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TUSC conference: Socialists prepare for local elections

Issue No. 2288

Activists gathered in central London last Saturday to discuss the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) campaign for this year’s local elections.

Many areas have elections this May and TUSC is planning to stand anti-cuts candidates.

“What we’ve got at the moment is a three-party consensus,” said TUSC national committee member Nick Wrack. “Nobody speaks up at a national level for the working class.

“We’ve got differences here. But we’ve got a common interest in representing and defending our class.”

Much of the discussion revolved around what the prospects for socialists would be in the elections.

Charlie Kimber, speaking for the Socialist Workers Party, said we should be “realistic but also optimistic about what’s possible”.

“Identifying an audience is not the same as turning it into a vote,” he said. “But we base ourselves on the millions of people who supported the 30 November strike and the millions angry over bankers’ bonuses.”

Coventry Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist agreed, saying, “We draw candidates from those who are resisting the cuts.”

He added, “Nowhere will you see a better example of what we’re trying to do than with the list that’s being put together in London.”

The London candidates include RMT and FBU union reps among others.

RMT president Alex Gordon, who is on the list, told the meeting that Labour’s shift to accepting the cuts would have a big impact. “There is a huge constituency of Labour Party loyal voters who feel completely betrayed,” he said.

The meeting discussed the fact that TUSC had decided not to put up a candidate for mayor against Ken Livingstone, after some parts of the coalition including the FBU felt it would not be the best strategy.

Instead TUSC will stand for the proportional representation “top up” list for the London Assembly. If the slate can get 5 percent of the vote—likely around 150,000 votes—then it can win a seat.

The meeting approved a five-point minimum policy platform for candidates. Anyone who agrees to it can stand under the TUSC umbrella.

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Sat 4 Feb 2012, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2288
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