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Another year's AGM provides food for thought at the Morning Star

Shareholders unanimously endorsed unity for a Labour victory and a full debate on gender identity at the co-op's 73rd AGM

THE Morning Star’s annual general meeting came to a close for 2018 this week, with a final leg in London following the meetings in Glasgow, Manchester and Cardiff over the weekend.

As editor I travel to each meeting alongside business manager Jimmy Macintyre, circulation manager Bernadette Keaveney and People’s Press Printing Society management committee chair Bob Oram. 

Travelling between the four meetings over four days can be tiring, but it’s made up for by the enthusiasm and support for the Morning Star we see from you, its readers and owners, in every city we visit.

Many of the faces are old friends from previous AGMs as well as the marches, conferences and fundraisers at which we meet so many of you, but it’s also great when people we don’t know come along. 

You can buy shares on the door at an AGM and gain access and full voting rights straight away — every member of the PPPS has a single vote regardless of the size of their shareholding — and it was great that some of you did that this year and joined the co-op that runs the Morning Star.

Obviously the main business of an AGM is to review and approve our accounts and I’m pleased to say that 88 years on from our foundation, the Daily Miracle still rolls off the presses six times a week. Despite lacking the corporate advertising that forms the bulk of most papers’ income and despite the absence of a super-wealthy proprietor like the Sun’s Rupert Murdoch or the Mail’s Lord Rothermere, we haven’t gone bust yet.

We also elect a third of the management committee each year and I’m delighted that two new members will be joining it — a warm welcome to Sue Michie and Lauren Collins.

But the highlight of the meeting is always engaging with you on the paper itself and exploring new ideas regarding content and promotion. It was great to hear from Scottish readers that our new Scotland editor Conrad Landin is doing a fantastic job north of the border, but we take on board the feeling among Welsh comrades that we need far more coverage of that country if we are to increase sales there and we’ll work with you on doing that.

It was also a chance for us to talk about the website we launched in December and look at ways we can use it more effectively, including by producing regular video content. Watch this space!

There were only two resolutions this year, fewer than usual, and both were passed unanimously, but the debate and discussion at each meeting was no less invigorating for that. 

But we could do with a higher attendance and we recognise that the paper doesn’t do enough to promote the AGM and encourage participation before the event. We’re usually run ragged getting all the documentation ready, but we’ll aim to do better next year and see more of you attend. 

Thanks to everyone who came and to all our readers for the work you do day in, day out for your paper. We really appreciate it and seeing how important the Morning Star is to you is what keeps us inspired to keep it coming out.

Morning Star resolutions passed at the 73rd PPPS AGM:

Resolution 1: Building left unity for a Labour victory

From council cuts, Grenfell and racist immigration policies to Brexit, Syria and Palestinian rights, Theresa May’s regime represents the interests of big business and imperialism. Only a left-led Labour government kept on course by a militant mass movement can make a clear break with austerity, privatisation, gross social inequality and imperialist aggression.

The Morning Star should be congratulated for its principled positions on honouring the EU referendum result, opposing military intervention in Syria, resisting warmongering towards Russia and rejecting bogus charges of anti-semitism against the Labour Party leadership.

Our daily paper and the labour and progressive movements, including the trade unions, Momentum, the People’s Assembly, the Stop the War Coalition and the Communist Party, must now step up extraparliamentary campaigning to ensure the election of a Labour government.

The battle of ideas has to be intensified so that Labour contests the general election on a popular left-wing programme, including measures of public ownership, wealth redistribution, investment in economic and social infrastructure, federalism and an independent foreign and defence policy for Britain.

Morning Star Readers & Supporters Groups can play an important part discussing such policies and building left unity for a Labour victory.

Proposed: Robert Griffiths; Seconded: Liz Payne

Resolution 2: Debate on the issue of gender self-identity

This AGM congratulates the Morning Star for its brave decision to initiate a debate on the issue of gender self-identity. We recognise that this is a controversial subject in the labour movement and elsewhere, with strongly held views on either side. In the spirit of debate, our paper has sought to reflect all opinions on this topic and will, hopefully, continue to do so.

We commend the paper for its stance and reject the criticism of those who seek to stifle democratic discussion on this important issue.

Proposed: Mary Davis; Seconded: Trish Lavelle




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