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Over 550 TUSC no-cuts candidates in place
As we go to press the candidate count for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition's no-cuts challenge in May's local elections has reached 554, with a few days to go before nominations close.
Whatever the final tally is - and the official nomination process is full of pitfalls designed to intimidate working class people from participating in 'politics' - it has been a massive achievement to put such a challenge in place.
And it is a real coalition that has been assembled to make sure the establishment parties don't have it all their own way - of trade unionists, community campaigners, and members of different socialist organisations.
The number of RMT members standing has now reached 54, from the union's assistant general secretary through to regional council officers, branch secretaries, industrial reps and workplace activists.
And, while the Unite union general secretary Len McCluskey tells the Guardian that Labour will face "a defining moment" at its policy forum in July, in May 137 Unite members will be standing under the TUSC umbrella, including the Southampton 'rebel' councillor and Unite member, Keith Morrell, expelled from the Labour Party for voting against the cuts.
There are a broad range of working class community fighters in anti-bedroom tax organisations, local save our services groups, disabled people against cuts campaigns, etc who want to link their struggle with others by standing for election under the TUSC name.
One of the Salford TUSC candidates is an anti-fracking activist at the Barton Moss protest.
And there is a political spread. Candidates from the TUSC constituent socialist organisations, the Socialist Party, the SWP, and the non-affiliated individuals organised in the Independent Socialist Network.
And candidates who are members of organisations not currently part of the TUSC coalition - a couple of Labour Party members (not for much longer!), and some who are members of Left Unity or Respect, who have taken up TUSC's offer to participate in the campaign with the same rights as other candidates to promote their organisations.
The full list of the candidates so far can be found at www.tusc.org.uk/txt/295.pdf.
Vote TUSC to axe the bedroom tax
To be honest I've never been interested in politics. When I turned 18 I voted just because I could.
It soon became apparent to me that all of the parties were much the same and as a voter, I became dejected and confused at the cold, detached two-faced, greedy vibe from these parties who promised the earth and yet took away the moon.
Years rolled by and my disinterest in politics changed when the bedroom tax was introduced. I, and many others, am fighting to keep a bedroom, unlike the many politicians who drain the public purse for a second home.
How can they justify this suffocating tax that affects the most vulnerable in our society?
I was in a lot of debt due to the bedroom tax. It made my depression worse and I was very scared.
I am one of the lucky ones, I knew where to go for help and advice. I believe there are many more people affected by this dreadful tax that we don't know about. People who don't know they have or can have a voice, who think they are alone.
Well you are not alone and you do have a voice. Vote TUSC! We don't promise you the earth, but we do promise to fight alongside you. Together we will fight to scrap the bedroom tax!
Sarah Smith, Coventry
Successful meeting to launch TUSC in Grimsby
"A new party 'for working class' unveils candidates" was the headline in the Grimsby Evening Telegraph after a public meeting on 14 April to launch TUSC.
Dave Mitchell, who chaired the meeting, opened by introducing the nine candidates standing in Grimsby in May's election, explaining what we stand for and how we can make a difference if elected.
The meeting also heard from Malcolm Moorland, former Lib Dem and Labour councillor now standing for TUSC.
Malcolm criticised the record of both parties in the area stating that "the main parties don't represent the working class" and argued that Ukip was not an alternative.
Socialist Party activist Mike Forster said: "Labour has moved so far to the right that you can't put a fag paper between the Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems.
"The working class no longer has a voice. People have lost faith in politicians ... We are class fighters and we are not going to sell out our class.
"That's the difference between TUSC and all the other political parties standing in this election."
Showing that these points struck a chord, we signed up one new Socialist Party member on the night with a further eight expressing an interest in finding out more.
An RMT member who will be standing as a TUSC candidate went to her local pub seeking the ten names for her nomination form.
They put her on a table and she spoke about what TUSC stands for and why she was standing for TUSC. She got a round of applause and her ten names. Now that's the way to do it!
Can you imagine any Labour or other party candidate doing that? They'd be booed off the premises.
Fighting for a fair, socialist society
All recent governments have attacked the hard-won rights of the trade union movement such as paid holidays and the NHS. With the serious weakening of the unions' position in the Labour party, will these rights survive the vicious cuts the three main parties want to implement to fix the crisis caused by the bosses?
Do we want to live in a society which makes you pay for decent healthcare as politicians cut funding to the NHS? Anyone with a heart would want a society where everyone has a good living standard with equal opportunity to get where they want in life no matter the wealth of their families. These simple ideas of socialism have been abandoned by Labour.
I'm proud to say that I will be standing as a TUSC candidate and doing my bit to bring in a fair socialist society for all.
As Ralph Nader said: "If you don't turn onto politics, then politics will turn on you". Don't sit by idly and let the Tories sell off what you hold dear, resist.
Aidan O'Toole, Nuneaton
Election appeal 2014 - £1,570 raised so far
The Socialist Party is appealing for £15,000 to help finance our election campaigns for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in the council and mayoral elections and No2EU in the European elections.
A proportion of the appeal will also go to support the campaign of the Workers And Socialist Party (WASP) in the general election in South Africa.
We are already getting a great response from our readers. Thanks to: a reader in Oman £50; members in Leeds £250; Dave Sharp £10; Neil Wareham £25; Steve Poole £20; Ken Braben £20; members in Peterborough/Huntingdon branch £200; the Socialist reader Beryl £35; members in Llanelli branch £100; Paul Gerrard £50; members in Bristol North, Exeter and Plymouth branches £70, and £5 from a member in Birmingham south-east branch.
We need to urgently raise this money in the next four weeks - if you can't pay immediately can you pledge an amount to be redeemed by the end of May? You can donate via the 'Election appeal' button on our website www.socialistparty.org.uk or telephone 020 89888777.
Please make cheques payable to the Socialist Party and send to: Election appeal, PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD.
Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777
Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206
Regional Socialist Party organisers:
Eastern: 0798 202 1969
East Mids: 0773 797 8057
London: 020 8988 8786
North East: 0784 114 4890
North West 07954 376 096
South East: 020 8988 8777
South West: 07759 796 478
Southern: 07833 681910
Wales: 07935 391 947
West Mids: 02476 555 620
Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551