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Vote TUSC against the cuts in May elections

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing a range of candidates from across the unions and campaigns in capital for the Greater London Authority (GLA) elections on 3 May. Excitement is growing in the wake of the surprise victory of Respect’s George Galloway in Bradford West. Writes Simon Hardy.

GLA candidate Nick Wrack hit the nail on the head about Galloway’s vote: “George Galloway’s overwhelming win in Bradford West shows that Labour can no longer take its working class voters for granted. Labour has paid a huge price for its support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and its endorsement of the government’s austerity policies.”

Candidates include: socialist and black rights activist Gary Macfarlane; Mick Dooley, a leader of the recent successful rank and file electricians’ campaign on the building sites; train driver and RMT President, Alex Gordon; Steve Hedley, a rail worker and RMT London organiser; barrister Wrack, a member of TUSC’s national executive; and militants from Unison, the NUT and the POA.
Ed Miliband has made it clear that in local government Labour will not be the “dented shield” that even Kinnock promised in the 1980s as protection from Tory government cuts, since the Labour leadership today supports most of the cuts and austerity measures – the only difference being how quickly to implement them. There is a desperate need for an alternative to Labour. It is clear to many traditional Labour supporters that the Labour left is hopelessly weak and unable to pull the party away from the right wing consensus.
TUSC is standing on a platform of opposition to all cuts, for a living wage for all London workers and against privatisation. These are the core issues that put TUSC clearly at odds with Labour and the Coalition. A vote for TUSC is a vote for union rights and women’s rights, and against the pro-rich policies of the ruling Coalition. That much is true – but TUSC could be so much more.
What is holding back TUSC from achieving its full potential as an anti-cuts political alternative is that groups like the Socialist Party (SP) and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), as well as its main union backers, the RMT leadership, view it as solely an electoral platform; to be rolled out at elections times and then put under the dust covers until the next time.
But it should be part of a push towards a new mass working class party, not just an electoral alliance. A new party could be out on the streets on a day-to-day basis, showing people in practice what a political alternative really means. It should be on the picket lines not just on the ballot paper, leading occupations against library or hospital closures, leading the fight against NHS privatisation and actively participating in local struggles as a political force.
While it is good that there is slate of candidates standing against the cuts in the GLA elections, there is still an urgent need for a united political party rooted in the unions and the social movements with a clear alternative political strategy to reformism. We will not only be supporting TUSC but arguing that it and its union sponsors, the SP and SWP, plus the Communist Party and Respect – indeed the entire left – unites forces to create a new anticapitalist workers’ party in Britain and internationally.

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