Firstly I’d like to say I don’t expect us to win big that may be a given to say that but I really don’t. For us in the socialist party at least our role as we see it is to get the message out there to as many people as we can that there is an alternative to vote for and that the 3 main parties do not offer you a solution to cuts.
We will maybe gain a few decent votes here and there and many I am sure will ridicule this especially others on the left. But to me this does not worry me at all. For now TUSC is a new project of trade unionists and socialists with the backing of the RMT for the first time. Even if we consolidate our base and our name out there and our message which is the most important bit I’ll be happy with our lot. Of course I’d love to win seats all over the country but realistically we are not going to I don’t think. That sea change that spark we talk about has not happened yet and we as Marxists cannot predict what will spark people into that shift in consciousnesses that tells them that the 3 main political parties cannot offer them a alternative and perhaps a grouping like TUSC can. The only way we can appear credible is sticking to your programme and putting it to a wider audience. If we do get comrades elected here and there we can point to the work they do. It is difficult telling people what we would do as it all seems hypothetical to them at present there is no struggle we can point to that highlights the role we can play. We will simply have to be there on every protest, every strike, every election we can manage to publicise our name and program and convince many more to join with us.
For socialist party branch’s participating in TUSC across the country apart from Coventry which has a good base now we are all looking to build our party and our branch’s off the back of election work. We don’t see winning as the be all and end all at the present time. As Marxists we see the situation out there as constantly changing and ebbing and flowing and we can not predict the next spike in consciousness and where the next sharp rise in consciousness will come. We know it will and can prepare ourselves for that shift but we can’t actively predict its arrival.
I myself do feel we can do more at times and we are perhaps not bold enough but are reminded that you can do all the work and canvassing and campaigning as you can possibly do and it still may not affect your election result at the end of the day.
In Stevenage last year where the situation was perhaps different before the cuts had really hit and people wanted to give the lib dems a good kicking. We experimented by canvassing and leafleting one ward like mad and another hardly at all the actual vote turnout was minimal to be honest and our one comrade who stood in Ware got 12 % of the vote and was a paper candidate so you can say do all the work in the world but it ultimately does not matter it’s the objective situation and whether people are prepared to trust you in what you say at that given time.
A whole host of various reasons can be to blame why things are the way they are but until the mass of the working class turn towards electoral politics we will still be making the arguments for no cuts and no to privatisation but there is not that mass of people moving towards us at present.
This does not make our ideas wrong or irrelevant but simply haven’t had the airing yet to a bigger mass of people.
The lack of a mass workers party in this country and across the globe plays its part in a fragmented left in many ways with some clinging to labour for warmth and others doing their best to provide a clear alternative to labour and the other pro capitalist parties.
Things will change and it can happen quickly but I think again this May’s elections will be a good test for us to see how the ground lies but I don’t expect despite my optimism for TUSC and our fantastic campaign for us to make any major breakthroughs just yet. I do hope Dave Nellist is re-elected but I can’t see mass’s of us getting elected right now. Besides this isn’t our major goal at the moment that may come though so we will have to be ready. But just to challenge the consensus that some cuts are necessary gets our message and arguments to a wider audience than we perhaps would be able to at other times of the year.
To be pointing out that labour councils are not opposing the cuts and are not using all their powers including using their reserves and prudential borrowing will be key arguments making the case for elected workers representatives on workers wages as all TUSC elected officials would only take. Our stance of no to all cuts will at some point really hit home I feel as the cuts really begin to flood people and hit home hard I am sure there will be a mass shift to finding the only credible party standing against all cuts and means it.
It is clear to me we are entering a very turbulent time in the class struggle anything ca happen now as George Galloway’s fantastic Bradford west victory showed but we can make that more a regular occurrence in time but this may not come as quickly as we think. We have got to be optimistic but realistic too given the situation.