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8 May 2017
Packed Walthamstow Socialist Party meeting discusses the general election
Ian Pattison, Waltham Forest Socialist Party
Waltham Forest Socialist Party had our biggest meeting of 2017 so far. 31 people from across the anti-austerity movement crammed into our meeting room in Walthamstow. It was an opportunity to hear what socialists are doing in the general election. Working class fighters, desperate to see the back of the Tories and urging Jeremy Corbyn on, lifted the room.
Jeremy Corbyn's policies are hugely popular. But you won't hear about them from most Labour MPs. One of the local MPs, Blairite Stella Creasy, has sent a leaflet to every house in the constituency. Creasy claims responsibility for the victory of the successful campaign of the Butterfields tenants to stay in their homes. It's no surprise that the Socialist Party, that played a key role, isn't mentioned. But the biggest omission is the tenants themselves!
Sarah Wrack, editor of the Socialist and a local member, kicked off the discussion. Claire, one of a dozen teaching assistants who lost their jobs through conniving council cuts followed her, appealing for support for their campaign.
Len, an NHS worker, angrily condemned health cuts. But he also inspired the meeting with news of a recent unofficial walkout and victory by domestic staff at the Royal London hospital who won back their tea break just hours after it was removed.
Paula said she was worried about staying in her home if Tory cuts continue, while paying for her kids' university education. But she also said that could all change if Jeremy Corbyn wins and implements his programme.
Linda Taaffe, secretary of Waltham Forest trades union council, told the meeting about how they initiated the Waltham Forest Housing Action Network which is campaigning in Newham at the moment with One Housing tenants who face shocking rent rises. Linda reported that those tenants were on the verge of victory.
Three Tamil Solidarity members addressed the meeting, talking about the Refugee Rights campaign. Kevin, the local Unite branch secretary, stressed that the trade union movement needed to 'step up'. Real trade union action to improve people's lives demonstrates genuine solidarity against racism.
Nancy said that whether Corbyn wins or loses, we need to fight back. She appealed for people to join the Socialist Party while we campaign for that both during and after the election.
The Socialist Party is campaigning on the streets during the election for the socialist policies that we think can help Corbyn to kick out the Tories. Our next meetings will continue the discussion: On 11th May, How can we fight education cuts?); and 18th May , Is Jeremy Corbyn's programme possible?.
£94.52 was raised in the financial appeal and three new people expressed interest in joining the Socialist Party.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 8 May 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.
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