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From The Socialist newspaper, 30 April 2015


TUSC candidates on the national march against racism, 21/03/15, photo Paul Mattsson

TUSC candidates on the national march against racism, 21/03/15, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

It's crunch time. As Britain heads to the polls - and awaits the outcome of subsequent political horse trading - who will fight for the interests of ordinary people?

Dave Nellist, national chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) speaks to the Socialist.

Why should people vote TUSC?

There is little to choose between in the establishment parties. All the main parties signed up in January to Tory Chancellor George Osborne's additional 30 billion of cuts by 2018.

In fact, there was an all-party consensus of 515 MPs in favour - and only 18 against. Of those against only five were Labour! So austerity wins whatever mix of parties forms the government after 7 May.

So to build the opposition against austerity - decent living standards, secure jobs on decent pay - we have to build a political alternative.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) was formed five years ago by the late Bob Crow, then general secretary of transport union RMT.

TUSC exists to give working people an independent, socialist voice. Every vote for TUSC on 7 May helps build a new party for ordinary people.

How do you counter the argument that voting for Labour is the 'lesser evil'?

Whichever main party wins the election, it means a continuation of austerity.

Of course TUSC is mindful that a small number of Labour members still prefer a socialist alternative. So, before the election, we organised delegations to Labour candidates. We asked them where they stood on fighting austerity, trade union rights, a 10 an hour minimum wage, an end to zero-hour contracts, and so on.

Where Labour candidates gave a clear pledge to campaign on these demands, we decided not to oppose them. But regretfully, those candidates were only a very small minority.

Labour these days is more about managing the existing capitalist economy. It's not about what the trade union movement set it up to do 100 years ago - that is, to challenge capitalism and the rule of the rich.

A change in 'management style' is simply not good enough for working people. TUSC is standing to begin the process of building a proper independent voice for the working class.

What role do you see TUSC playing after the election?

Firstly, TUSC has been fighting hard to gain a voice in this election. We are fielding 135 parliamentary candidates and 630 council candidates.

Numerically, we're the sixth-biggest party in this election - with more candidates than the SNP and Plaid Cymru put together. But that hasn't translated proportionately into the mainstream media coverage we deserve.

So on 7 May there will be many people who still won't know about our socialist alternative. That battle for news coverage still has to be fought.

But since austerity isn't ending on 7 May, neither are the pressing problems facing working people. And neither are our efforts to fight.

There is going to be a host of local battles against cuts - to save local libraries, day care centres, youth centres, to oppose divisive free schools and academies, and more.

In the next two years there will be elections for the Scottish parliament, and councils around the country.

TUSC campaigners and candidates are embedded within local communities where those anti-austerity battles are taking place. So come the next round of elections, particularly in 2016, I believe we could start to win more victories.

This May we have 22 former Labour councillors seeking election as TUSC candidates. Even if Labour is part of the next government, Labour councils will continue to cut local services.

Some Labour councillors may resist those cuts, as happened in Southampton, Warrington, Hull, Leicester and elsewhere. They too will inevitably be forced out of Labour. The only place these anti-cuts councillors can find a home is in TUSC.

TUSC will grow. How quickly that happens depends, to an extent, on some of those in the trade union movement. How quickly will those currently supporting Labour be forced to break away, and instead help build a new workers' party? TUSC is proud to be a key part of this vital process.

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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.

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In The Socialist 30 April 2015:

Socialist Party news and analysis

NHS in crisis

After the election: prepare for the battles to come

Establishment witch-hunt in Tower Hamlets

Rent controls? Another Labour fudge

And the rich just get richer!

Them & Us

The Socialist election schedule

International socialist news and analysis

125 years of May Day: Learn lessons of past struggles

Ireland: crucial stage for water charges

Greece: gold mining meeting

Special feature

Socialist plan or capitalist chaos

Why you should join the socialists

Elections 2015

Why the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition?

Why I'm standing

Key working class fighters rally to TUSC

Anti-cuts councillor set to defend seat

Pop star and activist Jawad Ahmad backs TUSC

Why many class fighters won't vote Labour

Socialist Party workplace news

Labour Party link dominates conference discussion

Dundee porters force NHS bosses to retreat

Glasgow homelessness caseworkers' strike

MoD IT workers demand decent pay

Bromley workers escalate strikes

Bradford bus drivers strike against job losses

Wales: Hundreds protest cuts to adult education

Barking bin workers walkout over pay cuts

May Day Greetings

May Day Greetings in the Socialist 2015 - pdf


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