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From: The Socialist issue 719, 23 May 2012: Action now to save the NHS!

Search site for keywords: TUSC - Brent - Socialist Party - Socialist - Labour

Building the electoral alternative in Brent

John Boyle

Just over a month ago I was thinking about how to campaign for the anti-cuts electoral alternative, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). I decided to put my energy into making something happen in my borough, Brent, rather than travelling to where more was already happening.

Once I realised that one of the London TUSC list candidates and member of Fire Brigades Union (FBU) lived in my borough I knew where to start so arranged to meet and planned from there.

With support from Socialist Party members from neighbouring boroughs we quickly put together a TUSC organising meeting with local trade unionists and other left activists.

A plan of activity was drawn up and we gathered people as we organised a TUSC public meeting. 16 people turned up to hear our alternative to austerity, including six new activists who had gathered around the campaign. One sixth form student spoke about his excitement at hearing what was said and the "pins" he was feeling as he spoke. The meeting raised over 100 for the campaign, including 40 from the FBU.

At the election TUSC got 878 votes in Brent. I know for certain that the small impact we made was significant as many people we came across while campaigning did not know of TUSC but after discussion went out to vote for us. The best however may still be to come.

Socialist Party takes off in Brent

After the elections we organised a Socialist Party meeting to discuss recent elections throughout Europe. 12 people attended, six were new to the party, and we had a lively discussion about recent developments in France, Greece, building TUSC and the case for socialism.

One person agreed to join and another is thinking hard about joining while being understandably sceptical of "joining a party". All agreed to attend further meetings to build a left alternative to Labour in Brent.

The contact list is growing and we have the seeds of a a new Socailist Party branch in Brent which could radically change the local political scene which has seen a Labour council - yes, a Labour council - closing down six libraries and cutting many other public services.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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Article dated 23 May 2012

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