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Monday 22 February 2016

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TUSC letter in The Guardian - now sign the petition

Today's Guardian carried a letter from Dave Nellist, the chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), and 27 leading trade unionists at national executive level, calling on the Electoral Commission not to give public resources to Tory and UKIP EU campaigners in the forthcoming EU referendum.

The text of the letter is printed below along with the list of signatories, which include two national union presidents and two national vice-presidents.

TUSC will be arguing for a leave vote in the referendum on June 23rd. We stand on the tradition of the late Bob Crow, the RMT transport workers' union leader, one of the co-founders of TUSC in 2010, who was well known for his support for international workers' solidarity while opposing the EU as an agency of anti-worker and pro-austerity policies.

But the resolution that agreed this stance at our conference last September was also clear that TUSC will "not participate in any officially designated exit campaign that is headed by reactionary racist and pro-austerity politicians but should campaign on the basis of its own core policy platform of opposition to austerity and support for socialist policies".

That is why TUSC has launched a petition to the Electoral Commission, which The Guardian letter is based on, calling on them not to give taxpayers' money and other public resources to the Vote Leave, Leave.EU or Grassroots Out campaigns, or any amalgam of them, in the EU referendum.

If the Electoral Commission can be persuaded not to choose any of these organisations as an official campaign that will be a significant blow against UKIP and their Tory allies, denying them not just taxpayers' money but also added political authority.

But it would also undermine the Remain campaign, smashing their 'project fear' lie that the only supporters of a leave vote are Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and other assorted reactionaries.

Sign the petition online at http://www.tusc.org.uk/17170/04-02-2016/dont-give-taxpayers-money-to-ukip-and-tory-eu-campaigners

Letter to The Guardian, 22nd February

Now that the referendum has been called the Electoral Commission has the power to designate who shall be the 'official' Remain and Leave campaigns, giving these organisations both political authority and millions of pounds of public resources.

We the undersigned call on the Commission not to give taxpayers' money to the Tory and UKIP dominated Vote Leave, Leave.EU or Grassroots Out campaigns, or any amalgam of them, in the forthcoming EU referendum.

The Electoral Commission does not have to choose an official campaign at all if there is not one organisation that adequately represents those supporting a particular outcome to the referendum. We believe that there are millions of trade unionists, young people, anti-austerity campaigners and working class voters generally, whose opposition to the big business-dominated EU would not be represented in the referendum by these organisations.

We condemn the mainstream media for promoting UKIP, Tory and other pro-austerity and racist establishment politicians and organisations as the only exit voices.

We call on the Electoral Commission not to follow their lead and instead recognise that a significant proportion of those who will vote against the EU do so because they support basic socialist policies of workers' rights, public ownership, and opposition to austerity and racism.

All names appear in a personal capacity:

Dave Nellist ex-Labour MP and chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC); Janice Godrich President PCS civil servants union; Sean Hoyle President RMT transport workers union; John McInally National Vice-President PCS; Peter Pinkney RMT President 2013-2015; Paul McDonnell RMT National Executive Committee (NEC); John Reid RMT NEC; Dave Auger UNISON public sector workers union NEC; April Ashley UNISON NEC; Roger Bannister UNISON NEC; Hugo Pierre UNISON NEC; Karen Reissman UNISON NEC; Polly Smith UNISON NEC; Pete Glover National Union of Teachers (NUT) NEC; Jane Nellist NUT NEC; Stefan Simms NUT NEC; Chas Berry NAPO National Vice-Chair; Alan Gibson National Union of Journalists NEC; Elenor Haven PCS NEC; Marianne Owens PCS NEC; Paul Williams PCS NEC; Carlo Morelli University and College Union (UCU) NEC; Richard McEwan UCU NEC; Sean Wallis UCU NEC; Saira Weiner UCU NEC; Mike Forster UNISON Local Government Service Group Executive (SGE); Huw Williams UNISON Local Government SGE; Gary Freeman UNISON Health SGE