This summer, we’ve been travelling around the country with a series of activist meetings: Remain, Reform, Revolt. In preparation for a general election or referendum, we discussed our key arguments and the strategy we need to defeat Brexit.
Below are some reports of meetings so far – and we’re keen to get more organised. If you’d like a Remain, Reform, Revolt meeting to happen in your local area, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
The tour opened with a big and vibrant meeting in London. Marina Prentoulis from our national committee spoke about the lessons learned from Syriza, what we mean by transforming Europe and how we can achieve it. Anti-racist campaigner Shaista Aziz talked about difficult conversations on the doorstep and the kind of campaign we need to win the next referendum. Then, in groups, we discussed the key messages that a left-wing Remain campaign must communicate, and made plans to go leafleting and canvassing in different parts of the city.
In Birmingham, despite the heatwave, activists gathered in the function room of 1000 Trades to discuss campaigning ideas and best arguments to defeat Brexit. Since the referendum, Birmingham has become a Remain backing constituency, so local councillors outlined their efforts to spread the message to the general public, while our own Marina Prentoulis warned against the dangers of remaining silent on migrants’ rights.
In Leeds, around 50 people gathered for an engaging discussion of our campaigning work so far and what we need to do next to bring more people with us. Joined by Labour MP Alex Sobel and Natalie Bennett from the Green Party, we also discussed what really “taking back control” would mean for the people of Yorkshire: devolution and stronger local democracy, as well as a green industrial strategy for the region.
Our meeting in Manchester, organised during the wave of Stop the Coup protests, tried to make sense of what was happening in parliament, in the streets and ahead of party conferences. Julie Ward MEP, councillor Shaista Aziz and writer Hilary Wainwright led a discussion and creative campaign planning sessions. Irish citizens participating in the workshop spoke about the continued erasure of their experiences in the Brexit debates, and how it can be addressed by our campaign.
Our meeting in Newcastle started with a powerful speech from local activist David Taylor-Gooby making comparisons with the situation in 1975. Ed Whitby from Unison spoke about free movement as a workers’ right and the role of socialist politics in the Remain movement. Chi Onwurah MP explained the situation in parliament, and our organiser Benj Eckford led the discussion on debunking Lexit narratives.
In Cambridge, the meeting was chaired by councillor Josh Lovell from nearby Stevenage, and we heard from the local Green MEP Catherine Rowett, economist Ann Pettifor and Cambridge University Students Union Disability Officer Jess O’Brien. We discussed the links between Brexit and the vital goal of addressing the climate emergency, as well as the threat that uncertainty around Brexit poses to disabled people’s rights.
The Nottingham event was an absolute success with well over 100 people attending. The theatre was packed, with participants joining all the way from Derby and beyond. The attendees found it useful to split into constituency groups and build networks. Speakers included John Maloney from PCS and journalist Paul Mason, as well as Nottingham activist Nadia Whittome and the co-chair of the Young Greens Liam McClelland.
Finally, on the weekend of September 14-15, we held two meetings in Chester and Kendal to engage with North West activists against austerity and Brexit. Our newest national committee member Julie Ward led group discussions and attendees are busy planning the next steps as a newly formed Another Europe North West group. Contact us if you’d like to join them.
The Remain, Reform, Revolt campaign continues. If you want to invite us to your city or town, email us with a suggested date, location and preferred speakers – and we will soon be in touch.
1st October 2019