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From: The Socialist issue 897, 13 April 2016: Panama papers, steel crisis, junior doctors' contract, austerity...Tories out!

Search site for keywords: RMT - TUSC - Labour - Candidates - Jeremy Corbyn - Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition - Elections - Bob Crow

RMT branch calls for TUSC backing to continue

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, addresses the London Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) launch meeting 2012, photo Paul Mattsson

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, addresses the London Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) launch meeting 2012, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Members of the transport workers' union, the RMT, and particularly its late general secretary Bob Crow, have played a crucial role in the building of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) since its birth in 2010. TUSC was founded to take forward the fight to re-build independent working class political representation.

This included providing a banner under which socialists, trade unionists and community campaigners could fight elections on a clear anti-austerity programme. The RMT's Annual General Meeting (AGM) has endorsed TUSC since 2012.

Following the election of Jeremy Corbyn, the union has begun a debate in the run up to this year's AGM on whether to continue with its existing political strategy. Neasden RMT branch has written to all RMT branches urging them to continue to support TUSC. Extracts from their letter are reprinted below:

"Brothers/Sisters,

RMT branches are being consulted on whether our union should end our participation in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

Neasden branch has submitted a resolution to this year's AGM in support of continuing with our current political strategy including our participation in TUSC. Neasden branch would respectfully ask you to consider the following points in making any branch response to the consultation underway.

If RMT continues to sit on the steering committee of TUSC we have a veto on the policies and actions of the coalition. TUSC cannot stand in any election without the agreement of all participants.

Participating in TUSC does not undermine support for those Labour candidates who support our aims or for the socialist leadership of Labour. Indeed, in the last general election RMT gave 63K to Labour candidates and just 10K to TUSC. Furthermore, RMT was the second highest trade union financial contributor to Jeremy Corbyn's leadership campaign. This has been done while maintaining our participation in TUSC.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party was a huge victory for socialism but Labour is not yet a party committed to anti-austerity. Unfortunately the majority of Labour councillors have voted for cuts, privatisation and redundancies over a period of years. We cannot now advise workers who have backed TUSC in the past to embrace the same councillors they have stood up to oppose. The fight against cuts cannot wait until the next general election. Candidates standing against all cuts are needed now.

RMT should not support any candidate who has voted for austerity cuts or to privatise services at local or national level. Any candidate who has voted in this way should not be considered to support the key aims and policies of RMT.

RMT has nothing to gain by withdrawing from TUSC at this time. Our union has taken a lead among trade unions in supporting political candidates who do not accept the Tory/Blairite consensus of cuts and privatisation. We must continue to support candidates who fight for trade union policies and socialism. This should mean supporting Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party and supporting any labour candidate who shares these ideas. It should also include continued participation in TUSC.

Fraternally

Cat Cray

Political Officer Neasden Branch

London Transport Region"

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Article dated 13 April 2016

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