Left list candidates in Manchester are mounting a challenge in two council wards. Nahella Ashraf is standing in the Rusholme ward and Sue MacPherson is standing in Gorton South.
Nahella is well known as the chair of Greater Manchester Stop the War Coaltion. She told Socialist Worker, “This is the third time I’ve stood in Rusholme, so I know lots of people in the ward now – and many of them are getting involved in the campaign.
“We recently held a meeting in the ward with a delegation of women from Palestine. Around 50 people came and there was a brilliant discussion involving local Pakistani women talking about the experience of partition of India.”
Sue is standing for the first time. She has been involved in campaigns in her local area for many years. She told Socialist Worker, “All the local facilities here have either been sold off by the council or are in a state of disrepair.
“This has provoked huge protest meetings where up to 350 people have come together to debate the issues.
“As part of our protest, we’ve held our own May Day procession.
“At Easter we held a campaigning day with an egg hunt for the kids.
“We have a local singer who has written a song for the campaign and a graphic designer who has designed our postcards.
“We have won some victories – such as stopping the sell-off of a local playing field – but we have many more battles to win. People in this area are rejecting privatisation.
“The council’s ‘regeneration’ plans are about handing over huge amounts of money to big companies to ‘develop’ the city centre – and push poor people out. We are saying that we want a different future for Manchester.
“The council are on the run, and I am standing to put up an alternative. I’ve already had a great response from people in the ward.
“I’ve been invited to speak to groups of parents and school governors, as well as being asked to help organise a meeting about council housing.”