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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.
In The Socialist 30 April 2015:
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International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
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