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Thursday 8 November 2018

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TUSC suspends electoral activity: National Steering Committee statement

The November 2018 meeting of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition national steering committee has agreed to suspend all TUSC electoral activity until further notice.

The TUSC name and logos can still be used in campaigning activity by local TUSC groups and the coalition's component organisations, but from now on the legally required certificates of authorisation needed for the TUSC name and emblem to appear on election ballot papers will no longer be issued by the TUSC national election agent.

This decision follows a period of discussion within TUSC around proposals submitted over the summer by the Socialist Party, one of the founding organisations of the coalition, to re-set the role of TUSC three years after the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/425.pdf).

Continuing the fight for anti-austerity action

All the component parts of TUSC remain firmly committed to continuing the fight against austerity policies and the politicians from whichever party who implement them. This includes campaigning against right-wing Labour councillors who undermine Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity message by voting in the council chambers for cuts to local public services.

TUSC will therefore continue to publish the detailed information on council reserves, and guidance material on how to prepare no-cuts 'Peoples Budgets', that has played an important role in aiding trade unionists, socialists and working class community campaigners to fight for a real anti-austerity stand by their local councillors.

Where there is not agreement, however, is on whether this campaign should extend to challenging right-wing Labour councillors at the ballot box in the May 2019 local elections, and it is this which underlies the steering committee's decision to suspend electoral activity.

Contesting elections

TUSC was established in 2010 to enable trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists from different parties and none, to stand against pro-austerity establishment politicians under a common banner and an agreed platform of core policies, periodically debated and revised at TUSC conferences.

Within that framework TUSC-authorised candidates were free to run their own campaigns and around 2,500 have done so since 2010, polling over 375,000 votes between them. All the component parts of TUSC remain proud of that record and the inclusive approach the coalition has pioneered in its nine-year existence (see TUSC Timeline below).

But at the November steering committee the representatives of the RMT transport union, another component organisation of TUSC, were unable to commit the union to authorising any TUSC candidates to stand in next year's local elections, even on the selective basis - against Blairite opponents of Jeremy Corbyn who are implementing austerity - that has operated in the past three years.

The union's special general meeting in May 2018 had decided not to re-affiliate to the Labour Party at this stage and instead to continue with its current independent political strategy. This includes retaining RMT representation on the TUSC steering committee and supporting election candidates that support the union's policies.

But with the extremely volatile and fluid situation in British politics the RMT reps could not take a definitive stance on whether or not the union would use its position on the steering committee to approve applications from prospective TUSC candidates to stand against right-wing Labour candidates in next May's council elections.

The Socialist Party representative indicated that, if there could not be an assurance that TUSC candidates would be authorised to stand (on the previously agreed selective basis and subject to the usual scrutiny procedure for applications), they would stand candidates next May under a separate banner.

On this basis the steering committee agreed to suspend TUSC's electoral activity until further notice.


Information

1. For interviews and any other information requests, please email: info@tusc.org.uk or call Clive Heemskerk, the TUSC National Election Agent on 020-8988-8773.