The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is running parliamentary candidates in seats across Britain. Their campaigns are rooted in their communities—and their aim is to build the fights against austerity and racism.
Jenny Sutton is the TUSC candidate in Tottenham, north London. She told Socialist Worker her campaign has reached tens of thousands of people in the borough.
She said, “On Saturday we had 25 people out campaigning across four street stalls and on Sunday 20 people continued leafleting. Some highly enthusiastic campaigners have been crucial to the effort.”
Jenny explained how her campaign had helped to find large numbers of people fed up with austerity, and involve them in fighting back.
She said, “There is a visceral hatred of austerity and the major parties.
“Our opposition to anti-immigrant racism is inspiring new people—as is our support for Palestine.”
Jon Woods, TUSC candidate for Portsmouth North, and Dave Gibson for Barnsley Central report similar experiences. Dave told Socialist Worker, “Our window posters have gone down well with people.
“We’ve had more than £80 from the South Yorkshire Freedom Riders. And the Yorkshire region of the FBU firefighters’ union is donating £150. FBU activists stressed that they know they can always rely on us for solidarity.”
And Jon told Socialist Worker, “People are starting to recognise us in the North End area. “I met someone who was going to vote TUSC in the council election and Labour in the general election.
“We talked about the need to have a socialist organisation to the left of Labour and after ten minutes she said she would vote for me.”
He added, “On Sunday afternoon we went canvassing. A nurse who answered the door was delighted that TUSC was standing up for migrants. She said she and the other two voters in the family will be voting TUSC.”
TUSC campaigns in other areas have also gained support. Maxine Bowler is the candidate for Brightside and Hillsborough in Sheffield. She told Socialist Worker, “Around 100 people attended my campaign launch with TUSC chair Dave Nellist.
“I spoke to another 100 people at a People’s Assembly hustings and I’m due to speak at more.”
The strong TUSC campaigns are laying the groundwork for the fight against austerity after the election.
Simon Hester is Jenny’s election agent. He told Socialist Worker, “I have been involved in every election campaign in Tottenham since 2000.
“This campaign has the smell of the 2005 “anti-war” general election when Respect did so well.
“But this time we are much better rooted and a significant number of new people are getting heavily involved.”
He added, “We are building a serious network for the battles ahead. But this raises questions about where we go next—and the possibility of a more united left.”
'Claw back money from the rich and jail bankers’
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) launched its manifesto on Friday of last week.
The manifesto is committed to ending austerity, campaigning for £10 an hour minimum wage and a mass council home building programme.
TUSC also backs scrapping tuition fees and bringing railways and banks back into public ownership.
The launch event was held in Canary Wharf—London’s major financial centre.
TUSC chair Dave Nellist spoke at the launch. He said, “We’re not all in this together. We’re here in the belly of the beast.”
He pointed to the 350,000 millionaires and 104 billionaires in Britain.
“The top financial people in these institutions have taken since 2008 the same £80 billion in bonuses that our people have had in cuts.”
TUSC parliamentary candidate for Streatham, south London, Unjum Mirza also spoke. He said, “While we’ve been attacked the bonuses continue to roll in for the bankers.
“There’s not a financial problem here. We need to claw back the money from the tax avoiders’ Swiss bank accounts and jail the bankers.”
Socialists take on councils
TUSC is also standing candidates in a number of council wards.
June Jones is standing for the Ashbrow seat in Kirklees, West Yorkshire.
She told Socialist Worker, “Ashbrow is one of the most deprived areas of Kirklees.
“We’ve been focusing our campaign on the fight against the bedroom tax and benefit sanctions, with stalls outside the job centre.”
She added, “A lot of people are really disillusioned with politics. Some older residents have been voting Labour all their lives and now they feel betrayed.
“But when they meet us it’s like a revelation for some of them—we’re showing that something can be done.”