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Manchester Socialist Party meeting against cuts
Matt Kilsby, Salford Socialist Party secretary
On 8th May a well attended meeting, called by the Greater Manchester Socialist Party, discussed the socialist programme for local government and how trade unionists, activists, students and community campaigners can unite to beat the cuts and the Bedroom Tax.
Kevin Bennett, the 'rebel' councillor in Warrington who has been suspended by the Labour group for taking an inspiring stand against the cuts, spoke on the pernicious impact of the cuts on jobs and services for the most vulnerable.
In standing up against the cuts, Kevin has been ostracised by his former Labour colleagues; a damning indictment of the Labour Party and its failure to mount any opposition to the Tories' attacks on local government.
Speaking after Kevin, Steve North the Salford City Unison branch secretary explained (in a personal capacity) the latest threats to privatise vital public services.
Unison members in Salford have helped lead a fightback against the cuts and have won some notable successes in saving jobs, services and fighting privatisation.
However, with 1.3 million members in Unison, it is clear that we need a fightback on a national scale, coordinated with other unions, in the form of a 24-hour general strike.
After a lively discussion, Terry Simmons, TUSC candidate (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) in an upcoming Salford council byelection, and Lawrence Maples from Manchester Socialist Students society spoke of the need for a united campaign to beat the cuts.
The meeting was also clear that a new mass workers' party is needed more than ever to defend us against the government and Labour councils that implement cuts without a whimper.
That is why TUSC is so important if we are to build an alternative to the three main cuts parties and the politics of despair, offered by Ukip and the far right.
A number of contributors spoke of the inspiring example of the Liverpool 47. Not as a history lesson on the 1980s' struggles but as an example of what can be achieved by militant working class action.
The meeting raised over £100 for the Socialist Party fighting fund and there was real interest in our ideas.
We recruited two new party members on the night and a number of people would like to get involved with TUSC.
So much so that there is a real possibility that we will be standing anti-cuts candidates in every ward in Salford at the next local elections.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 11 May 2013 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.