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Liverpool TUSC rally: Rebuilding working class political representation
The mood at Liverpool TUSC's pre-election rally on Wednesday was one of confidence and determination. Over 150 people attended, reflecting an appetite for an alternative to the bosses' parties.
The rally was addressed by five speakers, each offering a unique and important contribution.
Daren Ireland, North West regional organiser for the RMT transport union, began by affirming his union's backing for both TUSC nationally and for local parliamentary candidates Tony Mulhearn and Dave Walsh.
Daren, himself a council TUSC candidate in Princes Park ward, gave a clear assessment of the bankruptcy of Labour, highlighting the fact that any party committed to a continuation of some of the most vicious and repressive anti-trade union laws in the western world is very definitely not on the side of working people.
The betrayals of the Labour party remained a theme throughout, but these were contrasted with the record of TUSC supporters and the socialist policies needed to put an end to austerity and cuts.
In particular, the courage and determination of Tony Mulhearn and the rest of the 47 councillors who stood up to Tory prime minister Thatcher in the 1980s, was compared with the cowardly role being played by Liverpool's current Labour mayor and council, who have implemented savage cuts at the behest of the Tories.
'Eating or heating'
Kellie Butchard, a libraries campaigner and mum to three young children, described the brutality facing so many working class people like her. The 'choice' between eating and heating was the kind of dilemma she had faced. But, as Kellie explained, her anger at the cold cruelty of the cuts had motivated her to stand as a TUSC council candidate in her home borough of Knowsley.
Marion Lloyd, from the PCS union's national executive spoke (in a personal capacity) about the vicious attacks that her trade union is facing from the government.
She pointed to the importance of workers organising collectively in their workplaces, and of taking industrial action to defend and improve conditions.
But she also emphasised that without political representation, workers are fighting with one hand tied behind their backs.
Tony Mulhearn, who is the TUSC parliamentary candidate for Liverpool Riverside, was able to draw together some of the threads raised by previous speakers and set out the case for voting TUSC on 7 May.
Applause followed his calls for an end to cuts, for investment in jobs, homes and services and for the nationalisation of the banks.
Ireland water charges rebellion
The final speaker - Republic of Ireland Socialist Party TD (MP) Paul Murphy - brought solidarity greetings from Anti-Austerity Alliance campaigners against water charges in Ireland. He was able to set the TUSC challenge in an international context: a context of rebellion against austerity and the breakdown of establishment parties across Europe.
This rounded off the rally and left the audience abuzz about the possibility of following in the footsteps of Greek and Irish workers and building rejection of austerity in Britain both at the ballot box and on the streets.
Over £1,000 was collected in donations from the audience - reflecting a confidence in the ideas put forward.
With less than a week left to the election, the rally has given a boost to the TUSC campaign locally and inspired new activists to get involved.
It has set us in good stead to increase support for TUSC on 7 May, and to continue the work of rebuilding working class political representation in Liverpool in the period which follows it.