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Election campaigns :: TUSC
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Yet again the Labour Party leadership has reaffirmed its commitment to Tory austerity should it come to power in May.
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls stressed that he cannot promise to reverse the 1% public sector pay limit or the massacring of local council services. He said that just because Labour figures criticise certain cuts, doesn't mean they wouldn't make them themselves!
It couldn't be any clearer that there's no difference between the big parties. The need has never been so great for a party of our own - working class people standing in elections for themselves.
That's what the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) allows us to do. And the TUSC 2015 challenge, with an ambitious target of standing in 1,000 local election and 100 parliamentary seats, is growing.
Along with the seven parliamentary candidates agreed so far by the Scottish TUSC steering committee, there are now 32 TUSC candidates in place for May.
TUSC parliamentary candidates approved in December included Tony Mulhearn, standing in Liverpool's Riverside constituency. Tony, one of the Liverpool 47 Labour councillors who defied the Thatcher government in the 1980s, polled 4,792 votes for TUSC in Liverpool's mayoral election in 2012, coming in ahead of both the Tories and Ukip.
Also contesting a Liverpool parliamentary seat for TUSC is the Unite union convenor for the city council, Dave Walsh, standing in Liverpool Wavertree.
There are two trade union national executive committee members on the new candidates' list, with the National Union of Teachers' (NUT) executive member Anne Lemon contesting Bristol North West, and Unison NEC member Jacqui Berry standing in Gillingham and Rainham.
This north Kent constituency is next door to the Rochester and Strood seat of Ukip MP Mark Reckless - in May he will be challenged on behalf of TUSC by the local transport union RMT young members officer, Dan Burn, who joins four other RMT members already approved.
To prepare for this, our biggest ever election challenge, TUSC is holding a one-day conference on 24 January. If we reach the targets, TUSC should qualify for what the BBC calls 'balanced media coverage' in the election period.
The conference will discuss TUSC's election platform, the core policies - for both the general election and the local elections - which prospective candidates must endorse if they wish to stand under the TUSC name.
Could you be one of the TUSC candidates? Come along to the conference and meet other prospective candidates and TUSC supporters who are building an alternative to the austerity parties in their areas.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is an electoral alliance that stands candidates against all cuts and privatisation. It involves the RMT transport workers' union, leading members of other trade unions including the PCS, NUT and POA, as well as the Socialist Party and other left and anti-cuts groups and individuals.
TUSC has been organising trade unionists around the country to write to Labour Party prospective parliamentary candidates asking to send a delegation to meet with them. This is to discuss their position on a number of key issues, including trade union rights, reversing Con-Dem cuts, the living wage and nationalisation, as part of the considerations as to where TUSC candidates stand in May's general election. Here are two reports of this process:
Leading activists in a number of trade unions, including RMT, Unite, Unison, PCS and NUT signed the letter to Margaret Hodge MP. Hodge is a member of the Oppenheimer family, whose steel business, Stemcor, announced a turnover of £5 billion in 2012.
After receiving no reply, it was agreed by the local TUSC committee that Hodge should face a challenge from Joseph Manbuliya, a low-paid London Underground cleaner and RMT member who was inspired by late RMT general secretary Bob Crow (a founding member of TUSC) to take an active part in the struggle for higher wages.
The request we sent to Tristram Hunt MP was supported by 21 local trade union and community activists. These included a Unite health branch secretary, the North Staffs RMT branch secretary, Unite Community branch secretary, and PCS North Staffs DWP branch chair.
Tristram told us: "I am always more than happy to meet with trade unionists in Stoke-on-Trent to hear their views and I will continue to do so through the official channels."
"I do not see the benefit of meeting with TUSC - a rival political party - to discuss policy so that you can decide whether to stand a candidate against me or not. It is no different to the Liberal Democrats asking me to meet so that they can decide whether to stand against me or not."
The reality is that Hunt has met, and will continue to meet with Tory, Lib Dem and other MP's at Westminster who will definitely 'stand against' his party at election time.
But meet with ordinary working class trade union and community activists from his own constituency who are prepared to fight the endless cuts of the establishment parties? It appears that he doesn't want to know about such things.
So TUSC will provide a serious anti-austerity alternative at the ballot box in Stoke-on-Trent and around the country in May.
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Article dated 7 January 2015
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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