Claire Laker-Mansfield, Hackney Socialist Party
“Before I heard about TUSC, I was thinking I wouldn’t vote in the elections. Now I have a reason to.”
That was the reaction of one attendee at a Christian women’s community meeting in Hackney this Saturday.
The women were predominantly of West African origin. Discussion was conducted in two languages: French and English – very testing for someone with only GCSE language skills! Nana Asante, the TUSC prospective parliamentary candidate for Harrow East and former mayor of Harrow, addressed the gathering.
Nana gave a forceful description of the cruelty of austerity. But more importantly, she was able to give a sense of how we can fight it. Through community campaigns, trade unions taking action – and, crucially, by fighting for a political alternative to the big-business parties.
The rich discussion that followed grappled with many of the pressing questions on workers’ minds: do we have to vote Labour as the “lesser evil”? Are cuts necessary? How can we be organised to win?
Speakers drew on their experiences of day-to-day life. One woman, a care worker, talked about how the disabled people she looks after are made to suffer as the result of a crisis caused by the rich. Other speakers raised points on tax avoidance, pointing out the huge wealth concentrated in the hands of the super-rich 1%.
Nana explained why she herself – as a former Labour Party representative – feels it’s now necessary to build an alternative. She reminded the meeting that Labour itself would never have been set up if the “lesser evil” argument had prevailed.
We encouraged everyone there to attend the TUSC conference on Saturday 24 January, and get involved locally in the campaign – especially in the run-up to the election.