Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 16 February 2011

Labour councillors' arguments refuted at People's Convention

At the People's Convention on 12 February, organised by the Right to Work campaign and the Labour Representation Committee, there was a debate on how councillors could fight the cuts.

Jane James

Labour councillors tried to explain why they could not vote against the cuts. Charlynne Pullen from Islington said central government was responsible for 85% of their funding while the council could only raise 14-15% from the council tax.

So the council could not provide services alone - cuts would have to be made, she said, but they would be kinder cuts than Tories would make.

Barry Buitekant, a Hackney Labour councillor, called on council workers to 'put pressure' on councillors to vote against the cuts. But Socialist Party deputy general secretary Hannah Sell pointed out from the floor that Hackney council workers in Unison had already voted at a mass meeting to call on all Labour councils to pass needs-based budgets instead of voting for cuts. What more pressure did he need?

Dave Nellist, a Coventry Socialist Party councillor spoke from the platform and explained that councillors do have a choice. They could return privatised services to council control, they could fund EMA, and refuse to implement housing benefit changes for example.

He called on Labour councils to follow the example of Clay Cross councillors in Derbyshire in the 1970s who refused to implement the Housing Finance Act. They even melted down the mayor's chain to pay for services. If one council today made a stand, the cuts could be unworkable.

The struggles fought and won by past action were often illegal. Poplar council introduced equal pay and a minimum wage. They were eventually jailed but carried on running the council from their prison cells.

Clay Cross councillors were surcharged and banned from holding office but hundreds were willing to take their place.

20 councils stood up to the Tories in the 1980s with Lambeth and Liverpool refusing to implement cuts, building houses instead.

Dave explained that councillors can't be surcharged anymore. And if a mass movement is built, if the government attempts to send in commissioners, they would be stopped from carrying out their duties by the huge opposition.

Dave called for a one-day public sector strike after the 26 March TUC demo. And for anti-cuts candidates to stand in the May elections under the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition banner.

He finished by declaring: "We should take up the slogan of the Poplar struggle: 'Better to break the law than break the poor'".

The conference agreed to back the demonstrations taking place in Wales and London on 5 March

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - 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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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 special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 16 February 2011:

Anti-cuts campaign

Join the fightback against cuts!

Labour councillors' arguments refuted at People's Convention

The Tories and the City

Hundreds pack into Liverpool meeting against cuts

Private tenants are the poor relations in housing

News in brief

International socialist news and analysis

Egypt: What next after the overthrow of mubarak?

Egypt - the revolution must go on

Hopes and fears in the upcoming Irish election: Socialist Party support increasing amongst working class

Workplace news and analysis

Defending jobs in South Wales

Portsmouth anti-cuts campaign presents an alternative

Rawmarsh teachers' action wins reprieve

No to Cutts!

UCU members prepare for battle on pensions and pay

Defend the Four!

Workplace news in brief


Greenwich marches against brutal council cuts

Worcester: end the cuts and the coalition!

Reject 'TINA'- fight for socialism

Action across the country - fighting all council cuts

Marxist analysis: history

Britain 1911-1914: The great unrest - lessons for today

Socialist Students

Tuition fees increase spells misery for students: Build a united fightback!

Socialist Party reviews

Construction Safety Campaign

Mark Thomas: Extreme rambling


Home   |   The Socialist 16 February 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleLabour payouts: unions must discuss political representation

triangle100 years since the foundation of the Communist Party of Great Britain

triangleTime to relaunch TUSC

triangleLuton Council sunk by airport investment: fight for funding, not speculation!

triangleHugely significant council workers' strike continues


triangleUnite union branch pledges to support socialist candidates who oppose cuts

triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: How to fight the cuts

triangleFighting for over 250 jobs that are under threat at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Photo M Kamish

triangleOnline rally: Fight the London transport funding cuts!


triangleEngage for Change Hull - trade union youth festival goes online

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleTV: Ross Kemp - Living with Forced Out Families


triangleSocialist Party & Unison NEC member Hugo Pierre (centre), alongside others, taking part in the 8 August health workers' protests for a 15% pay increase. Photo Sarah SE

triangleYoung Socialists and Socialist Students day of action

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



'First you clap us then you slap us'


Young Socialists

Young Socialist day of action


Socialist Party

Campaign stalls on jobs, pay, NHS and racism


Black Lives Matter

North London: Socialist Party speaks at BLM protest



Engage for Change Hull - trade union youth festival goes online


Socialist Party

Why I joined - Covid changed my outlook


Socialist Party

Socialist Party meetings: Online and in-person


Young Socialists

A-level results day 2020: Fight for our future!



GE Aviation workers march to save jobs



80 years since the murder of Leon Trotsky rally



Fighting to end racism and capitalism



Doncaster: Vigil for murdered women


The Socialist

The Socialist summer schedule



Unite union branch pledges to support socialist candidates who oppose cuts



Oppose BT site closures - national strike ballot needed

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020