Saturday, 6 April 2013

The inspiration of Tommy Sheridan

I know as a Marxist I am not supposed to focus on the individual in history and see things in a class analysis but Tommy is a big inspiration to me coming into the movement. Tommy Sheridan a prominent Scottish Socialist has dedicated his life to fighting oppression and exploitation wherever it has emerged. A huge character on the left in British politics Tommy has inspired many to search inside themselves for that collective strength and bond that all humans feel but yet is beaten out of them by this rotten capitalist system. Tommy holds up the traditions of democratic socialism and despite what certain people may say about him about his exploits with the Scottish Socialist Party and his court cases with the Murdoch press I’ve looked past that and seen a genuine working class fighter prepared to sacrifice his own standing in society for the benefit of others. Just take the other weekend a demonstration in Glasgow against the bedroom tax which Tommy and other socialists have played a big part in building made a fantastic speech where Tommy stated quite clearly in everyday language that everyone could understand why we must oppose this rotten tax and the government at large. Tommy although not directly affected by this vicious attack on the working class and the poor offered his full and utmost solidarity with all those fighting the tax and even though not directly affected pledged to stand by any of those who wished to fight this brutal tax to the very end including fighting evictions. But Tommy a life long class fighter has fought battle after battle on behalf of the working class. He has bravely taken on the News of the World and Rupert Murdoch and is gradually trying to clear his name in the face of huge media lies and former comrades lies about him The News of the World attacked Tommy on the smallest of basis’s and looked to destroy his and the Scottish left for many years and in many ways they did but Tommy Sheridan is made of stronger stuff than that and is fighting back the only way he can and that is through class struggle and supporting working class struggles. Throughout his court case of purgery back in the later part of the last decade against news international was seen as payback for Tommy Sheridan’s leading role during the mass anti-poll tax movement in the late 80’s and early ‘90’s. A mass movement of ordinary working class men and women that cost the then prime minster, Margaret Thatcher, her job. Tommy Sheridan rubbed salt into the gaping wounds of the political and legal elite by being elected from his prison cell in Saughton Prison to Glasgow City Council in 1992. It’s also payback for being a thorn in the side of the establishment as a socialist MSP in the Scottish parliament for 10 years - when he lived as a workers’ MSP on a workers wage. But above the ruling class wanted to inflict a defeat on Tommy Sheridan in order to send out a warning to every worker, every trade unionist and every socialist - don’t stand up and fight. Accept the onslaught of cuts and attacks while the millionaires and billionaires walk away without a scratch from an economic crisis they created. Thankfully this has not been the case and Tommy is now out of jail and fighting fit and fighting the good fight once again. Tommy Sheridan was a leader of the anti-poll tax movement that was central to organising the mass non-payment campaign that defeated the Tory government in the early 1990s and in the process ended the career of Margaret Thatcher. He served a four-month jail sentence during that campaign as a result of his leadership of it, and he was elected from his prison cell to Glasgow city council in 1992. Tommy was elected as a socialist living on the average wage of a worker to the Scottish parliament in 1999. It was this that made him the target of the Murdoch media empire whose stable of papers include the Sun and News of the World, papers with a long record of attacking workers, trade unionists, asylum seekers and socialists. The vendetta against Tommy Sheridan is part of a campaign to destroy any opposition to the billionaires and the capitalist system. Tommy Sheridan continues to inspire many people to socialist ideas like myself and will continue to do so. We need figures like Tommy to bring ordinary people towards the ideas of socialism and eventually Marxism as a step towards changing society. I am a big supporter of Tommy and his speech’s inspire me hugely he and others like him give me confidence that we can struggle and even if we are in small numbers at times our ideas will catch a echo with the mass’s of workers at a given time in history and we as socialists are on the right side of history.

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