Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/666/11749
Fight the cuts by supporting TUSC
"Labour councillors will be your community's first line of defence against the damage being done by the Tory-led government and their Liberal Democrat allies. Labour is your voice in tough times," claims the Labour Party's website. But tell that to the residents of Manchester where the Labour council is making £279 million of brutal cuts in jobs and services over two years. In fact, every Labour-led council has voted through cuts, saying 'we have no choice' - so what sort of defence is that?
But in 55 local authorities, as well as in the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly elections, over 180 candidates are standing on the no-cuts platform of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). See www.tusc.org.uk for information on candidates in your area.
All TUSC candidates have signed up to the following local election platform:
- Oppose all cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions - we reject the claim that 'some cuts' are necessary to our services.
- Reject above inflation increases in council tax, rent and service charges to compensate for government cuts.
- Vote against the privatisation of council services, or the transfer of council services to 'social enterprises' or 'arms-length' management organisations, which are first steps to privatisation.
- Use all the legal powers available to councils, including powers to refer local NHS decisions, initiate referenda and organise public commissions and consultations, to oppose both the cuts and government polices which centrally impose the transfer of public services to private bodies.
- When faced with government cuts to council funding, councils should refuse to implement the cuts. We will support councils which in the first instance use their reserves and prudential borrowing powers to avoid passing government cuts on - while arguing that the best way to mobilise the mass campaign that is necessary to defeat the cuts is to set a budget that meets the needs of the local community and demands that the government makes up the shortfall.
Wales: an alternative to cuts and division
Sion Owens, an Assembly candidate for the far-right, racist British National Party (BNP) in South Wales West, was recently arrested, accused of burning a Qur'an. Owens has since been released on a 'technicality' but the case is ongoing. He was arrested following an investigation by the Observer, which led to film footage of the event being passed to the police.
Despite claims to be a 'legitimate' party the BNP is still a hate-filled, racist organisation. The BNP blames minorities for the destruction of our public services, dividing working-class people on lines of race, religion or colour.
But these divisions are a dead end for those who want to fight cuts and defend the living standards of their communities.
Where BNP candidates have been elected to council positions they've done nothing to defend jobs or services, including voting for cuts. The BNP and other racist organisations set worker against worker, benefiting nobody but those who gain from keeping us weak.
In the face of the onslaught on our living standards, services and communities, a united response from working class people is required. A movement capable of defeating the cuts and defending our services requires the greatest possible unity of workers and the communities they serve. There is no room for the divisive idea that some cuts are necessary.
In TUSC we aim to help build such a movement. If we can secure representation in the Welsh Assembly, we will use that platform to fight all cuts.
But regardless of which party is in the leadership of the Assembly after the elections on 5 May, we will continue to build in our trade unions and in our communities a campaign to oppose every cut; a campaign in which all workers can unite.
Ronnie Job, TUSC South Wales West Assembly candidate
Press coverage promotes TUSC in Rugby
Seven TUSC candidates are standing in Rugby as part of Rugby Against the Cuts' decision to promote anti-cuts candidates in every ward this May.
We recently issued a media release announcing all our candidates. The local Rugby Observer, which is delivered free to every home in the area, then had a page two article entitled "Trade Unions fielding anti-cuts candidates". No other parties had their candidates listed, nor were there any other articles on the elections.
As spokesperson, and candidate for Dunchurch, I was quoted: "The three establishment parties all believe cutting public spending is the way to resolve the economic crisis... We are now giving people of Rugby the opportunity to use their vote to show their opposition to public spending cuts."
The article listed all our candidates. They include the regional chair of the firefighters' FBU union, the local RMT transport union branch health and safety rep, the secretary of Warwickshire Unite community and youth workers' section, and members of political organisations including the Socialist Party and Socialist Alliance.
Pete McClaren, Rugby Against the Cuts
Challenging false promises in Salford
MediaCityUK is a huge development rising up on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal in Ordsall, Salford. It will soon be the base of BBC North from which Breakfast TV, Radio Five Live, BBC Sport and children's programmes will be broadcast.
For months we have been told fairy tales about all the jobs this will bring to a very deprived area and how marvellous it would be: 'OurCity. YourCity. MediaCityUK.'
Well, we didn't get much in the way of jobs while it was being built, as contract labour was brought into the area and well-known local trade unionists were blacklisted from the site.
Now the cat's out of the bag: there will be 800 jobs, with the other 1,500 jobs to come from BBC staff transferring north and from staff who already work at the BBC in Manchester. And there are already 50,000 applicants for the 800 jobs, a ratio of over 60 to one!
At the same time Salford city council has brought in a consultant to help some of Salford's most 'deprived' people get jobs at MediaCityUK - on a rate of £650 a day, a total of £46,800 for just 12 days work a month on a six-month contract. This at a time when the council are implementing a £40 million cuts package in services!
Meanwhile, in the shadow of the MediaCity cranes, Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts activists will be fighting in the local election for guaranteed jobs with training for all young people and against a Labour council that is happy to partner anti-union construction companies and fund prestige projects which offer nothing to local young people.
George Tapp, TUSC candidate and former Labour councillor, and Paul Gerrard, TUSC election agent Ordsall Ward, Salford
Coventry: help get more socialist councillors
The Socialist Party is standing in all 18 council seats up for election in Coventry as Socialist Alternative as part of TUSC.
The only other party that is standing a full slate of candidates is Labour. As leaders of Coventry council, the Labour Party has voted through £140 million of cuts.
Campaigning for former councillor Rob Windsor in St Michael's ward has been the main focus with canvassing taking place two to three times a week since January.
Already posters are shooting up across the ward, a St Michael's pensioner has donated £300 to the campaign to get another voice for the ordinary working people alongside Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist, who has been the only councillor to fight and vote against all cuts and attacks on ordinary people since last year's elections, when Rob lost his seat.
Dave has won the support of many young people to the Socialist Party after speaking to 500 students at school debates. The ideas of the Socialist Party gave enthusiasm, confidence and a way forward for the youth to fight back against the savage cuts of the Con-Dems and the Labour council.
To help the campaign, make a donation or come to the mass canvass on 17 April, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 07530 429441.
Lenny Shail, Coventry Socialist Party
In The Socialist 13 April 2011:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
Youth Fight for Jobs
Socialist Party news and analysis