On Jan 31st over 30 people responded to the invitation to meet other members. It was a great success with much lively discussion and we left wih hope that we can build on this.
This is a resume of the meeting…
After introductions, the meeting split into 6 groups to discuss the following topics. One person from each group reported back to the meeting.
Below are the questions and some of the responses.
Why are we 38 degrees members?
To have a voice; to make a difference, to sign petitions.
Because it’s democratic, non political (open to all).
It alerts you to issues that you may not have seen in the media and makes you feel part of a community that can affect change
What are the issues we care about? Prioritise the issues..
Topping the meeting’s issues were privatisation of the NHS, its clinical commissioning system and social care.
Followed by concern about TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, huge trade deals such as being negotiated in secret by unelected parties, then Environment and Fracking.
Some of the other issues raised were concerns about tax avoidance; austerity: inequality seen everywhere; frustration at not being listened to; the renewal of Trident costing £100 billion when jobs pay less than a living wage; concern for young people and their futures; public facilities like libraries being under threat as in the case in Craven; the education system moving schools out of local oversight; our bus and other services being decimated; the planning system and many more!
We did what 38degrees does continually…
The basic premise of 38degrees is to give people a voice.
Anyone can raise issues which are sorted by volunteers and staff and then put to the online community for comment.
If there is a strong response then they are highlighted
On a weekly basis these issues are sent out to a sample of the community to prioritise.
Once the issues are prioritised then it is about action.
A main issue is to communicate the problem…
publish information online, occasionally take adverts out in the paper, petition, email, tweet, leaflet and demonstrate
Next we looked at questions focussed on being part of a local group…
Advantages – It gives us an identity as a group on a personal and physical level.
It is social – proximity enables discussion within a community of like minded people.
It nurtures common purpose and shared values and direct involvement. As well as national and international issues we can also focus on local issues – planning, buses, library, availability of GP appointments.
To make the community aware of 38degrees. To shake the complacency of our local MP and to have our voice heard locally. To get more young people involved and reach non members.
To introduce debate and structure campaigns that can be relevant locally. To get local views aired through 38degrees. To support 38 degrees issues both national and international.
What do we want the group to do? – activities /actions /communications
Hold regular meetings both to plan and social and informative. Watch films, discuss, have fun – similar format to the W.I. 🙂
Write articles/letters for the local newspaper.
Plan, advertise and attend a debate with our local parliamentary candidates. Communicate well between members and groups
Would the ‘Bath 38 Degrees’ structure suit us?
*no central hierarchy; *people get together to support a cause & disappear into the 38D central woodwork until another action in which they want to become involved…they then volunteer *a few people do the thinking & planning, but those people change
On the whole I think people found this acceptable as a premise and the organisation should be informal.
Issues to be looked at…
funding; organisers: voluntary: rotas; places to meet.
Identifying skills and knowledge to optimise effectiveness.
We are here because when our voices join together it gives us a power for change. Instead of being one small voice muttering at a computer, signing emails,and petitions, writing letters to our MPs we become a large voice. The message gets across when action is synchronised – as happened in the TTIP demonstrations across Europe.
The Govt introduced ‘Gagging laws’ to stop 3rd party campaigns by massively restricting the amount of money, they can spend on campaigning a year before the election. This affected not only 38D but all the major charities. They put their heads together and responded in different ways
3rd party groups such as the doctors and nurses who were campaigning against the changes in the NHS were galvanised into forming a political party the NHA which has crowd funded at least 15 candidates.
Campaigns for us and Local Groups are 38D’s response. They are new and autonomous. They have given us the ability to start our own petitions.They have encouraged us to start our own groups – and have created web pages for us to communicate.
Access is now via the first tab on the 38degrees website – Campaigns for us