Welcome to CSM Renewal 2007

Welcome to CSM Renewal 2007. This blog is for members of the Christian Socialist Movement who are interested in renewing and changing CSM. In Proverbs it says: "Where there is no vision the people perish" (Prov 29:18). We fear that CSM is perishing from lack of vision, and we need to renew CSM: - Prayerfully restore CSM’s values and objects to the heart of everything it does; - Actively be the prophetic conscience of the Labour Party and a prophetic voice to the churches; - Boldly take a stand against the religious right and campaign to make poverty, social justice and the environment mainstream Christian issues; - Sustainably ensure CSM’s financial security without accepting sponsorship from organisations that compromise our values; - Immediately make CSM fit for purpose and the organisation more democratic, accountable and Christian. Find out more about our new vision for CSM below, and if you like it sign up to CSM Renewal 2007.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

CSM: in need of repentance, renewal and change

However there are many things of which we are not proud and of which we must repent. The decline in membership and precarious financial situation threatens the viability of the whole organisation. Even amongst the existing membership there is a sense of dissatisfaction about CSM and its purpose.

CSM has not been a radical and prophetic witness to the Labour Government on controversial issues - even when CSM has had something to say that springs directly from its values, it has been silent. Why has it not spoken out on issues relating to the environment, international development and asylum – all of which have been discussed in the magazine and can be clearly linked to CSM’s values?

CSM has not lived out its own values in its own activities. It is has taken substantial sponsorship from organisations which some members feel are not consistent with the values of CSM. Moreover, CSM seems to do little to actively “work in prayer and through political action” for its values. Many members are loyal because they are both Christians and Socialists – not because the organisation delivers for them or for their values.

CSM has failed to serve the many candidates and elected representatives within its ranks, offering little in the way of spiritual, moral or political guidance to those making difficult decisions.

The executive committee, elected to hold the officer group and staff to account on behalf of the membership, set CSM’s strategic direction, and share in the work of the organisation, is unable to fulfil any of these requirements. Despite executive committee members sharing financial liability for CSM, its members are largely ignorant of key developments, because it meets too irregularly, and therefore provide little or no scrutiny. This also hampers executive committee members sharing in the work of the organisation. Most National/Regional Representatives (NRRs) are unclear as to their role and admit to having little involvement in CSM activity in their nation or region, their many talents wasted.

Many ideas are suggested to improve CSM, but there is no coherent strategy to make them effective. Furthermore there is little serious evaluation of the activities CSM undertakes in relation to its values and objectives.


Anonymous said...

The CSM Executive should prepare a programme of work which involves as a wide a base as possible to help identify legislative requirements, write policy, and show evidence of a detailed understanding of the current history, those at issue and practical plans of action. Yes we need visions of what could be. And our leaders should live according to our renewed values. We do not need to look to far to see what is actually possible in socialistic nations. A fourth issue not identified here is globalisation. No serious vision of alternative socialistic futures can exclude what is happening today in real businesses, in developing countries.

Anonymous said...

As I recall, Alun Michael, in a prayer breakfast in Brighton, once asked, "What is the difference between demonstration and protest?" Jesus followed the profetic tradition of saying (e.g. parables) and acting (e.g. incarnation and crucifixion). It is not enough to murmour words of protest, to say in a meeting that you disagree particularly when you are not alone in so doing. To pick up Jesus' cross, we need to also act, to show our faith. And in so doing, be accountable. Too many murmoured their disaproval of accepting Nestle as sponsors of CSMs labour conference activity without really attempting to stop it, accepting that a 'decision' had already been made and passing responsiblity to others. If there was enough reason, then those who were part of the discussion at the execurive committee meeting would have stopped short of accepting money from Nestle. Their argument would not have been one of protest, but would have demonstrated committment to CSM's values.