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TUSC: the electoral alternative to the parties of the rich
Round-up across the country
All together in Liverpool to support TUSC mayoral stand
300 people attended the Liverpool pre-election rally for mayoral candidate Tony Mulhearn and other Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidates across Merseyside.
Raptuous applause was given to Tony Mulhearn when he condemned the greed and corruption of the bankers and prescribed that the banks be taken into public ownership.
He also condemned Liverpool Labour leader Joe Anderson for his cowardice in putting through cuts on behalf of millionaire government ministers.
Transport union RMT president Alex Gordon and civil service union PCS assistant general secretary Chris Baugh talked about the reaction of rail workers and civil servants to attacks on jobs and pensions.
Both said the way forward was planned, coordinated industrial action but also agreed that workers must have a political voice which can only start to be achieved when other trade unions get behind TUSC and abandon the Labour Party.
A Unite union representative from Mayr-Melnhof Packaging (MMP), Phil Potter, spoke about their lockout and subsequent sacking and how their employer took advantage of the anti-trade union laws to attack unionised workers in the print trade.
Children's author Alan Gibbons spoke about the attacks on libraries and pointed out that developing countries such as South Africa and India were expanding their libraries while the sixth richest country in the world was closing 600 of ours.
Raph Parkinson said how, as a young man in the 1980s, he saw the benefits first hand of a socialist council, which included Tony, fighting back.
Morag Reid, TUSC candidate for Rock Ferry in Wirral, said the fightback must begin now or young people would have no future.
Chair Roger Bannister announced that Liverpool playwright Jimmy McGovern and band member from the Farm, Peter Hooton, were there in support of Tony's campaign.
The meeting didn't finish until 10pm but everyone stayed until the end and many queued at the stalls to take bundles of leaflets to deliver in their own area. £820 was raised in a financial appeal for the TUSC candidates and 60 people stayed later still to talk to organisers.
Coventry: Campaigning against Labour's cuts friendly bubble
Dave Nellist speaking about TUSC at Socialism 2011
At a fantastic Coventry election rally over 80 people came along to hear the case for a socialist alternative to the big business parties.
Dave Nellist, Socialist Party councillor for St Michael's ward, standing for re-election, highlighted just some of the campaigns he has supported as a councillor.
He explained that without the Socialist Party, campaigns ranging from opposition to 'academy' schools, to challenging wars in the Middle East, would not have been heard in the same way.
Campaigners from the Save Foleshill Baths group presented Dave with an award as a show of thanks for his work in supporting their campaign.
Alex Gordon, TUSC lead candidate for the London-wide list Assembly election, spoke about the importance of building a working class alternative to the main parties' cuts agenda.
Dave Goodwin, an RMT transport union rep in Rugby and a TUSC candidate, called for others like him that are sick of the government's policies to stand up and do something about it.
From the floor a PCS civil service union rep explained that he used to vote Labour before moving to Coventry and realising that there was a viable alternative.
The Coventry Labour Party is so keen on maintaining a cosy cuts-friendly bubble that it is concentrating its election resources on trying to get rid of Dave Nellist, despite there being several marginal Tory seats in the city.
George Duggins, the deputy leader of the Labour-led council, told the Coventry Observer that Labour 'pinpointed' St Michael's ward and 'put a lot of work into winning it.'
As Dave told the local paper: "The fact Labour are more interested in getting rid of a left-wing critic speaks volumes about their role on the council."
London: Standing candidates with 'bottle' to fight cuts
Bob Crow speaking at the central London TUSC public meeting
There was only standing room left as almost 100 people attended the Waltham Forest Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) public meeting for the London elections to hear RMT transport union general secretary Bob Crow, and TUSC candidates Nancy Taaffe and Jenny Sutton.
Nancy, a library worker made redundant by the east London council's cuts, said that libraries were a great achievement for working class communities, the 'NHS for the mind' as put by Harry Potter author JK Rowling.
Waltham Forest has 37 Labour councillors and two Labour MPs. But instead of being any sort of resistance, the council has implemented the Con-Dems' cuts, sacked workers and closed buildings, including three libraries.
Nancy said that councils should set 'needs budgets' instead of implementing cuts on behalf of the government, but doing that needs political leaders with bottle.
Jenny, a further education (FE) lecturer and chair of the London UCU union FE section, spoke about how FE is being changed to suit the needs of employers instead of the needs of students, and this change started under Tony Blair's New Labour government.
Bob Crow explained why the RMT was officially supporting TUSC. The union had asked its 50 London branches whether it should support TUSC or Labour, and not one branch gave support to Labour.
The Labour Party today is nothing like the one that a predecessor of the RMT had helped to set up at the start of the 20th century.
Instead we need a new mass party for working people, and building TUSC is a step towards that.
Bob said there was no such thing as 'responsible capitalism', as it's a system based on inequality, and he spoke of the need for socialism.
Following a very enthusiastic response from members of the audience who spoke, the finance appeal raised almost £300 and people took away armfuls of leaflets and window posters to help spread the word about this challenge.
Chris Baugh, photo Socialist Party
"Bankers and the three main parties expect us to pay for their crisis. Public and private, employed and unemployed, women and men, young and old, black and white, disabled and able-bodied, we need strong trade unions and a political voice for working people. It is why I call for support for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates in the London Assembly elections."
Chris Baugh, PCS civil service union assistant general secretary
Fighting for media coverage
London Socialist Party regional orgainser Paula Mitchell gets appaulse for TUSC on the BBC's Question Time
The almost complete press blackout for the London Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition assembly election campaign was finally broken - albeit briefly - on BBC One's Question Time.
The contribution I made from the Question Time audience exposed the government "of the rich for the rich", the £750 billion stashed away by big business and the £120 billion that goes unpaid in tax, and that the Labour Party will not pledge to reverse the cuts.
The TUSC list in London is backed by the trade unions RMT and London FBU and has the backing of three trade union general secretaries. We won a lot of support from the studio audience, most of whom took away TUSC postcards.
But it was before the recording that some of the real cut and thrust took place.
Presenter David Dimbleby claimed that Question Time is 'our show' and that we can say what we like.
But TUSC candidate Ian Leahair was able to show that the programme carves out working class, anti-cuts voices. Why didn't they ask Ian, a FBU firefighters' union executive member, to sit on the panel?
I asked if they edit any of the audiences' points - Dimbleby said no, but that was not the experience of Socialist Party members in previous Question Time audiences.
In the unbroadcast warm-ups, I managed to get on the trial panel to engage in debate, and also in the warm-up question with the real panel.
The warm-up question was about Labour peers telling voters to vote for Ken Livingstone to be London mayor through gritted teeth.
I pointed out that, with hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs and services, if Livingstone stood up against the cuts he would romp home.
We hope our brief appearance will help give confidence to all those watching that fighting back is worthwhile.
But it is outrageous that we have to fight our way into the debate like this - trade unionists standing in the elections, fighting for a political voice for the millions against the parties of the millionaires ought to be headline news.
Swansea May Day trade union rally
The Swansea Trades Council 2012 May Day march and rally took place on 30 April.
Political speakers on behalf of Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party all explained why the cuts of the other parties were worse than those of their party.
But Ronnie Job, Trades Council secretary, reminded the rally that the day was also Workers' Memorial Day; a day to remember the workers who have suffered from capitalism's incessant drive for profits and to re-commit ourselves to fighting to end it.
He said that trade unionism is founded on the principles of solidarity and unity; that an injury to one is an injury to all.
In that spirit, Ronnie called for a fight against all cuts and a vote for TUSC on 3 May.
In The Socialist 2 May 2012:
Fighting the government attacks
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party workplace news
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition feature
Socialist Party campaigns
International socialist news and analysis
Environment and socialism