Waltham Forest rally: TUSC standing leaders with 'bottle' to fight cuts
There was only standing room left as 100 people attended the Waltham Forest Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) public meeting for the London elections to hear RMT transport union general secretary Bob Crow, and TUSC candidates Nancy Taaffe and Jenny Sutton.
Nancy, the coordinator of Waltham Forest Anti-Cuts Union and a library worker made redundant by the council, said that libraries were a great achievement for working class communities, the 'NHS for the mind' as put by Harry Potter author JK Rowling.
Waltham Forest has 37 Labour councillors and two Labour MPs. But instead of being any sort of resistance, the council has implemented the Con-Dems' cuts, sacked workers and closed buildings, including three libraries.
Nancy said that councils should set 'needs budgets' instead of implementing cuts on behalf of the government, but doing that needs political leaders with bottle.
Jenny, a further education (FE) lecturer and chair of the London UCU union FE section, spoke about how FE is being changed to suit the needs of employers instead of the needs of students, and this change started under Tony Blair's New Labour government.
Jenny went on to say that, with the unemployed added to the under-employed, four million people were chasing 250,000 jobs.
The Tories have said the private sector would make up for the public sector cuts. But the biggest private sector employer, Tesco, was using workfare schemes to replace workers with cheaper labour, while using self-service tills to get rid of checkout employees.
Bob Crow explained why the RMT was officially supporting TUSC. The union had asked its 50 London branches whether it should support TUSC or Labour, and not one branch gave support to Labour.
The Labour Party today is nothing like the one that a predecessor of the RMT had helped set up at the start of the 20th century.
Instead we need a new mass party for working people, and building TUSC is a step towards that.
Bob said there was no such thing as 'responsible capitalism', as it's a system based on inequality, and he spoke of the need for socialism.
Following a very enthusiastic response from members of the audience who spoke, the finance appeal raised almost £300 and people took away armfuls of leaflets and window posters to help spread the word about this challenge.