Socialist election campaign
Building the alliance
CAMPAIGNERS CONTINUED to build the socialist election campaign through the Easter break with protests, meetings and street actions across Britain
BIRMINGHAM: Over 40 people attended the launch meeting of the Socialist Alliance in Erdington, Birmingham, last week.
Neil Vernon, UCATT convenor at Birmingham council, spoke on the platform about how he had spent the last 20 years campaigning for the Labour Party. He said that with New Labour continuing the Tories' privatisation programme and the attacks on public services, "I never thought I'd be out canvassing again. But I'll be out doing it for the Socialist Alliance."
In an angry speech Steve Godward, Socialist Alliance prospective parliamentary candidate for Erdington, condemned the increasing gulf between rich and poor under New Labour.
Also on the platform was Dudley hospitals striker Winifred Whitehouse, who spoke about how important the Socialist Alliance was in supporting their action. An Iranian asylum seeker also spoke and described the degrading voucher system. It was an inspirational meeting, bringing together a layer of people in Erdington determined to make the Socialist Alliance a real challenge to New Labour in the coming general election.
- CAROL WILLIAMS
NORWICH: A Dudley striker was the star speaker at a Socialist Alliance rally in Norwich on Thursday of last week. Around 35 people were at the meeting. Norwich Socialist Alliance prospective parliamentary candidate and bus worker Dave Manningham, a Globalise Resistance speaker and a pensioners' representative also addressed the meeting.
During the day four Dudley strikers visited the main hospital and spoke to UNISON branch officials and workers. They also visited other workplaces and addressed a local Fire Brigades Union meeting On Saturday Socialist Alliance members were out on the streets of Norwich petitioning for a new bus station. The present one is closing soon, depriving passengers of the facilities and safety they enjoy at the moment.
- MIKE WATERMAN
SALFORD: The Socialist Alliance "Defend Comprehensive Education Roadshow" recently hit Salford precinct. We made a portacabin out of cardboard to depict children being taught in portacabins.
Slogans such as "Sponsored by McDonald's" and "Stuffed by Microsoft" were stamped across it to highlight the attempt by the council to build a PFI school in Salford, while shutting existing schools.
A tape blasted through the PA system in between speeches, with tracks such as "School's Out for Summer", "Another Brick in the Wall", and "If the Kids Are United". We collected plenty of signatures on our "Defend Comprehensive Education" petitions, and loads of people took election leaflets.
- MARY BLACK
BRIGHTON & HOVE: Protests against Marks & Spencer (M&S) store closures crossed the Channel to Brighton on Good Friday as members of the Brighton & Hove Socialist Alliance picketed the company's store. Shoppers and M&S staff signed a petition supporting protests in France against the closures. The protest was reported in the local daily paper and on the radio.
- ANDY PLAYER
YORK: Supporters of York Socialist Alliance travelled to Whitby on Saturday of last week to support a protest against the National Missile Defence (NMD) system, or "Son of Star Wars". And at three stalls in York on Saturday scores of people signed the Socialist Alliance's national petition against NMD.
LOWESTOFT: The Socialist Alliance prospective parliamentary candidate for the Waveney constituency in Lowestoft, Rupert Mallin, debated candidates from the mainstream parties at a 110-strong meeting of the Suffolk Pensioners' Association last week.
Labour MP Bob Blizzard, and the Tory and Liberal Democrat candidates fell over each other in agreement. Fuelled by the debate, one Socialist Alliance member went to his old union branch that evening and got them to invite the Labour MP and Rupert Mallin to speak. Waveney Socialist Alliance has now raised its first 1,000.
Welsh Socialist Alliance
WELSH SOCIALIST Alliance prospective parliamentary candidate for Torfaen Steve Bell and supporters joined with about 120 parents and children in a lively lobby of Torfaen council last week. The protest was to demand the council prevents the threatened closure of Hollybush Primary School in Cwmbran. Before the lobby the parents and governors of the school had approached our candidate to request support. The council, clearly rattled by the size of the protest, deferred a decision.
- IAN THOMAS