Saturday, 26 January 2013
Building TUSC – The Trade Union and Socialist Coalition a reply to Nick Wrack
TUSC is at a very fragile period in its development. It’s hard to write it off equally its hard to write it into the history books as a huge success. I speak of TUSC as a socialist party member who is extremely passionate and buy in totally to the idea of a new mass workers party with socialist aims and principles. I left the labour party due to that very point as its failed working people and continues to do so day in day out. So with TUSC I feel we have an opportunity. Just an opportunity not inevitability at all TUSC could be that vehicle that working people turn to but it could equally be cast aside in the development of the class struggle. We in the socialist party accept TUSC is not the final product or is anything near what we’d like to see in the future it is as we say in progress and will stay so for sometime I feel. TUSC must start to grow and be seen to be growing. I do accept our position in the SP to not go towards a membership based system of a one member one vote system just yet we are still too fragile and I do not feel as do the party that would be the best thing for TUSC in its development at this stage. I feel the current arrangement of factions including us the socialist party the SWP, independent socialist network and the RMT so far with a steering committee with one vote one veto we can use working on a consensus basis is fine for now. But this format cannot continue and Nick Wrack of the ISN the independent socialist network has produced a good thought provoking post in the last day or so. Nick writes I went on the ‘Save Lewisham A&E’ demo today. There was a fantastic turnout of around 20 – 25,000. The area was bedecked with campaign posters. It seemed as though every passing car honked its horn in solidarity. It was a really significant development in the anti-cuts movement to get such a response for a local demo. There should have been a serious attempt by TUSC to raise its profile at today’s event, showing solidarity and offering help. Any anti-cuts electoral challenge would have to engage with such an event. Every one of the 20,000 + people on the demo should have seen TUSC activists and gone home with TUSC literature. TUSC should have been seen as having something to say about the NHS and this threatened closure. However, the two big socialist organisations in TUSC - the SWP & the SP – both prioritised their own party building activities, selling papers and running their own stalls. That is their prerogative and nothing I say is going to change what they do. I am told that the some SP members brought the TUSC banner but I didn’t see it. TUSC has no organisational centre or apparatus, no money, no relevant leaflets and consequently had no impact on the march at all. The new National Health Action Party’s banner, on the other hand, was prominent. If TUSC is to make any impact at all in the next two years it has to completely change its approach. It needs to think and act like a national party and intervene in protests like todays as though it had something serious to say. Independent socialists, trade unionists and other activists who want a new party should seriously discuss how we can work together to increase our weight and influence. Join the Independent Socialist Network. While Nick has his own ideas and thoughts and feelings on TUSC I do believe he is genuinely interested in building a new workers party with socialist aims I totally respect Nick for this important contribution to the on going debate on TUSC. I may shock some of my SP comrades but I do largely agree with Nick I think as a party the SP do very well in pushing TUSC and are by far the most out spoken in pushing for TUSC far more than the SWP and that isn’t a sectarian jibe its simply the truth. Take last TUSC conference last year we had by far the biggest turn out and whilst turnout isn’t everything it showed our support and our passion for the project to succeed. We in the SP try to talk up TUSC as much as we can while many on the left deride TUSC and write us off we’ve always taken the long term view that things can progress quickly yet can also take time to develop. TUSC I feel needs promoting whenever and wherever we can. Just bringing a banner of TUSC to demo’s is fine but for me still does not go far enough in building Tusc’s name and profile on a national scale. Nick is entirely correct in stating on a big demonstration like the one today in Lewisham TUSC should have had a big presence and profile on the demo handing out leaflets on standing for TUSC and getting involved. As Nick says the NHS party had a good intervention so why couldn’t we? Of course the SP my party and the SWP will always focus on building their own parties I accept as much as Nick does but a greater emphasis must be put on building TUSC. Of course those who join the SP are made fully aware of TUSC and do tend to end up supporting TUSC so a recruit to the SP isn’t a loss for TUSC but I accept Nick’s frustration. I think branch’s are one answer to the on going issue of building TUSC and its structures giving branch’s a seat on the steering committee would be good too but we need to find a way of involving large numbers of workers in TUSC without diluting any of its core components. I think this is where the ISN needs to step up to the plate I wont criticises this organisation but it could be that area of TUSC where mass membership could evolve from potentially. There is no reason why many workers on a demonstration such as the one today could not be signed up to join the ISN. Giving it much greater weight on the steering committee. Why not change the name of the ISN to a more formal membership type name if not fully a membership based faction of TUSC it could at least act as much in the short term until we come to a bigger decision on the structures of TUSC and its long term future. So in reply to Nick Wrack I’d say I totally agree that the SP and SWP need to do far more to build and promote TUSC is there not a way that the ISN could playa bigger role in TUSC too ?