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Sunday 11 October 2020

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An appeal to TUSC supporters - get organised now for May's elections

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee, meeting on October 7th, has issued an appeal to those considering standing under the TUSC banner in next May's elections to start organising locally now as best they can within the Covid restrictions.

At its previous meeting in September the steering committee agreed to resume standing candidates in elections, starting in the contests scheduled for next May (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/17410/04-09-2020/back-at-work-tusc-to-stand-in-elections-again-against-pro-austerity-politicians). But local organisation for an election challenge - if not yet deciding candidates and seats - needs to begin now.

The TUSC procedures

Under Britain's election laws candidates can only appear on the ballot paper as an 'Independent' if they have not been endorsed by a recognised political party registered with the Electoral Commission.

That doesn't allow trade unionists or working class campaigners standing in elections to distinguish themselves as representing something different to the mainstream. But using the TUSC name on the ballot paper - including the bold TUSC AGAINST CUTS emblem - certainly does. Candidates who want to use the name and emblem need to be issued with a Certificate of Authorisation to use a Party Description by the TUSC National Election Agent (Nominating Officer) Clive Heemskerk, who acts under the direction of the TUSC national steering committee.

The TUSC rules (available at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/384.pdf) require candidates to endorse the TUSC core policy platform, and submitting a candidate application form for a Certificate of Authorisation from the TUSC website will be taken as doing so. Applications will then be discussed by the national steering committee which, reflecting TUSC's character as a coalition, takes decisions on a consensus basis.

Local organisation

The TUSC rules also state that local groups - steering committees or branches - should be established in the local government area or parliamentary constituency where it is planned to contest seats. These should also operate by consensus and make possible the representative involvement of local trade unionists and the local branches of the TUSC component organisations.

The steering committee at its October meeting, calling for widely publicised local launch meetings to be organised even if at this stage by Zoom, stressed again that no one organisation should dominate.

TUSC was established to enable trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists from different organisations and none, to stand against pro-austerity establishment politicians under a common national banner and an agreed national platform of core policies. Within that framework hundreds of TUSC-authorised candidates have stood in elections, polling over 375,000 votes between them. But local organisation has been and will be key.

Support in establishing local groups is available from Pete McLaren, a steering committee member who represents individual members of TUSC who are not otherwise members of a constituent organisation, who is also the TUSC Local Group Development Officer. He can be contacted at [email protected]