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A report on the Counterfire conference held in London on February 1st and 2nd

Counterfire conference - planning for 2014
Thanks to everyone who participated in Counterfire's national conference in London over the weekend. People came from sixteen city and university groups around the country, a big step up from last year. Individuals went away with plans to set up new groups.

The mood was upbeat. Delegates reported that the success of the People's Assembly almost everywhere has given the movement a lift and the beginnings of a strategy. The growing interest in socialist ideas has meant we have been able to set up new groups in a number of places.

The conference opened with a discussion of the crisis of the British regime and building Counterfire. There were sessions on trade union work and the student movement, the Dangerous Times Festival, Imperialism after the 'War on Terror', the Peoples' Assembly and the Counterfire website. A new slightly enlarged steering committee was elected.

People's Assembly: next steps
The central discussion concerned united front work. If we want to be relevant to the huge numbers who are under attack at present we have to show that we can do effective, practical activity. Having helped initiate the People's Assembly, we now need to focus it on co-ordinated action.

The two key dates here are the recall conference on March 15th, and the national demonstration against austerity on June 21st. This will be a breakthrough in that it is the first national anti-austerity demonstration that isn't organised by the TUC.

The People's Assembly and the anti-war movement remain the most important areas of campaigning. The No Glory campaign over World War 1 is particularly important in challenging the government's attempts to rehabilitate foreign intervention.

Counterfire: nerve and organisation
It is amazing the difference Counterfire members have made in a whole number of places. We need more initiative and at the same time we need to tighten up the organisation. It was agreed to move to weekly activist meetings where we have groups and to set up new groups wherever possible.

If you can set up a Counterfire group where you are or if you need advice or support in any of your work please phone us or e-mail in.

Other measures include increasing our online presence by having a communications point person in each group (the website is going to be relaunched soon) and a vote for an increased rate for monthly subscriptions. Please check these and amend your standing order accordingly if possible!

For more detail please read the resolutions and amendments that were voted on at the conference on the Counterfire website.

An activist's calendar
Here are the national events that we agreed to prioritise in the months ahead.

This week - student week of action (FacebookWebsite)
February 22nd - Women's Assembly against Austerity (event details)
March 15th - People's Assembly recall conference (details)
March 19th - protest on budget day
March 22nd - Anti racist demonstration (details)
May 31st/June 1st - Dangerous Times Festival
June 21st - People's Assembly demonstration against austerity
August 31st - Sept 4th - protests in Cardiff/Newport against NATO
October 4th - International day of action against drones.

If you are in London check the three ways you can support the tube workers and make sure you are at the crucial Hands off our Unions rally on February 11.

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