr rsurcs - ttmptng cncrtd wrk n numbr f ndustrs wuld sprd rsurcs t thnly, nd cnsquntly b lss ffctul thn cncntrtng n n ndustry.

Ths plcy f th mtls-ndustry/MPSU bng prrty r f wrk fr S ws nt mnt t xclud thr ctvts. t ws nvsgd tht th grup wuld cntnu t wrk n thr rs whr pprtunts rs - such s thr ndustrs whr vlubl cntcts wr md (g mtwrkrs),cmpuss, th wmn's mvmnt, tchrs, th currntly dvlpng mvmnt gnst th ndnsn nvsn f st Tmr.

Wht `prrty' fr th mtls ndustry dd mn, ws tht gnrlly th grup's rsurcs wuld b put t th dspsl f wrk n tht r, n prcdnc t wrk n thr rs. nd t mnt tht f x-studnts wr t gt blu-cllr jbs, thy shuld try ntlly t gt thm n th mtl ndustry. t ws hpd tht f thr wrk stutn ws suffcntly mltnt r cnducv t gttn, ths x-studnts wuld ttmpt t buld rnk nd fl grups n thr wrkplcs nd lnk thm wth brdr rnk nd fl grupng wthn th MFSU. Wth ths vw n mnd, th crdblty f Rnk nd Fl Mttl wuld hpfully b nhncd by chngng ts ttl t Rnk nd Fl Mtl, nd ls by nw hvng t prfssnlly prntd, rthr thn bng run ff n duplctr.

nthr mmdt pln, lrdy st n mtn by SWG nd ndrsd by th Cnfrnc, ws t rgns spkng tur n ustrl by ldng mmbr f SGB. Th spkr chsn by rrngmnt wth SGB, ws Ngl Hrrs, wh ws nt nly wll knwn n lftwng crcls but hd wrld wd rputtn n cdm. Hrrs s ntd uthrty n th prblms nd pltcs f undrdvlpmnt, prtculrly n sn cuntrs. Hs mny bks nd rtcls n Chn nd nd, lthugh wrttn frm rvlutnry vwpnt, r schlrly wrks whch hv rcvd wd cclm. Fr ths rsn, t ws rltvly sy fr ustrln S t rgns numbr f ffcl gust lcturs by Hrrs t vrus unvrsts, whr h ws pd f by th cmpus dmnstrtn. Th prpsd Hrrs tur ws sn by S n cnjunctn wth buldng ntnl rgnztn. Wth Hrrs spkng n numbr f cts whr th grup hd cntcts, t ws hpd sm ppl wuld b suffcntly mprssd by hm t jn S, nd thrfr frm th nuclus f nw brnchs. Whl xpcttns wr nt t grnds, t ws blvd tht Hrrs spkng n Sydny wuld b prtculrly usful n lunchng th nw brnch thr. Fr ths rsn, t ws plnnd tht sm mmbrs shuld mv t Sydny prr t, nd n prprtn fr, Hrrs' rrvl thr but lt Mrch r rly prl.

Th mn dscussns t th fundng S Cnfrnc wr dvtd t ths prspctvs nd plns fr mmdt strtgy. Whr mr bsc pltcl pstns wr nt dptd, t ws ndrsd by Cnfrnc tht frmr bsc dcumnts f SWG wuld bcm S plcy untl th nw rgnztn chs, f t wshd, t chng thm n th futur. Th nly thr mprtnt dcsn md t Cnfrnc ws th dptn f structur fr th nw rgnztn. Wth mdfctns, dsgnd t mr spcfclly cp wth ntnl rgnztn, th structurl/cndtns-f-mmbrshp dcumnt dptd by SWG th prvus July ws nw ndrsd by S. Th frmr SWG Pltcl Cmmtt ws rplcd by Ntnl xcutv (N) nd lrgr Ntnl Cmmtt (NC) wuld b cmprsd f rprsnttvs frm th vrus brnchs. Cnfrnc wuld b th Suprm dcsn-mkng bdy nd wuld mt n n pprxmt nnul bss. Untl th rgnztn ws cnsdrbly lrgr, cnfrnc wuld nt b dlgtd bdy - ll mmbrs culd ttnd wth qul vtng nd spkng rghts. n btwn Cnfrncs, th suprm dcsn-mkng bdy wuld b th NC, mtng t rughly 8 wkly ntrvls. n btwn NC mtngs, th suprm bdy wuld b th N, whch ws rspnsbl fr th dy-t-dy runnng f th rgnztn, nd xpctd t mt n wkly bss. Thus th N ws rspnsbl t th NC, nd th NC ws rspnsbl t Cnfrnc. Th NC nd th N wuld mk dcsns wthn th gudlns f Cnfrnc plcy.

n ntrstng `twst' ws prpsd, nd dptd, fr rprsnttn n th NC. Grffths, n mtn ndrsd by th frmr SWG PC, prpsd tht n th mmdt futur, ll brnchs shuld b gurntd rprsnttn n th NC. t ws dmttd tht ths ws nt n ccrd wth strct Lnnst/dmcrtc-cntrlst prncpls. n th lttr, ndvduls shuld b lctd t `scndry-ldrshp' bdy such s th NC, n th bss f thr pltcl blts, rrspctv f whch brnch thy cm frm. (Whch, n thry, mns ll brnchs r nt ncssrly rprsntd.) t ws rgud tht whl th grup ws gng thrugh th `tthng' prblms f stblshng ntnl rgnztn, cmmunctn btwn th brnchs nd th N wuld b prtculrly mprtnt, nd thrfr ll brnchs shuld b rprsntd n th NC (N mmbrs wr utmtclly mmbrs f th NC). Thr ws gnrl grmnt wth ths prpsl, nd t ws nvsgd tht smtm n th futur, whn brnchs wr wll stblshd, th NC wuld b lctd n mr dfnt pltcl bss. Th prpsl ws nt cmpltly fdrlst. lthugh th brnchs wr t b gurntd rprsnttn n th NC, thy wuld hv n pwr f drctn vr `thr' rprsnttvs. Nnthlss, thr ws twst f rny hr. Fv mnths rlr, Grffths hd vhmntly ttckd ltn's prpsd rgnstnl dcumnt fr bng `fdrlst' whn t wsn't, nly nw t b prpsng structur whch, by hs wn dmssn, hd fdrlst lmnts n t. Such r th vcsstuds f rvlutnry ldrshp.

Ntnl Cmmtt ws nt, hwvr, lctd t th fundng S Cnfrnc - s t wuld b t futur cnfrncs. t ths stg t ws unclr s t xctly whr S wuld hv brnchs n th mmdt futur. Whl th fur Hbrt cmrds wr mvng t Mlburn n th nw yr, t ws pssbl tht n mbrync brnch wuld b stblshd thr. Whl t ws lmst crtn tht brnch wuld b stblshd n Sydny, t ws pssbl tht th Hrrs tur wuld prcptt th frmtn f smll brnchs lswhr. S t ws dcdd tht th N wuld cll fr NC lctns, cnductd n brnch bss just ths nc, smtm n th utumn whn t ws clrr whr brnchs wuld b fr th mmdt futur. Th frst Ntnl xcutv ws, hwvr, lctd t ths cnfrnc. t cnsstd f Ndl, Ry, Grffths nd 0'Lncln. f Ry wsn't th yungst mmbr f th grup, h ws crtnly cls t t, bng 19 yrs ld t th tm. Th gs f th thr N mmbrs wr: Ndl 29, 0'Lncln 28, nd Grffths but 24. (Thr wr t lst thr mmbrs f th grup t th tm wh wr ldr thn Ndl - n bng but 40.) Mst f th thrs wr n thr md r rly 20's,) Prtly s rcgntn f Ry's pltcl blts, but ls s n ttmpt t gv th x-WL mmbrs th mprssn tht gnun fusn hd tkn plc, th frmr SWG ldrs rcmmndd tht Ry b ppntd s Ntnl rgnsr. n thry, ths mnt Ry ws th chf xcutv `ffcr'; Ndl ws r-ffrmd s Bttlr dtr. Bth th dtr nd th Ntnl rgnsr wr rspnsbl t th N.

Th qus-mnpultv `dplmcy' f th frmr SWG ldrs n nmntng Ry fr Ntnl rgnsr rss n ntrstng spct f th Cnfrnc nd th frmtn f th nw rgnztn, Th Cnfrnc hd bn lblld nd rgnsd s `Rgrupmnt' n th lft. `Rgrupmnt' ws ntndd t mn fusn f rgnstns, rthr thn SWG mrly rcrutng fw ppl nd chngng ts nm. Yt th utcm f th Cnfrnc ws much clsr t th lttr. Th nly ppl frm nthr rgnztn wh jnd th `nw' S wr th fur x-WL mmbrs (n f whm ws SWG `mplnt'). nd lthugh th WL hd bn structurlly ndpndnt f SWG, ts S pltcs nd ts cls cllbrtn wth SWG n th lttr mnths f 1975 (g. sllng Th Bttlr) mnt tht t ws lrdy, n sm rspcts, n xtnsn f SWG. Ths ds nt mn, hwvr, tht t wsn't gnun rgrupmnt cnfrnc. Th MRM-Lnk grupng hd bn nvtd t th cnfrnc, thugh thy chs nt t ttnd. (f thy hd ttndd, thy wuld hv bn ccrdd qul spkng nd vtng rghts.) nd th prsnc f th Cnbrr grup wh dd nt, t ths tm, dntfy thmslvs s n S grup, mnt thr wr `tndncs' ndpndnt f n nthr rprsntd. Thr s, thrfr, dstnctn btwn th rgrupmnt `ntur' f th Cnfrnc nd f th nw rgnztn. Bcus th Cnbrr grup chs nt t jn, gnun Rgrupmnt Cnfrnc rsultd n n `un-rgrupd' rgnztn.

Thr s, hwvr, squl t th Rgrupmnt qustn. n Sptmbr 1976, Lckwd nd thr f hs cmrds jnd S s grup, whch ws th bgnnng f th Cnbrr brnch. S f culd b sd, prhps, tht rgrupmnt ws ffctd n th lng trm.

Rtrspct

Whn th curtn lwrd n th Sclst Wrkrs' ctn Grup n Dcmbr 1975, t ws fur yrs snc th ld MWG hd frst mt n Dcmbr 1971. Gugd n numrcl trms, thr ws n spctculr grwth f th grup. Tn ppl ttndd th frst MWG mtng, thrty-tw jnd t th fundng S Cnfrnc. nd tht lttr fgur s prbbly n grtr thn th MWG t ts pk n th utumn f 1972. Nthr s th prprtnl grwth f rund 300% mprssv whn cmmntng n such smll fgurs. ndd, th vry xstnc f SWG pprs unmprssv whn n cnsdrs, tht t nvr hd mr thn but thrty mmbrs.

Nnthlss, thr ws qulttv dvlpmnt n th fur yrs f MWG/ SWG hstry, whch gv ths tny grup cnsdrbl prspcts fr th futur. Whn th MWG frst gthrd tgthr n ths rly mnths f 1972, t ws mtly grup f studnts nd x-studnts, wth sprnklng f wrkrs - nn f whm hd vry clr d f wht thy wr `n but'. ll wntd sclsm, but wht ws tht? nd hw ds such tny grup g but wnnng t? Wth th xcptn f Ndl, fw hd much xprnc s ctvsts. Th n cmmn vw n th rly MWG ws tht ll rcgnsd th cntrlty f th wrkng clss n buldng sclsm. nd mst wr prbbly ntrntnlsts but nt ncssrly ll. Th lck f dtld thry cupld wth th grup's lck f xprnc mnt tht t hd lng wy t g. t s nt n sy tsk fr tny grup f dlstclly mtvtd but smwht nv studnts t wn crdblty wth wrkrs. Mny qulttv chngs ndd t ccur f th grup ws t bcm srus ldr f ptntl rvlutnry mvmnt.

Thr wr numbr f turnng pnts whch wr sgnfcnt. Th dprtur f th nrchsts nd th rcst-sxsts gv th grup grtr chsn, whl th ntrvntn nd ldrshp f th Rd nc fctn ddd t furthr `hrdnng up' prcss. n f th mst dstnctv qults f th grup frm but md-1972 hs bn ts hghly ctvst rnttn. Fw mmbrs knw hw t mbls ppl, but th mjrty f th grup lwys hd th dtrmntn t g ut nd try. Mst f th rly wrk ws vry clumsy, nd pprd t hv lttl r n ffct. Brdsht ftr brdsht wuld b prducd wth n cncrt rsults. But thr ws cumultv ffct f ths ctvts - cnstnt ntrctn wth mltnts n th rs n whch th grup ws wrkng, rstrctd t frst t studnts nd tchrs/wht-cllr wrkrs, grdully prvdd vlubl gttnl xprnc. Th bgnnngs f Clrk nd Dggr n lt 1972 mrkd th frst cncrtd nd, s t turnd ut, sustnd ffrt t mbls ppl utsd th studnt/tchr ntllctul mlu. Ths ffrt ld t th ltr ttmpts t frm rnk nd fl grups n wht-cllr ndustry, f whch th Mltnt nsurnc Clrks ws th mst sgnfcnt. MC's mblstn f th qul py cmpgn n lt 1973 ws nt nly n f th mst sgnfcnt cts f ntrvntn by SWG, but ws ls t prvd vlubl frsthnd xprnc n th mnpultv tchnqus mplyd by trd unn ffcls, nd hw t mbls wrkrs n spt f thm. Ths dd nt mn SWG culd suddnly rpt ths lswhr, but t dd cntrbut t th grup's dvlpmnt. Th grdul dptn f S pltcs ws ls n mprtnt qulttv chng: t prvdd frm gudln fr ctn whl lvng nugh flxblty t dpt t prtculr stutns. S pltcs ls brught grtr sns f unty nd purps, nd hlpd t lssn th flng f sltn - `bg brthr' cmrds n th US, nd prtculrly n Brtn, wr ldng th wy.


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