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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 March 2021

Why we need socialists in London city hall

Socialists campaigning in Enfield, London. Photo: Enfield TUSC

Socialists campaigning in Enfield, London. Photo: Enfield TUSC   (Click to enlarge)

Max Bacharach, Hackney Socialist Party

London was put into 'major incident' status on 8 January, with Covid-19 infection rates and hospital admissions soaring. Frontline workers have consistently paid the price. 57 Transport for London (TfL) staff, mostly bus drivers keeping the city moving, have lost their lives so far. They have had to fight for basic safety for a year and some, including Socialist Party members, have been suspended as a result.

A recent RMT survey found 60% of bus workers thought their employers, the private contractors who run London's 700 bus routes, "had taken no additional steps to protect staff safety since the emergence of the more infectious strain of Covid-19".

This is a shocking stain on Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is also chair of TfL. We all remember him making the most of his dad being an ex-bus driver when running for office - but where's his love for workers now? In October, deep into the corona crisis, Khan agreed a government 'support' package of violent cuts to TfL services and staff pensions.

And now Khan announces plans to hike Londoners' council tax by a whopping 100 a year. This is in a city of millionaires and billionaires, who Khan has openly courted. How exactly are workers and families, facing wage cuts, furlough and mass redundancies, supposed to find the cash?

With Khan firmly in the pocket of big business, there is the urgent need for working-class political representation in London. The Socialist Party is preparing to stand as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in the Greater London Assembly elections in May.

It is an opportunity to challenge the Tories, Labour cutters and the capitalists they serve, at a time of intense class anger. London bus drivers represented by Unite are striking over cuts and conditions, and more industrial action will surely follow (see 'Bus workers under attack and fighting back'). TUSC supports these and all strikes in the interests of workers' lives and livelihoods.

The Socialist Party is calling for a campaign to get socialists into city hall. We are appealing to all workers in struggle, the trade unions and other community activists to join our campaign. To stand as candidates, and to help raise the 20,000 needed to stand for London mayor. The fightback begins here.

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Finance appeal

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.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

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In The Socialist 3 March 2021:


Budget

Not a budget for the working class!

Public sector workers respond to the budget


News

President of 'big four' Labour-affiliated trade union joins TUSC committee

Women's health matters


International Women's Day

A fighting programme for women's rights and socialism

A history of International Women's Day


What we think

Liverpool Labour meltdown - Fight for socialist policies


School safety

Schools' safety - teachers demand fighting union strategy


Features

'Casino capitalism' - driving another potential financial Armageddon

1981: New Cross Massacre


Workplace

Bus workers under attack and fighting back

Manchester indefinite bus strike against 'fire and rehire'

HMRC: Pay deal agreed but at what cost?

British Gas strike

Sparks force bosses back but fight continues to stamp out deskilling

Reinstate victimised bus driver Declan Clune

RAF Leeming strike escalates

Tech workers walk out against 'fire and rehire'

Victory for Judith, defend Moe


Campaigns

Why we need socialists in London city hall

Socialist Students conference

Swansea BLM protest against racist police brutality

Union fight to save musicians' livelihoods

Labour surrenders to Tories in Devon

Determined to smash the fighting fund target to fuel election challenge in May


 

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