Karen Reissmann is the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition candidate for Gorton, Manchester. She spoke to Socialist Worker about the latest developments in her election campaign.
“We’ve had a fantastic few days. On Thursday night I did my first ever meeting that started after midnight.
“I met with a group of nine workers who work nights and have to deal with emergencies that require them to be on call throughout the night.
“There was a serious discussion about the cuts, and what we should do in response—it was a very positive meeting.
“We talked about how the bankers and the rich want the workers to pay for their crisis, and why we have to fight for jobs and services and make the bankers pay.
“One worker said—‘We were all excited to be honest. No candidate has ever been to speak to us.'
“We are out campaigning every day now, not just for the election but for the fight for jobs and against cuts to our vital public services which has already started and which will intensify after the election,” Karen said.
Even Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg mentioned Karen’s campaign when speaking at the Royal College of Nursing conference earlier this month.
Clegg said, “I marched with the Manchester nurse Karen Reissmann,” going on to say, “Though I clearly didn’t make much of an impression as she’s now standing for another party.”
Karen is well known in Manchester and across the health service for leading strikes against cuts in the NHS, and for speaking out about the privatisation of the NHS.
Karen was sacked from her job because of her stand.
“Thanks to the support I received I am now back working in the NHS,” said Karen.
“One reason I decided to stand in this election is to pay back the all people who supported me. The other is to help shape resistance to the cuts. Already Manchester NHS have announced £950 million cuts and the women’s services ward at Salford Hope hospital is to be axed.”
Karen’s election campaign is striking a chord with many who are confused or disillusioned with the main parties.
“She is the only one who made any sense,” was the verdict of one voter after hearing Karen speak at hustings in Gorton earlier this week.
A nurse involved in Karen’s campaign said, “We are getting out the caravan we used in the last strike to act as a base for the election campaign.”
Karen said, “We are pushing out the message that there is an alternative that is about standing together and fighting back. Voting for an alternative is one part, but we also have to build the networks of resistance for the future.”
To get involved or find out more about Karen’s campaign visit: www.votekarenreissmann.org