Marching on 18 June. Photo: Tommy Liverpool
Marching on 18 June. Photo: Tommy Liverpool

Join the socialist election stand

The Tories have spent 14 years in government attacking our services and living standards. Most working-class people can’t wait to see the back of them. Many, in desperation to get them out, will either stay at home in a general election, or hold their nose and vote for Keir Starmer’s Labour.

In all likelihood, Starmer will be the next prime minister. And we know what to expect. More cuts, branded as ‘fiscal responsibility’.

Like in his support for the Israeli state’s brutal offensive on Gaza after 7 October, Starmer sings from the same hymn sheet as Rishi Sunak – and will ultimately act in the interests of big business too.

Working-class people need our own voice! And in the 2024 elections, local and general, Socialist Party members will do everything we can to help the process of establishing one.

A workers’ list

We are fighting for a workers’ list of candidates for the general election. Such a list could include suspended and expelled Labour MPs, as well as trade unionists and anti-war campaigners. Figures such as Claudia Webbe and Emma Dent Coad, both ex-Labour MPs who were supportive of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, are already preparing to stand as independents. Jeremy himself and others are likely to do so too. Why not bring these campaigns together under the same banner?

The Socialist Party is campaigning in the trade unions to win support for candidates standing to fight in the interests workers. (See trade union motion below)

A victory for George Galloway in the Rochdale by-election would raise many people’s sights, of the possibility of a handful of MPs elected as a left-wing opposition to a future Keir Starmer government.

Prepare for May’s TUSC stand

The next definite opportunity to take a stand at the ballot box nationwide will be at the 2 May local elections. Around 2,040 councillors will be elected to 105 local authorities in England. It offers a huge opportunity for trade unionists, anti-war and community campaigners to take a stand.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) banner offers the opportunity for anyone prepared to sign up to the core platform of minimum demands to stand with hundreds of others opposed to war and cuts.

254 candidates stood under the banner of TUSC in the May 2023 local elections. Since, the question of a political challenge has grown even more urgent in the minds of even more people.

We call on all those who want to pick up the electoral weapon to fight the Tories and Starmer’s Labour – stand with the Socialist Party and others under the TUSC banner.

To have your TUSC candidacy approved by the next TUSC steering committee, submit your completed application form by Saturday 9 March.

Model motion to encourage trade unionists to stand

With the vacuum of working-class political representation so thoroughly revealed by recent events – but also the absence of a clear answer to this from most trade union leaders – the TUSC steering committee has agreed to promote a model motion to encourage trade unionists to stand themselves as candidates in this year’s elections. As local election candidates, but also to discuss with others what needs to be done to ensure there are general election candidates representing workers’ interests too.

The motion, drafted to be amendable to take account of different trade union rules and relationships to the Labour Party, is published below.

1. This [union branch] notes that 2024 is highly likely to be the year that we finally see the back of the Tories, after five Tory prime ministers and 14 years of devastation inflicted on our services, communities and living standards generally.

2. Millions hope against hope that a government led by Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer will be different.  What is needed is money for council services, investment in our NHS, and a fully funded decent pay rise for public sector workers.

3. But Starmer has promised none of that. His watchword is ‘fiscal discipline’ – cuts. The backing given by Starmer’s Labour Party to Israel’s barbarous war on the Palestinians, meekly following the Tory government’s lead, is another indication of what we can expect from them in office. If they won’t protest against the mass murder and the destruction of Gaza, what confidence can we have that they will fight to protect local services, jobs, wages and benefits here?

4. We agree that we oppose Labour councils continuing to carry out Tory cuts and note that the council elections that will take place on 2 May will be the last round of local elections before the general election. The councillors elected will effectively be our communities’ negotiators with the new government – for the funding we need to protect, improve and expand our vital local public services. But this will be against the backdrop of a funding crisis for councils, and clear signalling from all the establishment parties in parliament that the austerity squeeze on public spending will continue.

5. We acknowledge that our union [is affiliated to the Labour Party]/[does not currently have any political affiliation] and this frames what our branch can do within our union’s rules to ensure that workers’ interests find representation in the elections taking place this year.

6. Nonetheless, and within those rules, this branch resolves that, where they are taking place, our members should be encouraged to consider standing themselves as anti-cuts candidates in the local elections scheduled for May, noting that there is nothing in the rules that prevents them standing as candidates, in a personal capacity, for any party which truly supports trade unionist and socialist principles.

7. In addition, this branch resolves [as a branch to join]/[to support individual branch members acting in a personal capacity joining] with other local trade unionists, campaigners and socialists, where opportunities arise, to meet and discuss further what needs to be done to ensure there is a workers’ voice in the general election on the ballot paper, that defends the basic policies and principles of trade unionism and socialism.