Over 550 candidates in place - with days to go before nominations close
The candidate count for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition's challenge in May's local elections has now reached 554, with just a week 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 as TUSC council candidates 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 (12th April) that "Labour is facing 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. A recent 150-strong meeting of Salford Against Cuts, for example, voted to support anti-cuts candidates in May. 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 (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/16950/26-03-2014/an-appeal-to-anti-austerity-campaigners-help-us-build-the-most-effective-possible-local-elections-challenge ).
The full list of the candidates so far can be found at www.tusc.org.uk/txt/295.pdf. If you submitted a candidate authorisation application form (from the TUSC website at http://www.tusc.org.uk/candidates.php ) before Tuesday 15th April and you don't appear on this list, get in touch urgently with the TUSC National Election Agent, Clive Heemskerk, at firstname.lastname@example.org If you are an election agent and you haven't received your candidates 'Certificates of Authorisation' also get in touch straight away. And, of course, if you've only decided now to become a candidate, get in touch at once too - this really is the last call to join the TUSC challenge on May 22nd.