TUSC supporters meet for North West conference
Over 40 people crammed into TUSC's North West regional conference on Saturday 22 November, to map out plans for TUSC over the next year.
Trade unionists, students, community campaigners, socialists and activists from across the region contributed to the discussions.
The former Liverpool Labour city councillor Tony Mulhearn, recently selected to fight Liverpool Riverside at the general election for TUSC, introduced the first discussion. "A madness is infecting politics", said Tony, in the vacuum created by no mass voice for working-class people, and expressed in the rise of UKIP, the return of fraudster minister Laws to political prominence, while unions like the PCS face a massive assault on their basic right to organise.
"The main enemy is the Con-Dem government and UKIP, but the biggest obstacle to creating the necessary new mass alternative is New Labour", Tony explained. TUSC campaigns for the unions and union activists to break the link with New Labour, whose ministers have lined up to spell out their promised continuation of Tory policies if they win next year's elections. "Voting TUSC is a shot across the bows of the main parties, helping to lay the basis for a new mass socialist party".
Reports were given of local cuts and local campaigns, possibilities for TUSC sketched out, plans for TUSC candidates identified, developments in the unions explained, and the role of Labour and how to challenge UKIP were debated. The 'People's Vote for the NHS' pledges were highlighted, a series of pro-NHS policies which candidates are being encouraged to endorse. Conference agreed to contact the campaign, supporting the spirit of the pledges but making clear that TUSC would go a lot further in repealing all the Tories' and New Labour's privatisation and marketisation policies, and draw this to the attention of prospective TUSC candidates in the region. The campaign is online here http://www.peoplesvotefornhs.org.uk/
Workshops on building TUSC in the unions, in communities, and 'involving independent socialists' came up with numerous ideas that were reported back to the full conference, which concluded with a discussion on finance, a contribution from Nick Wrack on behalf of the Independent Socialist Network (representing non-aligned individuals in TUSC), and an appeal to attend TUSC's national conference on 24 January.
A powerful speech from RMT regional organiser Daren Ireland closed the conference. "Voting for the status quo is not the answer, we need to build an alternative to the right-wing consensus. People are looking for an alternative and UKIP isn't it. Either we can continue getting kicked, or we can go out and fight!".