Friday, 16 January 2015
Help build an anti-cuts electoral alternative
Come to the TUSC conference, 24 January
Dave Nellist, TUSC national chairThe 7 May general election will be seen by many as an opportunity to ditch the Tory/Liberal Democrat coalition that has imposed the widest and deepest austerity for generations.
The first few days of January saw the 'formal' opening of the 2015 general election campaign. Many newspapers marked it by predicting the closest election for many years.
They were mainly referring to the outcome. Currently neither Labour nor the Tories seem likely to gain a working majority without support from another smaller party. But the description could even more accurately apply to the narrow political terrain on which the action is to be fought.
All four national parties of the establishment - Tory, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Ukip - are united in the central message of 'eliminating the deficit'. Despite, in some areas, plans already being in place for mass closures of libraries, community centres, children and family centres and most adult education - cuts sufficient to 'balance the budget' in the next parliament would need to be at least 50% greater in the next four years than the last. A horrifying prospect.
Even the Greens agree the necessity for cuts. Shortly before Christmas, on the BBC Daily Politics programme, Green leader Natalie Bennett said that, as part of a 'confidence and supply agreement', Green MPs would support a Labour cuts budget as a better alternative to a Tory cuts budget.
So what do you do if you're fundamentally opposed to continued wage freezes, the sacking of hundreds of thousands of public sector workers and the axing of essential public services?
You need something new.
Serious oppositionThe only prospect for trade unionists wishing to see serious political opposition to the continued diet of austerity from the main parties is the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). We need to push forward the development of TUSC into a viable electoral alternative.
That underlies the importance of the conference organised by TUSC on 24 January to discuss the May 2015 general election and local authority elections campaigns.
TUSC has set an ambitious target for next year's elections: 1,000 anti-cuts candidates in local council wards and 100 anti-austerity candidates in parliamentary constituencies. This would be the largest left of Labour, working class and socialist alternative, seen since the Second World War.
If these numbers can be achieved it should entitle TUSC to 'balanced media coverage' in the election period - including TV election broadcasts in England, Scotland and Wales.
The conference will be an opportunity for TUSC activists, candidates and organisers to meet others who are building an alternative to the austerity parties in their areas. Sessions at the conference will discuss the core policies, for both a general election and the local elections, on which TUSC candidates will stand in May.
Debates between the main four national parties will exaggerate synthetic differences of policy and artificially exaggerate secondary issues. Only the widespread standing of serious anti-austerity alternative candidates, rooted in the organisations and communities of the working class, can offer a genuine alternative in May.
TUSC 2015 elections conference
Student Central (formerly ULU), Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HY
Saturday 24 January, 11am to 4.30pmRegistration fee: £10 waged and £2 unwaged/low-waged
Capped pooled fare of £10The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is an electoral alliance that stands candidates against all cuts and privatisation. It involves the RMT transport workers' union, leading members of other trade unions including the PCS, NUT and POA, as well as the Socialist Party and other left and anti-cuts groups and individuals.
For transport details from Stoke-on-Trent and across Staffordshire please call Andy on 07845893607
Wednesday, 14 January 2015
DEFEND THE PCS!
TUSC Stoke & Staffordshire supporters stand in solidarity with PCS members and offer any support we can give to the fight to save their union from a vicious attack from the Tory government. We also appeal to all other trade unionists and workers to support the fight of PCS members to defend their union.
The PCS has been a thorn in the side of the Tory government and has played a crucial role in leading the fight back against their savage austerity measures. Their fight is our fight!
Why the Tories are attacking PCS (a PCS statement)
The Tories are trying to undermine PCS as its foremost critic in the trade union movement. Our work on challenging austerity and importantly our campaign to promote an alternative, including our Tax justice campaign, have been widely supported and embarrassed the government.
Our campaigning and industrial action has had some notable successes, including: winning over 1000 more jobs in the Passport Office, winning extra funding at Kew Gardens, stopping the privatisation of the Land Registry, and ensuring fixed term contracts have become permanent posts in HM Revenue & Customs.
These successes, among others, were delivered by a combination of industrial action, political campaigning and media work that pressured the government into backtracking.
It is because our union is a block on the government’s attacks that they are going on the offensive against PCS. Our effectiveness has made us a target. More ............
A statement from LEFT UNITY in the PCS
PCS has been the backbone of resistance to the coalition government’s austerity cuts and privatisation programme. Because of that we now face an all out assault aimed at destroying our ability to represent members and defend jobs, conditions and services. This is the most serious attack on trade union and democratic rights since the Miners Strike. The principal purpose of this attack is to destroy any organised resistance to the destruction of the public sector under the guise of austerity. More ...............
Tuesday, 6 January 2015
TUSC general election candidate Matt Wright was born, grew up and still lives in Longton. Matt is a real Socialist who has been a tireless campaigner for ordinary hard working people across the area for many years.
“This isn’t the first time that I’ve stood as a TUSC candidate, but I’m pretty sure it’s the most important.
In the 4 years since I stood in the last general election the Conservatives, aided by the Lib Dems, have set about dismantling our welfare state and public services with a wrecking ball.
The sad thing is that the party who’s supposed to represent ordinary working class people like myself, Labour, have offered no alternative to the march of endless cuts and austerity. In fact, in many councils across England it is Labour councillors who are doing the Tory’s dirty work for them by meekly passing on cuts to much needed services.
I’ve worked in the NHS for 7 years and currently work in acute mental health. I work with a lot of people who have fallen through the cracks in society, cracks that have only grown larger under this government. During my time in the NHS I’ve seen services slashed and privatised with little regard to patient well-being or safety. Look where we are now, on the cusp of the whole cancer and end of life care pathway across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire being privatised. This would represent the single biggest sell-off of front line NHS services ever, and it’s right on our door step! Ask yourself this – if you were unlucky enough to be diagnosed with cancer would you want your care delivered by an organisation that exists solely to make a profit?
We are being force fed an endless mantra from all of the establishment political parties and the mass media that we need to make more cuts in our jobs and services with no end in sight. I’m proud to stand for TUSC that rejects this logic. While our services have been slashed and privatised the wealth of the richest in this country has skyrocketed. While MPs give themselves a 10% pay rise NHS workers and other government employees have had their pay frozen for 5 years – equal to a 10% pay cut. Half a million people have to depend on food banks in order to survive, and hundreds are dying after being declared fit to work and losing their benefits in the seventh richest country in the world.
This is a disgrace and I make no apologies for saying that I stand up for everyone who has been trampled under foot by this government of millionaires.
I am standing to say that there is an alternative to endless cuts. Why should hard working people have to pay for a crisis caused by the super rich and the bail out of the bankers? I say we need to turn this around.
For a start we need to collect the £120 billion in unpaid and avoided tax by big business. Doing this alone would make any cuts unnecessary. This would be further enforced by bringing banks and finance institutions into genuine public ownership under democratic control, instead of giving huge handouts to the very capitalists who caused the crisis.
If elected I would take only the average wage of a skilled worker in my area and produce regular details of expenses.
As an MP I would continue to campaign for an immediate end to zero hour contracts and for the minimum wage to be raised to £10 an hour now, with increases in line with inflation or wages, whichever is higher. Britain needs a pay rise!
I have campaigned for many years against Stoke-on-Trent city council’s continuing policy of meekly carrying out government cuts, closures and privatisation of our council jobs and services. As an MP I would use all powers available to me to demand instead that the city council works with council workers and the city’s residents to agree a budget based on the funding that we NEED to maintain and restore local services instead of what the government says we can have. That applies to ANY incoming government."
- For more TUSC polices see http://www.tusc.org.uk/policy