Walthamstow SoS demo, 24.2.18, photo Paul Mattsson

Walthamstow SoS demo, 24.2.18, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Theo Sharieff, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

Socialist Party activists and local residents attended a meeting on 3 March organised by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in Walthamstow. We announced TUSC’s electoral challenge to right-wing Labour councillors responsible for driving through plans to construct four tower blocks of luxury flats in the centre of the borough.

The demonstration in Walthamstow town centre on 24 February, which 600 people attended, demonstrated the scale of the anger which exists against the corporate takeover of public land. Many people in the borough will now be looking to the local elections in May as an opportunity to exact revenge on councillors who have undemocratically supported the ‘monster block’ development.

Some people in the Save Our Square campaign understandably raised at the meeting the idea of standing candidates on a single- issue basis, as a step towards creating a broad alliance with multiple candidates on an ‘anti-monster block’ ticket.

The Socialist Party is not opposed to such broad alliances. Wherever it can, the Socialist Party seeks to work with members of other organisations and individuals on a principled basis and has a track record of doing so. We encourage people to come forward as candidates.

Nancy Taaffe, Socialist Party member and local housing campaigner, raised the need to not only discuss anti-monster block candidates, but also to discuss what lies further down the road.

The question was also raised in the meeting about lending support within the campaign to Tory and Liberal candidates who have, in words, opposed the monster block. Campaigners in the meeting responded to these questions by highlighting the role the Conservatives and Lib Dems have played both nationally and locally in supporting policies which have created the housing crisis.

TUSC supporters plan to stand in every ward across Waltham Forest on an anti-cuts basis. We stated at the meeting that any local resident wishing to stand in the local elections is welcome to stand on the TUSC platform of setting legal no-cuts budgets, voting against cuts in the council chamber, and building campaigns locally to win extra funding from the Tories in central government.