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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 May 2014

Defend the right to campaign

Tom Nally, TUSC candidate for Plympton St Mary

The left-of-Labour challenge put up by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in Plymouth has received some significant press coverage. However, campaigners have also received some unwelcome attention.

Last October a campaign stall was erected in the city centre. Members of the public stopped to chat and buy the Socialist. A police officer stopped and told us we needed public liability insurance and that we were obstructing a public right of way. We were told to take down our table. We refused as the stall was tucked away, leaving plenty of room for the public to go about their business. Eventually the officer left and the stall stayed.

Similar exchanges with similar outcomes became a regular feature of our weekly stalls. Recently, with the local elections looming, visits from the officers have been increasing.

Recently, Ryan Aldridge, TUSC candidate for Ham ward, was told by a police officer that he could be arrested under the Terrorism Act for not taking the stall down. As ridiculous as it seems that someone could be arrested for not removing a pasting table with a cloth and some leaflets on it, it does suggest the scary prospect of police using the Terrorism Act to stifle political freedom.

Political move?

After the announcement that TUSC will be standing in all 19 wards of Plymouth on 22 May, I was out campaigning with a supporter.

Given that wind was forecast, we had left the pasting table at home. We were approached by a police officer who asked us if we were allowed to sell the Socialist. We explained that we were, but she radioed for back-up and three other officers joined her along with a Plymouth City Council City Centre Manager.

They told us we needed a Street Trading License in order to sell the paper. We tried to tell them that our paper was registered with the post office making us a news vendor selling newspapers that was exempt from needing street trading consent, as per the council's own legislation. After sometime they left us alone to continue to sell our paper.

Is the Plymouth City Council intimidating TUSC candidates and supporters for political reasons? Who is giving the orders to the police to intervene in non-criminal affairs?

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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In The Socialist 7 May 2014:


Socialist Party election campaigning

Fight cuts, Back strikes, Vote TUSC

More local news coverage for TUSC, but BBC downplays council elections

Join the TUSC Thunderclap

Defend the right to campaign

Why I'm standing for TUSC

Housing crisis: TUSC candidates demand socialist policies

Election appeal 2014 - 4,278 raised so far


Socialist Party feature

Prepare for almighty battles against austerity


International socialist news and analysis

$15: Seattle shows what a movement can achieve


Socialist Party news and analysis

Schools - Would things get better under Labour?

Private sector rents and Labour

Care homes abuse scandals

Pfizer takeover bid

Them & Us


Socialist Party workplace news

RMT forces London Underground to back down

Striking against Land Registry cuts

Care UK workers start 14 days of strike action

CWU conference - time to build Broad Left

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

We can scrap zero-hour contracts

No support for zero-hour contracts

RMT turns out in strength for May Day march

May Day rallies in Swansea and Ipswich

Battling the cuts: when push comes to shove

Freedom riders on a storm

Leeds protest against privatisation of student loans


 

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