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Health Crisis -  Build a National Conference!

Why do we need a national conference?

The HSE has become a hated institution in so short a time because the government needed a centralised organisation to inflict cuts and impose privatisation.  We need a national conference because we need to unite under one banner all those opposed to this agenda.  Purely local campaigns have mobilised thousands and have shown the real anger of the majority but they have not succeeded.  The problem is national and it can only be addressed nationally.

What do we mean by a national conference?

A national conference is not opposed to local campaigning.  It is the unity of all local campaigns.  But it is also more than this.  It is unity not only for local solutions but for a national solution, one that wonít accept concessions in one area for increased cuts in another.  It is also not just about uniting the local campaigns that exist but also building new campaigning structures across the country to involve even more people.  It is about creating a focus and mechanism for health service workers to create their own bodies, in particular unions or hospitals or in particular localities, to unite in one campaign.

Why a conference?

A conference is not a rally.  It is not about hearing speeches about what we already know Ė that the service is a mess and getting worse.  It is about democratically
discussing what political demands we should unite under and what strategy and tactics we all think will lead to success.  It is about electing a campaign leadership to enact our wishes and having the means to change that leadership if they donít do what we think they should.  If we donít do this we are not at a conference.

How will we know?

If we donít have wide enough representation of the campaigns that exist or of the workers who are active in this struggle and we donít have this debate we wonít have a national conference.  This is important because we wonít have the basis to go on to win our fight.  We should not make a mistake of claiming we have a national conference when we donít because we will be blind to the challenges facing us and the still necessary task of creating the framework that can really represent a truly national movement.  Such a conference will not be the product of a few weeks work.

This does not make anything less than such a conference a failure.  On the contrary.  Only if we confuse the beginnings of a movement with its successful creation will we be making a mistake.  Every meeting to help us move forward will be one more step in organising a mass movement if we keep our eyes on the task Ė a national conference to build a national movement that will halt the cuts and stop privatisation in its tracks.


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