Protest against the war on Gaza in Bristol. Photo: Nick Clare
Protest against the war on Gaza in Bristol. Photo: Nick Clare

TUSC statement

The left-wing Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has announced its support for George Galloway’s ‘insurgent campaign’ against the establishment politicians in next week’s Rochdale by-election.

The TUSC national chairperson Dave Nellist, a former Labour MP backbench colleague of George Galloway from 1987-1992, said:

“On 29 February there is no other choice that trade unionists, socialists, and all those that want to protest at the slaughter in Gaza, could make in the Rochdale by-election than to vote for George Galloway, the only pro-Palestinian, anti-austerity alternative to the establishment parties appearing on the ballot paper”.

“The recent Kingswood and Wellingborough by-elections showed the hatred that exists towards the Tories but there was not enthusiasm for Sir Keir Starmer’s Tory-lite New Labour Mark II party. That would have been shown in Rochdale too, even if Labour had not withdrawn its support for its own candidate after the official nominations had closed”.

“Even the Guardian newspaper, the house journal of the New Labour revival project, was forced through gritted teeth to report the views it found on the ground in Rochdale, quoting a life-long Labour supporting lorry driver who said that he ‘wasn’t going to vote for them this time anyway, because Keir Starmer is taking it too far to the right for me. It’s just becoming a pale imitation of the Conservative Party’.

“This voter went on to say of George Galloway that ‘I don’t agree with 10% of what he says, but 90% I do agree with. He’s got an appeal to the workers… whereas the Labour Party now are not representing the workers anymore’.

“What better summary of the situation could there be? An insurgency against the capitalist establishment and their tame politicians is brewing in Rochdale, and not just there. It’s obvious which side trade unionists and socialists should be on”.

The TUSC national election agent Clive Heemskerk, added: “The Workers Party of Britain, on whose ticket George Galloway is standing in Rochdale, has participated in the TUSC all-Britain steering committee since they were given observer status at its meetings in March 2022”.

“This decision drew criticism of TUSC at the time by some on the left, who could not see beyond their opposition to some of the policy positions adopted by George Galloway and the Workers Party, important though such policy differences undoubtedly can be”.

“But TUSC was always conceived from its foundation in 2010 by Bob Crow and others as an inclusive coalition, around the goal of building a working-class political alternative to, at that point, Tony Blair’s New Labour, now Sir Keir Starmer’s”.

“A broad coalition, rather than a closed one, inevitably has to involve collaboration – and robust debate – between organisations and groups within the working-class movement holding often sharply different views. It needs to be a ‘united front’, marching separately but organising to strike together at the ballot box. That’s what the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition strives to be”.

“While it is still possible that Sunak may go for an early general election, the next definite set of elections taking place are the local polls in May, including for the London assembly and seats in 105 councils across England”.

“TUSC already has over 120 candidates in place for these contests  with likely more than double that to come – and will be the biggest working class left-of-Labour challenge on 2 May”. 

“Whatever the result is in Rochdale on 29 February, the stand being made is already showing in action that it is possible to challenge the capitalist establishment politicians at election time. Let’s make sure we build on it”.