Socialist Worker

Use your vote to strengthen the left

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2449

TUSC candidates on 21 March anti-racist protest in Glasgow

TUSC candidates on 21 March anti-racist protest in Glasgow (Pic: Stephen McBroom)


We need a clear and unashamed socialist alternative to austerity and racism. And you can’t wish for that without addressing seriously the task of creating it.

That is why Socialist Worker supporters are campaigning for the 136 Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) parliamentary candidates and the more than 600 council candidates. We will also vote for Left Unity and Respect.

It is wholly welcome that seven of the ten declared Left Unity parliamentary candidates across Britain are joint Left Unity-TUSC. 

This should lead to cooperation during the election but also act as a spur towards a stronger, more united and more credible left afterwards.

We recognise that it is very unlikely that there will be major left breakthroughs at this election. The electoral system and the media encourage the view that it is a waste to choose a candidate that polls suggest cannot win.

But every vote won now means a stronger foundation for future struggles and for a more united left. It is a positive choice against business as usual and for a different sort of society, for greater democracy, for action over climate change and for an end to racism and Islamophobia.

Millions of workers who do not think much of Ed Miliband will nevertheless vote Labour to eject the Tories and block Ukip. In a withered and distorted way Labour retains a link to organised workers through the union leaders. If there is no left or radical candidate then we are for voting Labour.

If Labour forms the next government there will be a sense that at least some change is possible, and that workers can now demand an end to austerity, racism and war—even though Miliband has made no such claims. 

Labour-type parties used to disappoint their supporters after they were elected. Today Labour dashes all but the most limited illusions even before the ballot boxes open.

If the Tories win it will embolden the bosses, the racists, the police chiefs and the right wing media to press on with even deeper cuts and more attacks on workers’ organisation. 

Greens

Many of those who vote for the Greens agree with much of what TUSC says. But the Greens have a higher media profile and seem to many a more “realistic” choice. 

However, although we back a vote for left-wing Greens such as Caroline Lucas in Brighton and similar candidates, the Green Party is not trying to build a socialist alternative based on the working class.  

In Scotland we call for a vote for TUSC, the Scottish Socialist Party and Left Unity. These candidates insist that the task of building a genuine anti-capitalist left cannot be postponed or avoided. Lining up behind the Scottish National Party (SNP) now will make it harder to mount a socialist challenge at the 2016 Scottish parliament elections. 

It is an illusion to think that it is an effective strategy to uncritically laud the SNP now and then gradually disengage over the next 12 months to present a genuinely radical alternative. The reality is that many of those on the left who say they are “lending” their support to the SNP will be on a very long loan.

In parts of Scotland where there is no socialist candidate it is impossible to call simply for a Labour vote or for an SNP one. 

Labour’s alliance with the Tories during the independence referendum campaign has alienated vast swathes of its working class supporters. 

The SNP is likely to gather up a rich harvest of previously Labour seats because it is seen to be more left wing on key issues such as Trident nuclear submarines, the NHS and resisting austerity.

But it implements cuts wherever it achieves office, wants tax cuts for big business, and frequently opposes strikes. It is not the alternative we need.

This emphasises that we must work towards a situation where the left is strong enough to stand everywhere. 

The strategic necessity for radicals and socialists is to create a genuine vehicle for working class political representation—one that challenges the rich and their system rather than embraces it. 

We need a class alternative to the Tories, Labour, the SNP and the Greens. Take to the streets for TUSC!


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