Today I attended with other comrades the TUSC – Trade union and Socialist Coalition conference in London at ULU.
A very well attended conference given what else was going on in London today various protests and march’s so to get 50 or 60 top trade unionists and socialists out in late January from all over the country was very positive.
The morning session was on the legal side of what can councillors do to fight the cuts. At present we do not have control of a council yet but this can change. Dave Nellist of the socialist party , Charlie Kimble of the SWP and Nick Wrack from TUSC helped answer some of the legal questions from the floor on needs budgets and what powers councillors still have today.
The question that there could never be another Liverpool struggle again in the country is a myth and the powers are still there today to create a mass campaign against the cuts demanding the money back off the government.
Local councils have millions in their reserves which none have even tried to look into using to plug a gap to protect vital essential services and jobs.
The morning session was full of excellent contributions and questions with us all feeling we can be quietly optimistic whilst remaining realistic of TUSC’s opportunities for the coming period.
Much of the meeting was taken up of comrades condemning Ed Balls and Ed milibands Labour party for the other week accepting all of the tories cuts now not just some as was the case before. They have said they agree with a public sector pay freeze and will not be reversing any of the tories cuts.
With the brilliant strike of 2 and a half million workers on November the 30th last year many will be asking who do we have to vote for us now and who will support our struggles
It is clear now labour do not and have openly attacked striking workers in Southampton and nationally on the day of N30.
Working people need a political voice I have argued continuasly for some time now and TUSC and its slate of left trade unionists in the GLA London elections can make crucial breakthroughs this year if a big campaign is fought.
The afternoon session was taken up with comrades discussing how to fight a election campaign discussing election strategy canvassing, leafleting and getting the TUSC name out there.
Some great suggestions and comments from all. It is clear our priorities will be to get Dave Nellist re elected in Coventry as he is a key player in the movement but we should be looking to be bold and go on the offensive if we can looking to get new councillors willing to vote against all the cuts and privatisation.
There is mutterings inside the labour party of splits and disillusionment in the party you may say this is nothing new but I think we are in different times. During the biggest attack on ordinary people since the 30’s and all 3 main parties agreeing pretty much who do people have to speak to them. TUSC can be that beacon it wouldn’t be a wasted vote as eventually we will gain enough credibility if we continue to stand against the cuts. We will not be going away anytime soon and we are serious about winning. Winning can also come in the form of getting our ideas over to a layer of workers out there looking for an alternative. There is clearly a layer of people who are against all the cuts, anti capitalist and actively looking for a change and an alternative to austerity.
TUSC can be that banner with a clear modest programme of no to all cuts, using any powers councillors have available to them to protect jobs and services, against raising council tax to bridge gap, set needs budgets and mount campaign delaying tactics to protect and sustain services and jobs.
Not a job or service needs to be cut. There is 120 billion + worth of tax that is evaded every year by the very rich if collected properly either through nationaisation of the banks or stricter tax laws of offshore bank accounts. With a rolling out of a mass affordable council house programme to meet the needs of people and an investment in public services this can lead to jobs and a way to a fairer future for all. This would not be it but would be a start to a transition to a socialist society where peoples needs are put before a minority of peoples profits.
TUSC has big potential we must be realistic about our chances but attempt to stand as broadly as possible in towns and cities. Its never too late to decide to stand and you may be surprised at how you do. Instead of waiting for a new workers party you can actively get involved today in helping the starts of such a project.
History doesn’t travel in a straight line if you have a correct programme which speaks to people you can grow very quickly indeed and this can be the case with TUSC.
I look forward to the next period I think we have everything to gain, It will not be easy don’t get me wrong but if we do not fight on all available plains open for us you can sure bet the far right will do and fill that gap.
So its time to get talking about alternative in our communities, schools, workplaces and pubs and popularise the idea of TUSC and being brave and standing ourselves. The future can be bright, we can win !
to read more about TUSC including our recent press release on the left slate we have for the GLA london elections check out