Posted: 4 March 2015
Rebel councillors backed by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) have shown once again that local councils could implement alternative policies to those demanded by the Westminster pro-austerity establishment parties - if only councillors were prepared to fight.
Councils really are in the frontline. The latest government cuts to funding for local authorities announced in December takes the total reduction in central government support to 37% since 2010, according to the National Audit Office.
But it is just not the case that councillors have no option but to sit in the council chamber and meekly vote for cuts to local services, especially just weeks before a general election. The fact is, the Labour and Green councillors who have voted for more cuts in the latest council budget-making meetings have chosen to back austerity.
Posted: 24 February 2015
The latest parliamentary candidates approved by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee have taken TUSC past the threshold to qualify for a party election broadcast in Wales in May's general election.
The broadcasting authorities' criteria for what they call 'fair media coverage', including a TV broadcast, is that a party needs to stand candidates in one sixth of the seats up for election.
With the new candidates approved, headed by the Swansea branch secretary of the RMT transport workers union, Owen Herbert (a previous member of the union's national executive), TUSC will be standing in at least eight of the 40 seats in Wales.
Posted: 13 February 2015
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee has today endorsed the Manifesto for Education produced by the largest teachers' union in England and Wales, the National Union of Teachers (NUT). At the same time it was confirmed that four members of the union's national executive committee (NEC) will be standing as TUSC candidates in May's elections.
The Con-Dem Government has damaged children's education. Their determination to open free schools and academies has left a fragmented and divided education system. Their attacks on pay, conditions and pensions have demoralised school staff. Excessive testing and divisive league tables have driven enjoyment out of education for staff and students alike. Children, families and school staff need these damaging policies to be reversed.
Shamefully, the Labour Party has given no indication that it would do so. David Blunkett's policy review made clear that "academies are here to stay". Shadow Education secretary Tristram Hunt has joined the Tories in blaming teachers for the problems caused by cuts, poverty and divisive education policies.
Posted: 6 February 2015
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee meet on Wednesday 4th February to approve another round of parliamentary candidates. Including those agreed by the Scottish TUSC steering committee (nine so far), there are now 72 TUSC candidates in place for May's general election.
The candidates approved this week included rebel councillor Kevin Bennett (see www.tusc.org.uk/17054/29-01-2015/enough-is-enough-another-rebel-councillor-links-up-with-tusc-to-fight-austerity), who will now be standing for TUSC in the Warrington South constituency.
Also agreed as candidates were Dave Pitt, the West Midlands regional chair of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), standing in Dudley North; and RMT members Ted Woodley, contesting Birmingham Erdington, and Richard Andrzejak, standing in Chatham and Aylesford. Richard becomes the second RMT member to contest a seat in the north Kent Medway council area. He joins the local RMT branch Young Members Officer Dan Burn who is standing in the Rochester and Strood seat of UKIP MP Mark Reckless - showing in action how the trade unions can offer a working class political challenge to the right-wing party.
Posted: 1 February 2015
This edition of Russia Today's Going Underground, published on youtube on 28 Jan 2015, covered the 'Rise of UK's Syriza' - a reference to the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).
This short edit shows presenter Afshin Rattansi's interview with Clive Heemskerk, TUSC's national election agent.
Posted: 29 January 2015
Kevin Bennett, Warrington's rebel Labour councillor, has announced he has reached the end of the road in trying to fight austerity as part of the Labour Party. His announcement was carried in the local Warrington Guardian, under the headline, 'Enough is enough' (see http://bit.ly/1K7nqYn )
Kevin was indefinitely suspended by the council Labour group in April 2013 after voting against the council's cuts budget. A 70-strong lobby of trade unionists and community campaigners took place outside the suspension meeting in support of Kevin's courageous stand.
Kevin explained at the time that "the cuts are hitting my ward badly, I'm getting calls and emails from people asking me to help them but I feel my hands are tied.
Posted: 22 January 2015
Steve Bell's Guardian cartoon on the party leaders' TV election debate row that flared up in the New Year was typically pointed. It depicted the four austerity party leaders in a line - Cameron, Farage, Clegg and Miliband - with the Greens, in a dig at Cameron's previous 'cut the green crap' comments, an unpleasant presence for them all (see gu.com/p/44q9f/tw).
Posted: 14 January 2015
See more details about the conference here
Posted: 29 December 2014
The leader of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), former Coventry MP Dave Nellist, has today called for government intervention to save City Link jobs, saying the company should be nationalised.
The courier firm, City Link, whose headquarters are in Coventry, went into administration on Christmas Day putting thousands of jobs at risk.
Mr Nellist said today:
Posted: 19 December 2014
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee approved another tranche of parliamentary candidates at its December meeting. Along with the seven candidates agreed so far by the Scottish TUSC steering committee, there are now 32 TUSC candidates in place for next May.
The new round of TUSC parliamentary candidates approved included Tony Mulhearn, standing in Liverpool's Riverside constituency. Tony, one of the Liverpool 47 Labour councillors who defied the Thatcher government in the 1980s, polled 4,792 votes for TUSC in Liverpool's mayoral election in 2012, coming in ahead of both the Tories and UKIP. Also contesting a Liverpool parliamentary seat for TUSC is the Unite union convenor for the city council, Dave Walsh, standing in Liverpool Wavertree.
There are two trade union national executive committee (NEC) members in the new candidates' list, with the National Union of Teachers' (NUT) executive member Anne Lemon contesting Bristol North West, and Unison NEC member Jacqui Berry standing in Gillingham and Rainham. This north Kent constituency is next door to the Rochester and Strood seat of UKIP MP Mark Reckless - in May he will be challenged on behalf of TUSC by the local RMT branch Young Members Officer, Dan Burn.
Posted: 8 December 2014
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.
Posted: 3 December 2014
The Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) steering committee is meeting in early December to get down to details on plans for the 2015 Westminster elections. This follows a successful 70-strong conference in November of Scottish TUSC to discuss the way forward following the independence referendum.
Despite the huge working class vote in the referendum for Yes, which was a revolt against austerity and the political establishment, the cuts juggernaut has continued. That's why the conference voted unanimously to stand candidates in the 2015 Westminster elections on an uncompromising anti-cuts platform
In the days running up to the conference a series of shocking reports emerged about the scale of the planned cuts to public services in Scotland.
Posted: 20 November 2014
On the last weekend in October around 60 people gathered to participate in Leicester's first ever People's Budget conference.
The event was organised by Leicester Independent Councillors Against Cuts - Barbara Potter and Wayne Naylor - alongside TUSC. The two councillors left Labour this year to join TUSC's alliance of trade union and anti-cuts groups.
As Barbara told the conference, "Leaving the Labour Party was a big thing. All my family have always voted Labour. They're no longer the party who stick up for ordinary people. We all need to stick together - the People's Budget marks an opportunity to create something new".
Posted: 12 November 2014
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee, meeting this week, has approved the first eight parliamentary candidates for next May's general election.
At the same time, as part of building support for standing a TUSC candidate, more TUSC groups are organising open letters and delegations to challenge their local Labour Party parliamentary candidate on where they stand on key issues, before a decision is made on whether the seat will be part of the TUSC 2015 election campaign.
The first TUSC parliamentary candidates approved include the former Labour MP and TUSC national chairperson Dave Nellist, who will stand in the Coventry North West constituency presently held by Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson, a multi-millionaire former businessman and one of the wealthiest MPs in the current parliament.
Posted: 30 October 2014
The selection of Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) prospective candidates for next year's elections has given local TUSC groups opportunities to get some media coverage in their area.
The Portsmouth News covered a 40-strong meeting, with national TUSC chair Dave Nellist in attendance, which announced the selection of candidates to contest the city's two parliamentary constituencies next May (see http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/local/party-picks-two-candidates-for-elections-in-may-1-6363224 ).
The prospective TUSC candidate for Portsmouth North is Jon Woods, president of Portsmouth Trades Council and chair of the council's UNISON branch. Portsmouth South will be fought for TUSC by the former RMT transport workers' union executive committee member, Sean Hoyle.
Posted: 22 October 2014
Hundreds of low paid Barking and Dagenham council workers facing a ¬£2,000 cut to their annual income protested outside Barking town hall on Tuesday 7 October, reports Pete Mason, who stood as a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) local election candidate in the borough back in May.
Joining them were a number of Labour councillors who face suspension from the Labour whip and potential expulsion from the Labour Group if they carry through their declared intention to vote against the proposed cuts at the 1st December full council meeting. Labour took all 51 seats on Barking and Dagenham council (in east London) in May's election.
Refuse collectors parked their dustbin lorries in a long line outside the town hall and hooted their horns. The GMB and Unite members and the protesting councillors then marched into the public gallery, where deputy leader of the council, Dominic Twomey, told the cabinet meeting that the council needs to cut ¬£53 million during the next three years. Some council workers fear losing their homes if their income is cut by ¬£2,000, GMB activists say. The borough already has the highest level of repossessions in London. Further cuts proposed include closing care and homeless centres.
Posted: 6 October 2014
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee, meeting last week, has set an ambitious target for next year's elections - to have a TUSC candidate in one thousand local council wards and one hundred parliamentary constituencies on May 7th 2015.
One thing is clear about the outcome of the 2015 general election. Whichever establishment party or combination of parties wins, they will continue with policies favouring the rich and austerity for the rest of us.
That's why TUSC was set up in 2010, co-founded by the late Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT transport workers' union. Its purpose is to enable trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists to come together on a common platform to challenge the pro-austerity unity of the establishment parties at the ballot box.
Posted: 29 September 2014
Thanks are due to Ian Martin, one of the writers of the savage political satire The Thick of It, for his recent article in the Guardian from this year's Labour Party conference (see http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/23/ian-martin-labour-conference-thick-of-it ).
Firstly because he uses his piece to explain once again - if not exactly in Malcolm Tucker terms but near enough - just how spineless the alleged 'official opposition' to the Con-Dems have become. But also, in pondering what possible alternatives there might be, for name-checking TUSC and one of our co-founders, in Ian's words, "the late great Bob Crow".
TUSC chair Dave Nellist sent in a letter to the Guardian to let its readers know that TUSC is intending to stand even more widely next May - for both the general and the local elections - than we did this year, when we fielded the biggest-ever left-of-Labour working class electoral challenge for 60 years (see http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/24/labour-conference-message-offers-left-little-hope ).
Posted: 4 September 2014
A recent article by Guardian journalist Aditya Chakrobortty on the efforts of Enfield council to respond to the housing crisis (see http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/sep/01/enfield-experiment-housing-problem-radical-solution ) vindicates the central point of TUSC's policy platform for local council elections - councillors can find ways to resist austerity if they choose to.
Aditya explains the desperate housing situation developing in the north London borough - although not restricted to there! - against the backdrop of an historic underbuild of social housing, the Con-Dems' benefit cuts, and rising private sector rents.
He shows that councils still have powers they could use, if the will is there, to intervene. Enfield, he reports, "has arranged a credit facility of ¬£100m" to bulk-buy homes, in a programme began in March this year. It is introducing a scheme to license private landlords and, "for the first time in 30 years, it is building council homes", with 180 starts this month as the first steps.
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