TUSC: Launching a working-class electoral alternative in London
Berkay Kartav, South West London Socialist Party
On Friday 9 April, over 70 attended the online campaign launch rally organised by the London Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), gearing up for the London elections on 6 May.
The rally was chaired by James Ivens, a London Socialist Party organiser. He opened the rally by reiterating the point that "TUSC candidates standing for the Greater London Authority (GLA) are standing to be the hot breath on the back of the necks of cutter-Khan, Starmer the abstainer, and their resurrected New Labour project".
We heard from a wide range of speakers who are standing as TUSC candidates in London, including a school worker, a college student and a Black Lives Matter activist.
The first speaker was Lewis Peacock, an RMT member who is standing as a TUSC candidate in the Jubilee ward council by-election in Enfield. He spoke about the crisis in Transport for London funding which has been exacerbated during the pandemic, and the attacks on the militant workforce from both the Tories and Sadiq Khan.
Nancy Taaffe, Socialist Party member and chair of the Save Our Square campaign, was the second speaker. She explained why she is standing for the GLA seat covering the London boroughs of Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest. She said: "There is a layer of people who will be reflecting on what we have just lived through. And TUSC is standing in an attempt to reach those people and offer a socialist solution, particularly in the absence of other forces standing."
There were also speakers from other constituent parts of TUSC. Andy Walker, an independent member, is standing as a TUSC candidate for the Redbridge and Havering constituency seat for the London Assembly.
He spoke about how Redbridge has given too much ground to big developers: "Every vote for TUSC is challenging the status quo of the three main parties who want to give in to big business". We also heard from Jonathan Cooper, an organiser for Resist in London.
Other TUSC candidates spoke brilliantly about why they are standing. Naomi Byron, NHS shop steward and a Socialist Party member, said that the 1% pay rise is a kick in the teeth for NHS workers.
Lewis Baker, a member of the bakers' union BFAWU, who took part in the 2017 McDonald's strike, is standing on the TUSC GLA list.
He said that under the current leadership the Labour Party is failing to connect with working-class communities. He concluded by saying workers need an alternative, and that TUSC is the only organisation that offers a real political alternative.
In The Socialist 14 April 2021:
Lessons from history