Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 13 July 2011

Needed - a workers' alternative in London 2012 elections

Paula Mitchell
30 June coordinated strike action by the PCS civil service union and NUT, ATL and UCU teaching unions, photo Paul Mattsson

30 June coordinated strike action by the PCS civil service union and NUT, ATL and UCU teaching unions, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Many trade unionists recognise that as well as using their industrial might to fight the cuts, and joining up with community campaigners in local anti-cuts alliances, there is also a political dimension to the anti-cuts movement. How do people fight the cuts at an election?

Although big numbers of workers want to punish the Tories and Lib Dems, simply voting Labour does not provide the alternative to cuts. Labour councils across Britain have voted for massive cuts and are presiding over service closures and job losses.

In government they would carry out much the same programme as the Tories, they simply say that the Con-Dem cuts are "too far, too fast". There are no council elections (bar by-elections) in London until 2014, although as council cuts really bite and more workers and communities rise up against them, pressure could mount on councillors to resign in numbers.

May 2012

But in May 2012 there are elections for the Greater London Assembly and London Mayor. There are three separate parts to the elections: 14 constituency candidates (first past the post), a London-wide list to elect eleven seats by a form of proportional representation (PR), and the election of the mayor (two votes in order of preference).

The Socialist Party thinks there is the potential for a serious trade union-based anti-cuts list and mayoral candidate. We want to discuss with any trade union and serious anti-cuts force that wishes to unite in standing a working class anti-cuts alternative.

This could be under a name such as Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts, a registered name of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. TUSC was set up to enable trade unionists, campaigners and socialists to stand candidates under that name, under their own control, rather than simply appear on the ballot paper as "independents", which they would otherwise have to do under electoral law.

In a very positive step forward, a TUSC supporters group in London RMT transport union has met to begin the debate in the London Transport region about the possibility of such an electoral challenge. In our view, the basis for such an agreement must be on a clear anti-cuts position, in deeds as well as words.

Organised working class

The key would be to bring together a challenge based on militant sections of the organised working class, as well as other anti-cuts campaigners. A serious list could include trade unionists from London RMT, FBU, PCS, NUT and UCU unions who have led the way in taking strike action over the last year.

These unions have already collaborated, along with the National Shop Stewards Network, in organising the 23 October anti-cuts demonstration last year. The Socialist Party is part of TUSC, which in the 2011 elections outside of London, stood 180 anti-cuts candidates. This followed TUSC 2010 general election candidates, including in Lewisham, Walthamstow, Greenwich and Tottenham in London.

Until May 2010, the Socialist Party had two councillors elected to Lewisham council, with a consistent anti-cuts, anti-privatisation record. TUSC declares opposition to all cuts in public services and puts the case for a socialist alternative. Candidates are drawn from the best working class fighters, including active members of the PCS, Unison, Unite, FBU, RMT, Aslef, CWU, UCU, NUT, and NASUWT unions.

A London challenge could build on the experience of RMT members' election challenge in 2000 with the Campaign Against Tube Privatisation. It could also include students who fought the fees last winter, anti-cuts alliances and NHS campaigners. There could be anti-cuts constituency candidates as part of this challenge, with local groups who sign up to the TUSC platform having the right to run their own campaigns. It could include others who have stood anti-cuts candidates in local elections, such as Lewisham People Before Profit.

In addition to a list, there could possibly be a mayor candidate. This is the only way to be in the booklet that goes to every house, and the most likely way to access hustings across London and potentially TV and radio coverage. It substantially increases the profile of the list and constituency candidates.

This mayor election is again likely to be a tough battle between Tory Boris Johnson and Labour Ken Livingstone, this time in the context of historic cuts carried out by Johnson's party, so trade unionists and campaigners would be able to second preference Ken Livingstone.

If such a challenge is achieved, a working class alternative will be presented which can articulate the enormous anger at the historic cuts to jobs and services. An anti-cuts alternative could cut across some of the electoral support for the far-right, racist BNP, who won an assembly seat in 2008.

This would be clearly anti-racist, but most importantly, offer an alternative to the small layer of working class people who vote BNP in desperation over the ruin of their jobs, homes, services and communities.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 13 July 2011:

News International

Take over Murdoch's press!

The media 'lie factory' exposed

Nothing New in the World at Wapping

Socialist Party news and analysis

Hidden by hacking scandal, Cameron seeks wholesale privatisation of services

Jobs not Cuts

Socialist Party feature - disability rights

Con-Dem 'reforms' promise misery for disabled people and must be fought!

Socialist Party workplace news

Southampton: Anger grows as workers face the sack

Stop the jobs slaughter at Bombardier, Derby

'Fire and rehire': Shropshire council sacks 6,500 workers

Unison - name the day for action

CWU elections

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Needed - a workers' alternative in London 2012 elections

Support for Jarrow March at the Durham Miners' Gala

Merseyside Socialist Party - going forward with confidence

Opposing the racist and hooligan EDL

Tamil Solidarity Old Trafford protest

International socialist news and analysis

Greece's debt crisis: No way out for workers under capitalism

Socialist Party review

From a Spark to a Flame


Home   |   The Socialist 13 July 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleHeating scandal on east London estate

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: The national question

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: The rise of Militant

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Report from Socialist Party congress

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: 100 years of voting for women of property


trianglePCS union 2018 elections - nominate the left slate for a continued fighting leadership

triangleTrade Unionist and Socialist Coalition conference

triangleCatalan elections: PP humiliated

triangleHackney Socialist Party: The May 2018 local elections


triangleCorbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangleWe must fight all council cuts!

triangleNHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!


triangleSocialist sales highest in years as mistrust in capitalist media hits record levels

triangleBristol libraries safe - for now - as council caves to pressure


triangleTUSC conference to debate 2018 elections

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Socialist Party women's meeting brings together members to share experiences



Packed Newham meeting against academies



Lobby pushes Liverpool council to oppose privatisation



Heating scandal on east London estate



Undercover policing legal challenge



No to the Woolwich monster block



Workplace news in brief



PCS union 2018 elections - nominate the left slate for a continued fighting leadership



Hackney school cleaners strike



RMT strikes against driver-only operation continue



Ferrybridge: Workers down tools over unpaid wages



We must fight all council cuts!


Socialist Party

Southern Socialist Party conference



Home care workers to strike


Waltham Forest

Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle17 Jan Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangle17 Jan NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangle17 Jan We must fight all council cuts!

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangle12 Jan Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangle12 Jan Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

More ...

triangle23 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?

triangle23 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

triangle24 Jan Caerphilly Socialist Party: The Carillion scandal

triangle24 Jan Cardiff Central Socialist Party: Carillion collapse - Watershed moment for public services

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



January 2018






















Platform setting: = No platform choice