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.
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'.
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