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Challenging the austerity parties
Britain needs a pay rise. It also needs a new mass party that stands firmly on the side of working people and their families, argues Dave Nellist, national chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).
The Tory-led coalition government has inflicted savage austerity on working class people over the last five years. Whatever combination of establishment parties make up the government after next May's general election, none of them intend to reverse that. May 2015 promises not a change of government, but merely a change of management style.
Such is the overlapping agenda amongst all the main parties now that, when Labour met at its Policy Forum in June, only 14 out of the 198 constituency and trade union delegates could be found to support a call opposing Ed Miliband and Ed Balls' plan to match Tory cuts pound for pound in the first year of the next parliament.
Meanwhile, reactionary Ukip is beginning to successfully harness people's anger, disillusioned by the establishment parties including Labour. But how do we stop that support for Ukip growing?
Working people urgently need a new party, but the one we need is one that is firmly rooted in the communities and organisations of the working class.
We need a party with a programme of socialist answers to working people's problems, not one that misdirects working people's anger towards recent arrivals to these shores.
We need a mass party, for example, that stands for public ownership, not private profit; opposes all cuts and fights for quality public services; would fully nationalise the banks and end tax avoidance by rich corporations and individuals; that would immediately scrap the bedroom tax and zero-hour contracts, build the homes we need to end waiting lists and bring in a £10 an hour minimum wage.
Above all we need a party that does not merely ask how best to impose austerity on behalf of the interests of big business - but challenges the domination of major companies and banks over the economy and believes that, in order to properly plan production and services to meet the needs of all, a democratic socialist society is needed run in the interests of people not millionaires.
In the last four years TUSC has enabled nearly 1,200 trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists to stand as candidates against the establishment parties in a common electoral campaign promoting opposition to austerity and campaigning for a socialist alternative. But we need to up our game.
TUSC is aiming for 1,000 anti-cuts council candidates and 100 anti-austerity parliamentary candidates in the May 2015 elections. This would be the biggest left of Labour challenge for 60 years, and would mean that in over 100 of the largest towns and cities a socialist alternative would be heard.
TUSC does not claim to be the final form of a new political voice for working people. It is, however, by far the best vehicle available at the moment for those trade unionists who recognise the establishment parties offer no answers, and who don't want to see disillusioned and dispirited former Labour voters haemorrhaging down the Ukip blind alley.
Ukip is a danger - but the bigger danger is not challenging the establishment parties and their overlapping agenda of austerity.
- See www.tusc.org.uk
In The Socialist 15 October 2014:
£££ Britain needs a pay rise
Fight the cuts!
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