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150 At Hayes Socialist Election Rally
A WEEK before the election, when media experts were proclaiming public apathy about politics, 150 people attended the Socialist Party local election rally in Hayes, west London.
Whole families turned out, including at least 30 children, to hear Joe Higgins Socialist Party TD, (MP) in the Irish parliament, who showed how even one Socialist MP making the workers' case, can make a difference.
Peter Taaffe, Socialist party general secretary, received a rapturous response as he outlined the case for socialism.
The meeting was made up of people from the local shops, and estates, single parents, members of the Asian community, and GMB stewards from the airport. Many people were attending their first political meeting.
Hayes Socialist Alternative candidate Wally Kennedy appealed for people to get involved with the Socialist Party and countered the racist propaganda in class terms about asylum seekers.
During the campaign, 67 people have applied to join the Socialist Party and over 400 people have attended campaign meetings.
As we explained that we have no big business backers, the meeting donated just under £800 to our fighting fund. One 13-year-old boy who had no money on him, was so enthused by the meeting that he insisted that he 'had to donate' and gave us an IOU out of his next week's pocket money.
The Labour Party have been seriously rattled by the campaign in Hayes. Afraid of debate, on our Saturday stall the Labour Party ordered drummers to drown out Wally Kennedy each time he used the megaphone to expose New Labour's pro-big business parties.
At the end of the election rally one young women asked Wally if he would come and speak at her house as it was the first time she had heard her kids be quiet!
The general election is not the end of our campaigns in Hayes.
After the election we will continue to fight, with the people of Hayes against Labour's big business policies.
In The Socialist 9 June 2001: