The working class in Hackney will have the option of voting for a 100% anti-austerity fighter in the east London borough’s mayoral by-election on 9 November. The Socialist spoke to Annoesjka Valent, a Socialist Party member and trade union organiser, who is standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).
“Working-class and young people in Hackney have been let down. Mayors and councillors from all the main parties choose to pass on Tory government cuts rather than fight for us. They have slashed over £200 million of jobs and services in real terms since 2009!
“That amounts to hundreds of jobs slashed across the whole council workforce, the latest being in libraries where the council faced down a strike by Unison union members this year. It is also why Hackney’s youth centres have vanished, and schools are closing.
“Landlord licensing has stopped, and housing offices closed. Cuts have created backlogs of repairs and casework, with black mould running rampant in many council homes. And this council keeps on approving developments of unaffordable private flats, and bringing in new punitive fees and fines!
“This mayoral election will decide who negotiates for our borough with both the present government, and the next one. I worked for the council for around seven years, including in community safety.
“I was a local shop steward for council staff, and since moving on I am still involved in local struggles against all cuts. As mayor I would be a shop steward fighting for the residents and workers of Hackney, not a manager passing down austerity from the Tories or Starmer’s Labour.
“That means starting to rebuild the jobs and homes we need – and sending the bill to Number 10. Hackney council has over £345 million in ‘usable’ reserves to kick things off. Most importantly, it has the platform to build a mass campaign of workers, unions and the community to win more resources from government and the super-rich.”
Hackney council censors TUSC mayoral address
TUSC had its original mayoral election address censored twice before being accepted by the council’s legal department. This is a scandal!
The changes removed reference to the Labour Party and their candidate Caroline Woodley’s leading role in trying to close Fernbank and Hillside children’s centre – defeated by a community campaign including the Socialist Party.
We are not only having to fight the establishment candidate, but the council apparatus that has enacted these attacks. If you want change, vote for a candidate who will fight the Tory government cuts – cuts that all the other parties in this election have failed to mount a real challenge against.
Brian Debus, Hackney TUSC convenor
Our demands include:
- Mass construction of council homes, and rent controls in the private sector
- Save our services! Reverse all austerity cuts and privatisation, including youth centres and library jobs
- Stop the school closures! Reduce class sizes to improve education instead
- Child Q – never again. Replace the punitive culture the council has allowed in schools with a pastoral culture. School unions, students, parents and the community must be in charge
- Fight pollution, not the poor! Fight for a free-to-use, publicly owned, expanded public transport system. For genuine, democratic consultation with communities, workers and surrounding areas on changes to roads
- Invest in socially useful job creation on real living wages, without youth exemption, and trade union conditions