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Sunday, 23 September 2012

How I saw the TUSC conference this weekend

I attended the TUSC conference yesterday in London at berkbank university campus and the day was a very busy and full of debate from various shades on the left. Many who turned up were socialist party members showing our continuous support for TUSC sadly there wasn’t many SWP or other left groups a fair few independents though and that was good to see. What was probably the most significant delegation to the conference and this I feel was quite historic was the RMT union sent an official delegation from their NEC to visit the conference and report back what they heard. In many ways this single fact made this conference worth while. To have a big union of around 80 thousand members now officially backing and playing an active role within TUSC and having fully broken away from the labour party is huge. But what the RMT delegation made clear they will not hang around for forever and a day they demand more unions get involved in TUSC and put their weight behind a campaign for a new workers party which at this early stage TUSC can play a big part in. There is a on going discussion needed how to involve more unions in TUSC and how we can go about attracting them to our banner with more on the left now feeling totally fed up with Labour and their Tory light policies. Comrade after comrade stood up and made the point of labour being a dead vehicle for working people now with Ed ball’s speech at the TUC the other week confirming this. Significantly even Len Mckluskey general secretary of Unite Britins biggest trade union has said now we can’t wait forever for labour to come up wit pro working class policies and those they will judge labours next manifesto if it’s worth continuing to support them. Personally Len makes statements like this a lot and I have no reason to believe he is likely to break the labour link anytime soon. Even still it is significant he has to come out and say this due to the pressure from his members with their anger about labour. The conference was well attended with over 100 comrades in the room this was a big jump on the last few times we have been meeting and shows with the growing anger comes growing calls for action. We know now labour will not reverse any of the Tories cuts and would be cutting if in power too they would cut your jobs and services next week while the Tories cut it this week. So TUSC while fragile at this stage represents a coalition of forces on the left and in unions who recognise the need to from a political voice for the 99% and that fighting with one hand behind our back is not good enough for the size of the battles coming ahead. Much of what was discussed yesterday was non controversial but several comrades from smaller parties such as Socialist resistance no I’ve never heard of them either are making calls for TUSC to move towards a individual membership system with a one member one vote system. While this may sound democratic it actually isn’t as for example with the Socialist Alliance previously one group could block vote a situation and votes themselves as the leaders and you can’t do anything about it. I think its crucial TUSC keeps its federal coalition consensus approach for now. While we recognise the need one day to move to a more party based structure at this stage there is nothing which holds us back in operating as a force on the ground. TUSC branch’s have been set up in various places and there must be found room for them on the steering committee at some point but as for membership at this time I think TUSC is far too fragile and new for that. The need to gain far more trade union support and involvement is key before we even consider such other moves. TUSC has to be there on every protest every single issue campaign a big presence on October the 20th is key too and popularising the name and the brand is key making the point every time we are against all cuts unlike all the other parties out there. Even the greens cannot claim that one anymore since they made big cuts in Brighton. We have a unique opportunity to build TUSC in this next period with country council elections coming up we need to stand as widely as we possibly can. I’ve even put my name forward to be considered to be a candidate in my area to help. So any local issues people know of now do start to let me know. For the BBC to even mention us we need to stand a minimum of 380 odd candidates next year. I feel this is achievable but will be hard going. We must be putting out the call now to any trade unionist, anti cuts activist, community worker, unemployed worker, students and those we come across in the future months to stand for TUSC. TUSC is great as you are not locked in to a set programme we have basic demands which a programme you must agree to first but beyond that your campaign is your own to build and develop how you wish. We will be standing candidates in forthcoming by-elections in Manchester Central Bristol Mayoral election and still considering a candidate for Corby. These elections will give us an excellent chance to expose the pro cuts and pro austerity parties and build our base going into 2013. The chance we have is very eral failure to build a alternative now, a socialist alternative leaves the door open to the far right and the rise of UKIP is a warning to us all on the left there is much we can learn from the rise of UKIP but most of all we must lay down a marker now lay the base for future struggles and battles. TUSC as we heard yesterday is about now and is here to stay. It’s our chance to build it and shape it into that mass workers party if indeed workers wish to take it in that direction. We can’t rule out anything in this coming period but havingTUSC now we can at least provide hope and an alternative for the first time in many years.

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