Posted: 10 January 2017
The crisis facing local public services is now so intense that it has become unavoidable news even for the tame establishment media. The flashpoint over Christmas was the situation in the NHS, including the tragic story of two patients waiting for attention in A&E unable to get a bed and literally dying on hospital trolleys.
But part of the reason for the crisis in the NHS is the parallel crisis in adult social care, which is provided by local councils. The years of council cuts - by Tory, Liberal Democrat but Labour councils too - has meant that there are record numbers, of elderly patients in particular, fit enough to be discharged but having to remain in their hospital bed because there is no social care provision to enable them to return to their home safely.
The mantra of all bar a handful of councillors has been, 'there is nothing we can do', 'we have no option' but to pass on Tory government cuts to council funding. But the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has explained that is just not true, councillors can fight back. And now more evidence for our arguments has come from the Carmarthenshire council branch of the public sector workers' union, UNISON, which has produced a 'No cuts' proposal for this year's council budget.
Posted: 26 November 2016
The November meeting of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee agreed the text of a new model letter to local government union branches, following up the letter to Labour councillors agreed last month (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/17319/20-10-2016/tusc-agrees-new-appeal-to-labour-councillors-to-join-the-fightback).
The letter to council workers is available as a Word document (at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/388.doc) so it can be adapted by local groups.
Posted: 25 November 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee has agreed the agenda for the TUSC conference to be held in London on January 28th.
The main conference session will be a forum under the heading, 'TUSC's role now and the 2017 elections', to explore how TUSC should operate in the welcome new political situation opened up by Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party.
This question has been debated constantly on the TUSC steering committee since Jeremy's first election victory in autumn 2015 and particularly since the defeat of the coup attempt by Labour's right-wing to unseat him this summer. Different positions have been put forward for consideration by the various components of the TUSC steering committee at our October and November meetings and we publish them here (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/387.pdf) as background information for the debate which will continue at the TUSC conference.
Posted: 8 November 2016
As the democratic credentials of 'official politics' are being increasingly questioned, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) recently chalked up a modest victory against establishment efforts to prevent alternative voices from being heard.
In the contests held this May for the directly-elected Mayors of Bristol and Liverpool councils the TUSC candidates suffered what can only be described as political censorship of the election addresses they submitted for inclusion in the Mayoral Election Booklets distributed to every elector.
Now, five months later, after formal complaints to the Returning Officers in the two cities, the national Electoral Commission has conceded that the councils' officers were making their own interpretation of the law when they insisted on amendments to the TUSC election addresses. In other words what happened was indeed an exercise in political censorship.
Posted: 20 October 2016
The first meeting of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee since Jeremy Corbyn's re-election as Labour Party leader took place on October 12.
One of the items discussed was what role TUSC could play in backing up Jeremy's leadership by encouraging Labour councillors to join the resistance to the Tories' continued attacks on local public services, so that Labour can be an anti-austerity party in action as well as words.
The text of a model letter to Labour councillors was agreed, as published below. It is also available as a Word document (Appeal to Labour councillors) for local TUSC groups and anti-cuts campaigners to adapt and use as part of their campaigning around the new round of council budget 'consultations' that will be starting soon.
Posted: 19 October 2016
Following a number of successful meetings held under the banner, Campaign for a Socialist Mersey Mayor, the Merseyside Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is writing to Labour's metro-mayor candidate, the Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram, to propose a joint campaign to save threatened hospitals on Merseyside and to support the RMT transport union against Merseytravel bosses.
The Unison public sector union national executive committee member and the Merseyside TUSC metro-mayoral spokesperson Roger Bannister says:
"Leaked plans show hospitals face merger and closure across Liverpool, and across the Merseyside and Cheshire region.
Posted: 11 October 2016
Warrington Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) made local headlines with their call for the town's council to come out clearly now against any plans for fracking in the area, following the government's recent decision to allow drilling to go ahead in Lancashire.
The Tory minister responsible for that decision, Sajid Javid, visited Warrington last year.
Under the heading, 'Council urged to ban fracking as concerns mount', the Warrington Guardian wrote that "former Fairfield and Howley TUSC councillor Kevin Bennett called on the authority to ban it in Warrington and fight for public ownership of energy, as well as 'mass investment' in green technology.
Posted: 5 October 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) openly supported Jeremy Corbyn's re-election as Labour Party leader. Since TUSC was established in 2010 we have always 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 MPs who want to unseat him do not. But that subtlety is lost by the establishment media - deliberately so - as they search for scare stories about 'sinister left-wingers' behind the Corbyn phenomenon.
The latest example is the 'revelation' that the Hillsborough Justice campaigner Shelia Coleman, who introduced Jeremy Corbyn's leader's speech at the recent Labour Party conference, signed the nomination papers for the TUSC candidate in her local Princes' Park ward in this year's Liverpool city council elections.
Posted: 24 September 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) warmly welcomes the decisive re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as the Labour Party leader.
Ex-MP Dave Nellist, a former Labour backbench colleague of Jeremy Corbyn and now the chair of TUSC, said:
"Jeremy's impressive victory over a concerted effort to take Labour back to the Blair days will give heart to socialists inside and outside the Labour Party.
Posted: 5 September 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is appealing for solidarity with Ibrahim Avcil, who we have learnt has been detained while on holiday in Turkey.
Ibrahim Avcil stood as a TUSC candidate in the 2014 local elections in the North London borough of Haringey. Showing the respect in which he was held in the local community he came in second only behind Labour, polling 14% of the vote in his ward. Now we have to convey that strength of support to the Turkish authorities in protest at his detention.
Published below is a statement by the Solidarity with Ibrahim Avcil Campaign, which gives more details. Letters of protest should be sent to the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs, using the link on their website at http://www.mfa.gov.tr/contact-us.en.mfa
Posted: 25 August 2016
Merseyside Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) have organised a public meeting on Saturday 3rd September to launch a campaign for a socialist Mersey Metro Mayor.
TUSC argues that the newly-created position, to be elected next May, could be a powerful platform to stand up for Merseyside and build a mass anti-austerity struggle that could take on and defeat the Tory government.
The launch of the TUSC campaign follows the recent announcement that members of the Labour Party in Merseyside and Halton voted to select the Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram as Labour's Metro Mayor candidate, over the two right-wing candidates, the current mayor of Liverpool city, Joe Anderson, and the Liverpool Wavertree MP, Luciana Berger.
Posted: 24 August 2016
In June, hundreds of residents living in the Washdyke estate flats in Immingham were shocked to find out that Shoreline, the housing association that North East Lincolnshire council has outsourced social housing to, had drawn up plans to empty and later demolish their town centre homes in a two-phase project.
With the 'consultation' period ending later this month, two Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) public meetings have been held to help organise a campaign, each attended by over 30 Washdyke residents.
Chairing the first meeting, the Immingham TUSC candidate in May's local elections, Dave Mitchell, stressed that TUSC wanted to ensure that residents, no matter what their personal preference for or against demolition, should receive personal assurances from Shoreline that the financial package would be without strings and residents would not be re-housed outside of their preferred area.
Posted: 29 July 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) responded to the letter published this week from over 500 Labour councillors backing Owen Smith's leadership challenge by calling on them to 'fight the Tories not Jeremy Corbyn' and actually carry out an anti-austerity policy.
Dave Nellist, TUSC's national chair and a former backbench Labour colleague of Jeremy Corbyn, and a Coventry councillor for 14 years, slammed the anti-Corbyn councillors for sabotaging the Labour leader's anti-austerity message by meekly passing on Tory government cuts to local council jobs and services - and now having the cheek to say they are backing Smith in order to 'stop the damage being done to our communities'!
"Over 11,000 workers are losing their jobs as a result of the collapse of BHS, which MPs have rightly denounced as 'the unacceptable face of capitalism'", said Dave. "But Labour councillors across the country will this year alone sack three times as many workers because they refuse to stand up to the Tories' austerity agenda.
Posted: 21 July 2016
Last week the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee held its first meeting after the EU referendum. The committee discussed a report from the national agent, Clive Heemskerk, on TUSC's EU campaign and political developments in the aftermath of the Leave victory.
Meeting a day after the Labour Party NEC had put in place the timetable for a new leadership election, the steering committee agreed with the argument made in the TUSC report that the challenge to Jeremy Corbyn was "intrinsically linked to the capitalist establishment's attempt to regroup politically after the blow they suffered from the EU referendum result".
Jeremy Corbyn has correctly made the call that 'negotiations on Britain's relationship with the EU cannot be left in Tory hands'. But as the TUSC report argues "the capitalist establishment is saying - and this includes their supporters in the Labour Party - that 'negotiations on Britain's relationship with the EU cannot be left in Jeremy Corbyn's hands'". This is an important reason why they are so determined to unseat him and why they moved when they did.
Posted: 10 July 2016
The organisers of last weekend's Durham Miners' Gala made headlines by withdrawing platform invitations for the annual 'big meeting' to all Labour MPs who have joined the coup against Jeremy Corbyn's leadership. Jeremy himself spoke to great applause to one of the largest trade union gatherings in Europe, organised by the Durham Miners' Association.
Three years ago the late Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT and a co-founder of TUSC, gave a rousing speech at the Gala (see video below), calling for "an alternative party of Labour" after the then Labour leader Ed Miliband had launched a new attack on trade union influence within the party.
In his speech Bob refers to "good friends in the Labour Party like John McDonnell", now the shadow chancellor, and of course Jeremy Corbyn's election as Labour leader changed the political situation compared to when Bob was speaking in 2013. But now a coup is underway to unseat Jeremy, showing that the distinction Bob made between those who fight for socialism within the Labour Party and those who defend capitalism and its policies - and the choice that places before the trade unions - is more pertinent than ever.
Posted: 9 July 2016
Last week's conference of the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) workers union - its annual general meeting (AGM), which took place from 26th-30th June - gave resounding support to Jeremy Corbyn in his battle with the Blairite majority of the parliamentary Labour Party.
The AGM welcomed the result of the EU referendum and called for an early general election to dump not just David Cameron but the whole Tory government, arguing that Labour should set the agenda for exit from the EU on the basis of a fight against austerity and privatisation.
Related to this was a general debate on the union's political strategy. The AGM overwhelmingly agreed to continue participating in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), including maintaining the RMT's representation on the TUSC national steering committee.
Posted: 4 July 2016
The Southampton rebel anti-cuts councillors, Don Thomas and Keith Morrell, have denounced the attempted coup against Jeremy Corbyn by the Parliamentary Labour Party, which has now been backed by hundreds of Blairite Labour councillors across the country.
Don and Keith (who sits on the TUSC national steering committee) had welcomed Jeremy's leadership victory last September, in an article printed in the local Southampton Echo. After the Southampton Test Labour MP Alan Whitehead joined the coup by resigning from his position as shadow Energy and Climate Change Minister last week, they sent the following statement to the Echo:
"The overwhelming majority of Labour MPs did not vote for Jeremy Corbyn and made it clear from the very beginning that they were not prepared to respect the hundreds of thousands of people who voted for him and wanted a new kind of anti-austerity Labour Party.
Posted: 3 July 2016
Dave Nellist, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition national chair and former backbench colleague of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, was interviewed on Thursday (30th June) on the Jon Gaunt radio show.
Arguing that the pro-big business wing of the Labour Party had been planning their move for some time - only delaying until the EU referendum was out the way - Dave urges Jeremy to stand firm against the plotters in defence of the anti-austerity policies that got him elected last summer.
You can hear the interview by clicking on https://audioboom.com/boos/4766415-dave-nellist-from-the-tusc-defends-corbyn
Posted: 27 June 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition's National Election Agent, Clive Heemskerk, was interviewed on RT News on the Friday evening (24 June) after the EU referendum, discussing the impact of the result on workers and the trade union movement.
Posted: 24 June 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) today hailed the 'massive vote of no confidence' in the Tory government expressed by Thursday's EU vote and called for the labour and trade union movement to follow this up by demanding an immediate general election.
TUSC, which has been the sixth-biggest presence on ballot papers in elections for the last four years, campaigned for a leave vote in yesterday's poll.
Dave Nellist, the former Labour MP who is now the chair of TUSC, said: "TUSC opposes the EU as an 'Employers Union', implementing Thatcherism on a continental scale, and we welcome the decisive rejection of it in the referendum.
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