About the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Posted: 20 October 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) was set-up in 2010 with the primary goal of enabling trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists to stand candidates against pro-austerity establishment politicians.
Under Britain's election laws candidates can only appear on the ballot paper as an 'Independent' if they are not endorsed by a registered political party. That doesn't allow trade unionists or local anti-cuts campaigners to distinguish themselves as standing for something different to the mainstream. But using the TUSC name does.
Since 2010 hundreds of candidates have stood under the TUSC umbrella, polling over 350,000 votes.
A few have won council seats - while the TUSC candidate for Liverpool mayor in 2016 polled 4,950 votes (5.1%), coming in ahead of the Tories. This was the second time that TUSC has outpolled the Tories, the governing party, in a Mayoral election in Britain's eighth biggest city. TUSC candidates' average vote in local elections has been around 5%, despite a general media blackout.
Local community groups, trade unionists and anti-cuts candidates who want to stand under the TUSC banner have autonomy to run their own campaigns. The only provision is that candidates are expected to endorse the TUSC core policy platform for the relevant election (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/policy.php).
New political situation
TUSC supported Jeremy Corbyn's election as Labour Party leader. His victory has, of course, changed the political situation compared to the time TUSC was set-up.
But even when TUSC was established in 2010 we recognised, in the words of our founding statement, that there were Labour representatives "who share our socialist aspirations" who would be supported by our coalition. Jeremy Corbyn obviously comes into that category. Equally obviously the Blairite Labour MPs and local councillors who oppose him do not.
TUSC is committed to supporting the anti-austerity message of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership campaigns. Indeed, building the anti-austerity struggle is the only way his leadership can be sustained against the right-wing forces that still remain within the Labour Party and which are particularly entrenched amongst its elected representatives, in parliaments, assemblies and council chambers.
We will work with Jeremy and his supporters to try and make Labour nationally and locally a party that resists austerity in actions as well as words.
TUSC, co-founded by the late Bob Crow, is a coalition with a national steering committee which includes leading trade unionists from the RMT transport workers' union, the PCS civil servants union, the National Union of Teachers, the Fire Brigade Union, and the Prison Officers Association (see below).
The RMT's 2012 annual delegate general meeting (AGM) agreed that the union should be officially represented in TUSC, a decision that has been confirmed at all of its subsequent AGMs. The Socialist Party and the Socialist Workers Party also have committee places while individual members of TUSC who are not members of a constituent organisation elect their steering committee representatives at the TUSC conference.
The current structure of TUSC (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/384.pdf) is still an interim arrangement and discussions continue to take place on the best way to organise the TUSC coalition as it develops in the future.
But by providing a means for fighting trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists to work together, TUSC is already playing an important part in helping to build an alternative to pro-market, pro-cuts and pro-war politicians.
The TUSC national steering committee (at July 2015):
Representatives from the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers' union (RMT), the Socialist Party and the Socialist Workers Party.
Plus, in a personal capacity: Steve Gillan, POA General Secretary; Chris Baugh, PCS Assistant General Secretary; Joe Simpson, POA Assistant General Secretary; John McInally, PCS Vice-President; Ian Leahair, FBU National Executive; Anne Lemon, NUT national executive; Brian Caton, ex-POA General Secretary; Cllr Keith Morrell (Southampton).
Registered officers: Chairperson, Dave Nellist; National Nominating Officer, Clive Heemskerk