Posted: 22 June 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is arguing for a leave vote in Thursday's referendum. We stand in the tradition of the late Bob Crow, the RMT transport workers' union leader and one of the co-founders of TUSC, who was well known for his support for international workers' solidarity while opposing the EU as a body that was pushing anti-worker and pro-austerity policies.
TUSC's core policies include the renationalisation of the railways, Royal Mail and other privatised public services, industries and utilities; defending the right to asylum and opposing racist immigration controls; and democratic public ownership of the banks and major companies.
None of these policies are compatible with the EU treaties. So why should we give a vote of confidence to EU institutions and laws which, as Greece shows, would be used to try and block socialist policies?
Posted: 21 June 2016
Monday's Sky TV Q&A with Jeremy Corbyn shows that there is a desire for a serious discussion on the EU referendum that has been generally unmet in the establishment media coverage.
Here was the Labour leader being asked questions by an audience of under-35s which took the debate to a far higher level than the normal 'Boris and Dave' show. 'How would you fulfil your pledge to renationalise the railways if EU competition laws prohibit it?' 'What is the case to remain in an organisation which promotes policies like TTIP which will sustain inequalities?' 'Wouldn't voting to Remain lead to the privatisation of the NHS?' were just some of the issues he had to address.
These are exactly the issues that the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has been raising in making the socialist case for exit - not, unfortunately, in a 40-minute show on a major broadcast channel, but in the snatched opportunities that have come our way.
Posted: 20 June 2016
With EU referendum campaigning resumed, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) issued a press statement today asking media organisations to reflect on their role in creating the climate of hate that formed the backdrop to the shocking and horrific murder of Labour MP Jo Cox last Thursday.
The Electoral Commission was also criticised by TUSC, which supports an exit vote, for its decision early in the EU campaign to give political authority to the reactionary Vote Leave organisation, led by Tory Brexiters Boris Johnson, Michael Gove et al, when it was under no legal obligation to grant 'official designation' status - and millions of pounds of public funds - to any campaign group at all.
Dave Nellist, the former Labour MP who is now the chair of TUSC, said: "People are still in shock at the brutal murder of Jo Cox and, with campaigning now resuming for Thursday's ballot, must be hoping for a different kind of debate.
Posted: 17 June 2016
The three constituent organisations of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, and other members and supporters of TUSC, have expressed their shock and horror at the brutal murder of Labour MP Jo Cox.
The Socialist Party released a statement on Thursday evening pointing to the "big-business politicians on both sides of the EU referendum debate [who] have dangerously whipped up racism and anti-migrant feelings", while re-affirming its support, as a component part of TUSC, for an EU exit vote on "a pro-working class, internationalist standpoint" (see http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/23031/16-06-2016/shocking-killing-of-jo-cox).
The Socialist Workers Party posted an article on Friday, saying that it was now clear that Jo Cox's suspected attacker Thomas Mair "had connections with Nazi organisations" and calling for a redoubling of "our campaigning against fascism and racism" (see https://socialistworker.co.uk/art/42926/Racist+hatred+behind+murder+of+Jo+Cox).
Posted: 15 June 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) today appealed to shadow chancellor John McDonnell to explicitly repudiate Alistair Darling's support for George Osborne's threat of an emergency austerity budget in the event of a vote to leave the EU.
This followed the appearance by the former Labour chancellor, Lord Darling, in support of George Osborne's scare threat that tax increases and spending cuts of £30bn would have to be rapidly agreed by parliament if an EU exit vote won on June 23rd. Together they produced an 'illustrative' list of new cuts including £2.5bn to the NHS, £1.15bn in education, and cuts of more than 5% from transport and local government.
The TUSC national chair, the former Labour MP Dave Nellist - once a backbench colleague of Jeremy Corbyn - said: "Jeremy Corbyn, backed by John McDonnell, won the Labour Party leadership election last summer with a clear message that austerity is not necessary but is a political choice. That is true whether Britain remains in the EU or votes to leave and it is welcome that Jeremy said Labour 'would oppose any post-Brexit austerity budget' in today's Prime Minister's Questions.
Posted: 13 June 2016
The capitalist establishment in Britain and internationally are starting to panic about the result of the EU referendum.
They are especially concerned at polling evidence that working class Labour voters, in particular, are reluctant to come out and save the Tory government from what will be a shattering defeat. Now the media focus will be on Labour voters, starting with Gordon Brown's 'relaunch' of the Remain campaign, to try and intimidate them by any means possible from voting Leave.
That's why it is important, in the days that are left before June 23rd, to get the widest hearing possible for the socialist arguments against the 'Employers' Union' that is the EU, with its austerity agenda.
Posted: 2 June 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), which is supporting an exit vote in the EU referendum, today added its voice to the protest over the voting pack issued by Bristol city council for postal voters in June's ballot.
The council has been distributing a how-to-vote guide to postal voters with pictorial instructions that show a pencil hovering over the Remain box on the ballot paper (see below). At the very least the graphic is not a neutral depiction of the mechanics of voting.
A council spokesperson has dismissed the complaints, stating that "the placement of the pen graphic was entirely incidental". But this is not the first instance of political bias by Bristol's election officials, argued TUSC's National Election Agent, Clive Heemskerk. "Bristol council, unfortunately, has form in making political interventions into the democratic process", he said, "which TUSC had first-hand experience of in the city's mayoral election this May".
Posted: 1 June 2016
The Wales TUC has become the latest trade union organisation to come out in support of a fighting strategy that could roll back the attack on local public services.
At the Wales TUC conference last week (24-26 May) a composited motion was unanimously passed calling on Welsh councils - mainly Labour or Plaid Cymru-led - to set no-cuts budgets, using legal measures such as prudential borrowing, use of reserves, and capitalisation.
Taking such a step, the motion went on, "buys time for councils to build a campaign of mass resistance with other councils, the Wales TUC, anti-cuts campaigners and local communities" to force proper government funding of council services. The full text of the composite motion passed is printed below.
Posted: 24 May 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition national chair, Dave Nellist, was a panellist on BBC Radio's Any Questions programme last week (20 May), appearing alongside the Tory minister Andrea Leadsom, Blairite Labour MP Emma Reynolds, and the former Tory Party chairman, Chris Patten.
Questions included whether the NHS was sustainable after the news about the deficits incurred by Trusts last year; the Dave v Boris pantomime character of the EU referendum debate; and the vote to retain a men only policy at Muirfield Golf Club. The full 50 minute programme can be heard on BBC iplayer at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07bfzjf But if Chris Patten's golf anecdotes etc don't appeal, you can hear Dave's contributions by clicking below.
Posted: 23 May 2016
Last week three trade unions representing over 120,000 workers - the RMT, ASLEF and the BFAWU Bakers Union - issued a joint statement setting out their case for trade unionists to vote for Leave in the EU referendum. The statement reads:
"Many great figures of the labour moment such as Tony Benn, Michael Foot and Bob Crow were firmly against the EU. Millions of Labour voters oppose the EU and we believe a similar number of trade unionists support withdrawal.
"Whatever the result of the EU referendum the labour and trade union movement will continue to fight against injustice and austerity.
Posted: 19 May 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition's national chair, the former Labour MP Dave Nellist, appeared on the BBC's Daily Politics programme (19 May) debating with Frances O'Grady, the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), on why workers should vote for EU exit on June 23rd.
Posted: 19 May 2016
The left-wing commentator Paul Mason had a very disappointing article in Tuesday's edition of The Guardian (There is a left-wing case for Brexit - but we can't let Boris Johnson turn Britain into a neo-liberal fantasy island, G2, 17 May).
It started so well. The EU, wrote Paul, "provides the most hospitable ecosystem in the developed world for rentier monopoly corporations, tax-dodging elites and organised crime.
"It has an executive so powerful it could crush the left-wing government of Greece; a legislature so weak that it cannot effectively determine laws or control its own civil service. A judiciary that, in the Laval and Viking judgments, subordinated workers' right to strike to an employer's right to do business freely". What trade unionist or socialist could disagree with that?
Posted: 13 May 2016
This week the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) reported that family members employed by MPs are paid an average of £5,600 a year more than other MPs staff. Once again, it seems, MPs are finding new ways to siphon off public funds into their own pockets but the IPSA won't investigate further because it would be 'too intrusive'.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition's National Election Agent, Clive Heemskerk, was interviewed on RT News on May 11th (see below). The issue never made the BBC's broadcast news though, presumably because embarrassing the establishment six weeks before they ask us to give them a vote of confidence in the EU referendum isn't part of the BBC's 'independent remit'.
Posted: 10 May 2016
The final Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) results from Thursday's elections are in. In total 43,309 votes were cast for TUSC candidates, a good showing for a clear 100% anti-austerity message.
The highlight of the campaign was the performance of the UNISON national executive member Roger Bannister, standing on behalf of TUSC for the mayor of Liverpool, who came in fourth ahead of Britain's governing party, with 4,950 votes (a 5.1% share). For the second time, following Tony Mulhearn's result in the 2012 Liverpool mayoral election, TUSC has outpolled the Tories in Britain's eighth biggest city.
A draft report of the full results and analysis (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/380.pdf) has now been produced by the TUSC national election agent, Clive Heemskerk, and will go to next week's meeting of the national steering committee, which will be reviewing the election intervention.
Posted: 7 May 2016
The results of the Bristol mayoral election have been announced and TUSC candidate Tom Baldwin has scored a respectable 1,876 first preference votes, coming in behind the 'big five' parties and the sitting Bristol First mayor, George Ferguson.
This follows yesterday's Liverpool mayoral election results where the TUSC candidate, the Unison national executive member Roger Bannister, polled 4,950 votes (a 5.07% share), over 1,400 votes ahead of the Tories.
TUSC stood for the inaugural Bristol mayoral election in 2012, coming in then with 1,412 votes (in tenth position out of 15 candidates) behind a number of 'independents'. This time Tom comfortably outpolled all the independent candidates.
Posted: 6 May 2016
Despite a fantastic campaign that showed the depths of local support which existed for TUSC's Kevin Bennett, the rebel Warrington councillor has lost by just 76 votes in his bid for re-election in Thursday's local council poll.
The right-wing dominated local Labour group threw everything they had into the campaign against the real opposition voice on the council. Never mind the Tories, TUSC were the enemy to beat!
Kevin duly hammered the Tory candidate in the Fairfield & Howley ward, who polled 332 votes, but his 921 votes - a 30% share - was tantalisingly short of the 997 votes of Labour candidate Peter Carey.
Posted: 6 May 2016
The first results announced of the four Mayoral elections that took place yesterday was for Liverpool - and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate came in fourth ahead of Britain's governing party!
The TUSC candidate, the Unison national executive member Roger Bannister, polled a very respectable 4,950 votes (a 5.07% share), over 1,400 votes ahead of the Tory party candidate. Roger had already beaten UKIP - despite an almost daily presence in the establishment media to boost them, they were unable to find a candidate for the mayor in Britain's eighth biggest city.
TUSC also stood candidates in 17 of the city's 30 wards, with some very good results achieved. In Belle Vale ward TUSC polled 10.7% and the TUSC candidates in Kirkdale and Norris Green wards won 10.1% and 7.8% respectively.
Posted: 4 May 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has candidates standing in Thursday's elections to the Scottish parliament, the Welsh national assembly, and in sixty English local councils.
TUSC is also contesting two of the three Mayoral elections outside London taking place on May 5th, with Unison national executive member Roger Bannister standing in Liverpool and Tom Baldwin in Bristol.
All TUSC's local election candidates are standing on a policy platform headed, A councillors' revolt could stop the Tory cuts! (see http://tusc.org.uk/policy.php). A full list of the council candidates, broken down into regions, is available at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/375.pdf
Posted: 3 May 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has released the initial dates of a series of public meetings it is hosting in May and June under the heading 'The Socialist Case Against the EU'.
The EU debate has been reduced in the establishment media to a clash between different wings of the Tory party. It's Cameron vs Boris, they say - two old Etonians, with another ex-public schoolboy Nigel Farage in the ring too.
But what about if you're outside the 1% elite? Struggling to get by on low wages, a zero-hour contract maybe, or facing soaring rents and under-funded public services? What are our interests in the debate?
Posted: 28 April 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), one of three EU exit organisations that applied for recognition from the Electoral Commission to be the official Leave campaign, today made an appeal to media workers for fair coverage of the socialist case against the EU in the run-up to the June referendum.
A press release was issued but also, in an attempt to speak directly to journalists and other workers, a number of media workplaces were leafletted by TUSC members.
Explaining the appeal, the ex-Labour MP Dave Nellist who is now the chair of TUSC, said: "What has happened in the couple of weeks since the Electoral Commission chose the reactionary Vote Leave organisation as the 'official' voice of Leave has shown that this Tory-dominated outfit is completely incapable of representing the millions of trade unionists, young people, and working class voters generally, who will vote against the EU on June 23rd.
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