Socialist candidates are picking up bitter feelings on the doorstep as they take on the major parties in the general election.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing more than 40 candidates – against public spending cuts, war and privatisation.
Campaigners report that huge disillusionment with mainstream politicians means the people they meet are giving them a good hearing.
In Manchester, leading health campaigner and nurse Karen Reissmann is standing against Gerald Kauffman in Gorton.
Anti-war activist Nahella Ashraf is standing for the council in the Rusholme ward.
“Nahella and myself standing as a team has strengthened our electoral work,” said Karen.
“The class unity in our message is clear. We need to fight together – whether over cuts or against racism.”
Nahella added, “A lot of people are undecided about who they are going to vote for. There is a strong feeling that politicians are all the same.
“One woman told us, ‘It’s great not to have to vote for one of those three parties’. You feel such a depth of despair from people. If we weren’t standing it would be miserable.”
Karen said, “We talk about why we’re standing and how we want to give people someone worth voting for.
“A lot of people say that’s fantastic and then talk about what’s getting them angry.
“I spoke to a black pensioner who used to be the secretary of his union branch.
“He asked us to get in touch if there is anything going on in his area. We are building for the future as people give us their contact details so that we can continue to fight back together.
“We are asking people to vote for us. But we want them to be part of a network that stands with workers to save services, jobs and pensions after the election.”
Mark Krantz, an organiser in the campaign, said, “There has been a fantastic growth in trade union support.
“Fire Brigades Union regional secretary Kevin Brown sent his endorsement.”
RMT union regional organiser John MacDonald said that Karen was “offering a credible alternative after 13 years of betrayal by New Labour”.
Mark continued, “A dozen rail workers at the Manchester RMT branch gave us £125 at their meeting last month. They backed Karen unanimously.
“A later proposal for two Labour candidates to be backed by the branch did not even get a seconder.
“And BA cabin crew have thanked Karen for her campaigning support for their dispute.
“We are going to several hustings, doing workplace stall – including both shifts of the McVitie’s factory – and canvassing every day.”
David Henry and Andy Behan are standing in Salford, Greater Manchester.
David is standing against Labour MP Hazel Blears, and Andy is standing for the Orsdall council ward.
“We have been to Salford University to speak to students,” David told Socialist Worker.
“There are so many issues that students feel the main parties ignore.
“They wanted to talk about fees, lack of affordable accommodation, insufficient public transport links, and courses that don’t live up to their expectations because of cuts.
“Many were saying that they may have to drop out because they can’t afford to stay.
“On Saturday we joined the protest outside Salford Royal Hospital against cuts and closures.Furious nurses and patients stopped to talk to us.”
Andy Behan told Socialist Worker, “I’ve been out canvassing with teams of people all weekend and it’s been fantastic.
For more information go to » www.tusc.org.uk