Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/754/16232
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition: building an anti-cuts electoral voice
Eastleigh TUSC campaigners
The Eastleigh byelection circus has left many voters out in the cold as the real stories of foodbanks, unemployment, benefit cuts and the closure of the local Ford Transit factory are ignored.
The Tory and Lib Dem coalition partners are tearing into each other but with little to distinguish their brands of austerity. Labour's cuts-lite, policy-lite 'alternative' has fallen on deaf ears.
Right-wing Ukip, fanned by the media as one of the 'main' parties, is set to gain a considerable protest vote.
It demonstrates once again the urgent need for the voice of working class people to be organised.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), and its candidate Daz Procter, with barely any media coverage, has been out every day fighting the cuts and drawing together trade union activists with anti-cuts campaigners to guarantee we will be here when the circus leaves town.
Daz, a member of the RMT transport union's executive, said: "Irrespective of the result on 28 February, I believe I have done what I set out to do - raise awareness of what TUSC stands for.
"Many friends and colleagues, my fellow seafarers and the branch members of Southampton shipping branch are now aware of an alternative option for the working class.
"I hope to stand again and would recommend others do so to build TUSC through a grassroots movement."
Fellow RMT executive member Sean Hoyle said: "The RMT council of executives has given its full backing to Daz standing in the Eastleigh byelection. He has also received the support of RMT branches around the country.
"As the Con-Dem austerity agenda continues to bite and Labour councils do their dirty work, we want to get our message across: 'It doesn't have to be like this!'
"To those who agree we urge you to join us on the campaign trail and become a candidate for TUSC in the forthcoming May elections."
TUSC supporters were also building support in Portsmouth on 23 February, when they took part in the 200-strong Stand Up For the South Coast anti-cuts demo.
As we go to press the election rally, with an impressive line-up, is starting. Dave Nellist (former Labour MP) and Keith Morrell (Southampton Councillors Against Cuts) will speak in support of Daz.
For nine years Dave stood in parliament as a workers' MP on a worker's wage, refusing to leave behind the real day-to-day issues of those who elected him when he was surrounded by the privileges and perks of the Westminster elite. He was later expelled for fighting cuts - namely Thatcher's hated poll tax.
Keith Morrell and Don Thomas were expelled from Southampton Labour Party in 2012 for voting against cuts proposed by Southampton Labour council.
Keith and Don have continued to fight against all cuts, in defence of jobs and services, and call on Labour councils to refuse to implement the Con-Dem cuts.
Over 60 people from the local community attended an inspiring TUSC meeting in Hackney, London, on 18 February, to hear rail union leader Bob Crow speak, among others.
Bob said that although there are some Labour MPs who support his union's policies, Labour as a whole is carrying out a Tory agenda.
For the working class, Labour is now "as dead as Monty Python's parrot, and can't be resuscitated".
There were two platform speakers from the DayMer Turkish and Kurdish organisation. FBU north east London chair Gareth Beeton explained about fire service cuts.
TUSC London Assembly 2012 list candidate Nancy Taaffe urged activists involved in fighting cuts to step forward to be TUSC candidates in the 2014 elections.
Two more anti-cuts candidates have joined Staffordshire TUSC's group for the Staffs County Council elections in May.
Steve Wheeler, a Unite NHS rep, will be standing in Newcastle. Paul Arnold, who works in the food industry, will stand in Rugeley.
Checkout the latest TUSC broadsheet if you're interested in standing as an anti-cuts election candidate at: CandidatesAppeal2013.pdf
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, and socialist organisations including the Socialist Party.
Challenging Labour's Camden cuts
TUSC supporters were out in force on 23 February in Gospel Oak, north London, where John Reid is standing in the Camden council ward byelection.
John is the RMT union's London Transport regional secretary. His pledge to use the council chamber as a platform to organise against the cuts went down well with people bitterly disappointed in a Labour council that passes on Con-Dem government cuts.
The closure of Belsize Fire station and the council pushing out 761 low-income families due to housing benefit cuts were issues of concern.
Trade union activists pledged to participate in the campaign despite some union tops' support for Labour.
The election will take place on 14 March.
In The Socialist 27 February 2013:
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