Leicester TUSC Candidates
Leicester TUSC Candidates

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is standing 40 candidates in this election. To see if you can vote for an anti-cuts, anti-war campaigner visit www.tusc.org.uk

“The working-class movement did not have to be in the position that it is now of having no cohered electoral alternative” to the capitalist politicians on 4 July, argues the editorial in the latest edition of the Socialist Party’s monthly magazine, Socialism Today.

There are numerous anti-war and anti-austerity independent and smaller party contenders on the ballot but a maximum co-ordination has not been achieved. In some constituencies where TUSC is standing, for example, there are also candidates from the Workers Party of Britain.

The Workers Party has attended the all-Britain TUSC steering committee meetings since March 2022, including discussions preparing for the general election. In November, and again in January, they explained their strategy was to “make a targeted incursion at the next election under our own name” in four or five priority seats, while being “prepared to negotiate if there are clashes” elsewhere. That was consistent with their approach to local elections, only fielding 25 and 11 council candidates in 2021 and 2022 (and none in 2023) compared to over 200 each time for TUSC.

The Workers Party’s strategy changed after the Rochdale by-election, to standing as widely as possible with the aim of qualifying for ‘Short Money’ state funding by winning 150,000 votes. With the ‘snap’ character of the election leaving them, they insisted, “really no time to coordinate as we would have liked”, they informed the TUSC steering committee meeting taking final candidate decisions on 3 June that “this will mean a number of clashes between the Workers Party and TUSC in the general election which are regrettable but at this stage unavoidable”.

We do not accept, however, that they were all ‘unavoidable’. With their final candidate list announcement on 6 June the Workers Party write of “engaging with independents and other groups” and having “successfully resolved a large number of contested seats”. So why not more of the TUSC candidates, like Dave Nellist in Coventry East or proven campaigner Nancy Taaffe in Walthamstow?

Nevertheless, as the Socialism Today editorial concludes, “ultimately it is not the Workers Party nor the individuals who have come forward with the best intentions to stand as candidates for them or as independents who are responsible for the current situation” – but the “authoritative workers’ leaders and organisations” who had failed to establish a new mass workers’ party or at least an organised workers’ list ready for the election. That will be one of the key lessons from the election to discuss on 5 July.