RAM: Residents Action Movement 2009 national conference M I N U T E S
by GRANT MORGAN 26 RAM activists from five regions (Northland, Auckland, central North Island, Wellington and Christchurch) attended the RAM National Conference in Auckland on 7 March 2009. Apologies were received from many other RAM activists. The discussions at conference fed into a focused consensus on most if not all issues, as these minutes reveal. INTRODUCTION FROM CHAIR RAM chair Grant Morgan welcomed conference participants. He repeated his intention (first announced two months before) to retire as RAM chair at the conclusion of conference, and also step down from the RAM Secretariat, in order to promote young blood. In the chair's introduction, Grant said the global economic slump, now lapping the shores of New Zealand, is only the third Combo Crisis in capitalism's history. The others were the Long Depression (1873-95) and the Great Depression (1929-41). Unlike more regular but more mild cyclical downturns, a Combo Crisis involves the implosion of most or all economic sectors on a global scale for a prolonged period. Going by the history of the two previous Combo Crises, the world (including New Zealand) is now facing:
- An extended period of economic depression likely to last anywhere from three to 12 years which will go through distinct stages.
- A tidal wave of job losses and wage cuts as bosses make workers pay for capitalism's crisis.
- A tsunami of house evictions and other social miseries which engulf sections of the middle class as well as the working class.
- Growing trends towards trade wars and shooting wars, intersecting with a climate crisis that threatens life on Earth.
- Epic upheavals in economics, ecology, governments, institutions and ideologies which will mean that nothing remains the same.
- Experiment with different approaches to the grassroots.
- Learn from the mistakes of ourselves and others.
- Leaflets which combine education with concrete proposals.
- Conduct a two-way dialogue with the grassroots.
- Transmit a genuine sense of excitement.
- A representative governance body dealing with strategy and other big picture issues.
- A compact management body dealing with tactics and other day-to-day issues.
- A 17-person slate proposed by Grant Morgan.
- An 11-person slate proposed by Daphne Lawless, Oliver Woods and Elliott Blade.
- A 15-person slate proposed by Bronwen Beechey.
RAM COUNCIL MEETING Conference was followed by a meeting of the RAM Council. After discussion among the RAM Council about other leadership roles, Grant Morgan proposed: RAM chair to be Grant Brookes. RAM vice-chair to be Elliott Blade. RAM Secretariat to comprise these four people (in alphabetical order): Elliott Blade Grant Brookes Daphne Lawless Oliver Woods Grant M's motion was passed unanimously by the RAM Council. The Council also elected RAM activists to fill these roles: Kaumatua Publicity Committee Union Committee Community liaison Ecology liaison Treasurer Finance officer RAM trustees