Socialist election challenge
All aboard for the campaign
SOCIALIST Alliance supporters have been out getting support around Britain over the past week. In MANCHESTER around 140 people attended a Socialist Alliance rally on Wednesday of last week. The meeting attracted pensioners, trade unionists and people from local campaigns.
People were boosted by the news that lecturers in the NATFHE union in a Manchester-wide college had voted to support Socialist Alliance prospective parliamentary candidate for Withington John Clegg by 19 votes to two earlier that day. The Save our Bolton Schools campaign also backed the Socialist Alliance with a donation of �65. An impressive �1,700 was collected for the Socialist Alliance on the night.
YORK's challenge to New Labour was kickstarted at a lively 70-strong public meeting last week. Speakers included Doug Cook of the Residents' Association at Clifton, one of York's biggest council estates. He spoke from the heart about council residents' fears about the threatened sell-off of council houses.
Doug said that he had become aware of the Socialist Alliance through people coming to the estate to talk to residents. Local socialist Frank Ormston spoke of the Coppergate II campaign. This aims to thwart the council's plan to sell off land around the ancient castle keep, Clifford's Tower, in order to build a huge shopping complex. As one member of the audience said, "The council will take York from the people and put it into the pockets of the capitalists." After an open debate Frank was elected as the York Socialist Alliance prospective parliamentary candidate. In just one week York Socialist Alliance raised over �2,000 for the election campaign.
In EDMONTON in north London socialist activist and writer Tariq Ali addressed the launch meeting of the Socialist Alliance on Wednesday of last week. Howard Medwell, the local Socialist Alliance prospective parliamentary candidate, spoke about the campaign against the Edmonton incinerator and said people resented the fact that a working class area was effectively being used as a dustbin.
- Reports from MATTHEW COOKSON, PAUL DAVIES and IAN BIRCHALL
A CAR and lorry cavalcade toured the Bristol South constituency last Saturday to highlight opposition to the next round of education cuts proposed by the Labour council. They were also demonstrating support for the prospective parliamentary candidate Socialist Alliance candidate, local teacher Brian Drummond.
The event was organised by a group of ex-teachers from the local Merrywood School, recently closed by the council and now rented out as a film set for the TV show Teachers. Chris Carter, who worked at the school, said "The impact of the school's closure on the local area was devastating. We need local schools for local communities."
DOZENS OF people joined a rally with shop workers and Socialist Alliance supporters to oppose the closure of the local Sainsbury's store in Dagenham, east London, last Saturday. The area faces the loss of thousands of jobs at the giant Ford Dagenham plant.
SOCIALIST ALLIANCE supporters in Portsmouth and Southampton hit their local railway stations on Monday of this week to demand the renationalisation of the railways. Around 30 supporters in Portsmouth crowded onto the station concourse carrying placards and collecting signatures from rail passengers.
MEMBERS OF Huddersfield Socialist Alliance have been out leafleting and petitioning on the working class Brackenhall Estate. We were invited by tenants who want to fight Kirklees council's plans to "regenerate" their estate. This involves demolishing a large part of the estate and allowing a private developer to build homes for sale on the more desirable edges of the area. A recent packed meeting of over 300 tenants showed the depth of anger to the plans. Tenants are planning to march from the estate to the town hall on 19 April to lobby councillors.
- CATHERINE McGURK
WIGAN SOCIALIST Alliance now holds two weekly meetings. We send out letters to all members for our organisational meeting on Tuesday nights, and we push a minimum of 1,000 leaflets through doors to build for the constituency meetings. We have a weekly input into the local paper, two Saturday stalls, and an average of 25 people at each meeting. A recent meeting on asylum seekers attracted 35 people.
- BARRY CONWAY
SOUTHWARK Socialist Alliance held a fantastic fundraising social last weekend. Over �1,200 was raised (after expenses). Some 200 people packed the Hatcham Club for a great night out. The event pulled many shop stewards and activists from the local labour movement.