Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/681/12487
Building a workers' political alternative to the establishment parties
The following resolution on the upcoming Greater London Assembly (GLA) elections was passed at the July meeting of the London Transport regional council of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT).
GLA elections - submitted by Neasden Branch
This branch/region supports the growing anti-cuts movement and we realise that a successful movement will require an industrial and political strategy. We realise that all three major political parties, including Labour, are making cuts in local authorities in London.
The London elections for the GLA and mayor present an opportunity for a trade union based anti-cuts challenge involving community and trade union campaigns. This could take place under the name of Trade Unionists Against Cuts, a registered name of the Trade Unionists and Socialists Coalition (TUSC). This would give an anti-cuts electoral alternative to the electorate of London.
We believe the RMT in London should approach other trade union and working class campaigning forces to assess whether such a challenge is possible and to convene a meeting to discuss the possibilities [...]
The regional council will approach other trade unions and campaigns, as outlined above, to raise the idea of such an electoral challenge.
There are three separate parts to the London election: 14 constituency candidates (elected by first past the post); a London wide list to elect eleven seats by a form of PR; the election of the mayor (two votes in order of preference). This means it is possible to stand a mayoral candidate while also supporting a second preference candidate against Boris Johnson.
I recently attended a well-run five day training course for workplace reps run by my union, the Communications Workers Union (CWU). The highlight for me was a discussion and vote on whether the CWU should continue to fund Labour. I listened to the usual arguments for, ie 'better to be inside than out', 'what is the alternative' and 'Labour will be different under Miliband', etc.
I argued that we have been constantly attacked by those we fund, ie Mandelson's postal privatisation attempt; that Miliband condemned the 30 June strikes; that New Labour has never officially backed striking workers; and that we're in the same position as the trade unions were before the formation of Labour over a century ago; that we need to build a new working class party.
Anyway, a vote was then taken on the issue of our union continuing to fund Labour. Result: Three for and 12 against! Conclusion: Does official CWU policy actually reflect the views of grassroots members?
Glen Watson, Coventry
In The Socialist 3 August 2011:
Fighting the cuts
Opposing the far right
Socialist Party NHS campaigning
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party news and campaigns
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party feature