Socialists campaign in London elections
Tapping a well of support
CAMPAIGNERS FOR the London Socialist Alliance (LSA) are mobilising people for the Greater London Assembly election on 4 May. The LSA is backing Ken Livingstone for mayor and is contesting all the seats for the Assembly which will be elected on the same day. Even before the election campaign officially opens in a week's time the LSA is tapping support from workers and trade unionists who want to see a socialist challenge to New Labour.
RECENT LSA activities include:
- OVER 600 people attended a special showing of Ken Loach's film Land and Freedom, raising over �3,000.
- Seven LSA meetings took place in Hackney, east London, over a couple of days. Some 33 people turned up in Cambridge Heath, 22 in Dalston, 24 in Manor House and 32 in Homerton. The Homerton meeting included three firefighters who have been involved in a recent dispute and four stewards from Homerton Hospital. There were also meetings in Clapton, Stamford Hill and on Powerscroft Road.
- Three cavalcades took place in Hackney on Saturday.
- Some 18 people attended an LSA meeting in Wembley and donated over �200 to the campaign. Another �150 was donated from Willesden RMT rail union branch. Those at the meeting included a member of the national executive of the NATFHE lecturers' union and the secretary of the local trades council.
- Around 40 people attended a public meeting on Monday of last week to save a threatened elderly people's home in Camden, north London. LSA candidate Candy Udwin received a warm welcome and backing for her campaign. The local paper, the Camden New Journal, made the contest between Candy and Helen Gordon, Candy's personnel manager and New Labour candidate, the centrepiece of its election coverage last week.
- The Muswell Hill pensioners' group in north London has 50 active members and is backing the LSA.
- LSA campaigners leafleted the Royal Free Hospital on Friday of last week. The giant Mount Pleasant post office was leafleted on the same day.
- An LSA stall at Euston station raised �56 on Friday of last week.
- A collection among workers at the TUC raised �24 towards the cost of the LSA's election battle bus.
- Over �500 has been pledged to the LSA fighting fund by workers at the central London college SOAS.
- Some 65 people attended an LSA meeting in east London where local GP Kambiz Boomla was adopted as the candidate. Over �850 in collections was handed over.
- Six people signed up to the LSA on a stall at Guildhall University. That followed an organising meeting which eight people attended.
- Some 35 people came to an LSA meeting in Holloway, north London.
- A dozen people attended an LSA meeting in Angel, north London.
- Eight workers at the BT office in Angel donated �20 to the LSA last week. That follows a collection of �100 the week before. BT workers, post office workers, lecturers, teachers and firefighters planned to leaflet the local Chapel Market on Wednesday of this week.
- The MSF South Thames Community branch has donated "50 percent of its political fund" to the LSA.
- Westminster NUT union association is backing the LSA.
- A stall in Greenwich on Sunday raised �25 and four people signed up for the LSA.
- Over �40 was collected at a 60-strong meeting of the UNISON union in Croydon, south London.
- An LSA meeting in Croydon attracted four Labour Party members.
- Just 20 people turned up to the official launch of the Labour Party's election campaign in Croydon. Eighteen of them took LSA leaflets. Many expressed sympathy with the campaign and almost all said they were voting for Ken Livingstone rather than Frank Dobson.
- Three stalls took place in Merton & Wandsworth, south London.
- Some 40 people attended an LSA meeting in Southall two weeks ago. The meeting raised �300 and Sukhdev Reel spoke at it. A stall raised �35 and had ten people signed up to the LSA the following Tuesday.
- A collection at the New Islington and Hackney Housing Association raised �10 from just one section of workers.
- "Transport is a major issue in Walthamstow where the tube station is to be closed for six weeks due to defective escalators," says Roger, a local LSA campaigner. Streets are being systematically leafleted. Seven people signed up for the LSA on Gaywood and Haywood roads, and four on Russell Road within a couple of days of each other.
- Five Westminster council workers ran an LSA stall in Churches Street Market.
- 30 people attended an LSA public meeting in Streatham, south London, on Monday of this week. A local teacher has raised �125 from workmates.
- Ten people signed up for the LSA at a stall in East Dulwich, south London, eight at Streatham, and four in the Ferndale ward in Brixton.
- Let Socialist Worker know of any LSA activity in your area. Phone 020 7538 0828.
'Ready to do battle'
MORE LSA candidates have been selected to fight in the 14 constituencies or be part of the 11-strong "top up list". They include:
GEORGE TAYLOR, candidate for Havering & Redbridge.
George is a former Labour councillor. He is an electrician in the AEEU union, and a member of the Anti Nazi League. George says, "I was a Labour councillor in Havering from 1994 to 1998. Along with everybody else I jumped for joy when the Tories got kicked out. I feel badly let down by New Labour because they are carrying out Conservative policies. The working class battle goes on. I'm ready to do battle."
KAMBIZ BOOMLA, candidate for City & East.
Kambiz says, "I have worked as a GP in Poplar since 1982. Labour kept to the Tory spending limits after it won the 1997 general election. "That means waiting lists continued and more of my patients had their operations cancelled. I want to represent workers, the jobless, pensioners and students in east London against the interests of big business."
JEAN KYSOW, part of the top-up list. Jean is a leading activist in the national campaign to defend council housing. She has led a successful campaign to stop the privatisation of council housing in Lewisham, south London, where she is chair of the local tenants federation.
Labour's Lord Filthy Rich
THE NEW Labour candidate for the GLA's Brent & Harrow constituency is raking in money from the unaccountable quangos he is part of. Lord "Toby" Harris of Haringey has ten paid and 13 unpaid appointments. Among the posts Lord Harris receives money for are:
- Chairman of the Local Government Association Labour Group.
- Non-executive director of the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust.
- Consultant and adviser to the Harrogate Public Sector Management Centre.
- Consultant and adviser to Infolog Training Ltd.
- Member of the London Pensions Fund Authority.
He picks up �5,000 as a councillor in Haringey, north London, and �152.50 a day as expenses from the House of Lords. Harris is also an unpaid member of the Metropolitan Police Committee. He is standing against London Socialist Alliance candidate Austin Burnett, who is a pensioner.
The report of Harris's quango links appeared in the north London paper, the Tottenham and Wood Green Journal. The same paper carried a report of a meeting about racism and corruption in the Metropolitan Police chaired by Weyman Bennett, LSA candidate for Enfield & Haringey.
The paper quoted Weyman as saying, "The media portrays black people as criminals-the truth is we are overwhelmingly the victims of crime and injustice from racist policing." To get involved, contact the LSA on 020 8981 9243, PO Box 20492, London SE11 5WL.