Today TUSC launched its manifesto in Canary Wharf - "in the belly of the beast" as national TUSC chair Dave Nellist described it.
|Former Labour MP and TUSC National Chair Dave Nellist launches the TUSC manifesto this morning|
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is fielding an historic working class challenge on 7 May. Across England, Wales and Scotland a coalition of trade unionists, working class campaigners, and socialists will stand in over 135 seats. That's one in five parliamentary constituencies. TUSC is also standing in around 650 council seats too.
A list of candidates, with contact details is available on the TUSC elections website: www.tusc2015.com
For once, TUSC received some national coverage of today's launch with the BBC's initial report headlined: TUSC manifesto launch: 'Only 100% anti-austerity party' - well, that's pretty accurate! ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32254035 )
Here's some information on the manifesto issued in TUSC's 'press pack':
TUSC is fielding the fastest growing general election challenge, standing in over 130 parliamentary seats and over 600 council seats on May 7. It is the newest political party to have an election broadcast this year; and TUSC’s rapid growth is down to its unique anti-austerity policies.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition has the distinction of having never supported cuts or privatisation, and of all the other significant general election campaigns is the only one not to commit to support austerity in the next parliament. TUSC councillors, spread around the country in Southampton, Walsall, Leicester, Warrington and Hull, have moved no-cuts budgets and refused to back attacks on jobs and services at a local level, and this is a policy TUSC is committed to continuing at a parliamentary level. Internationally, it is an anti-austerity appeal that has seen Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain reach such prominence.
Standing up for workers
TUSC has the backing of one of Britain’s most militant unions, the RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport Union) and was co-founded by the late Bob Crow, that union’s former general secretary. The RMT, with 80,000 members, has subsequently endorsed TUSC at three consecutive conferences. In total, 15 national trade union figures are standing as part of TUSC: from Unison, the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Usdaw (retail and distribution union), PCS (Public and Commercial Services Union), NAPO (National Association of Probation Officers) and Joe Simpson, the assistant general secretary of the Prison Officers Association (POA). This is the largest number of leading trade unionists to stand for any party – and three quarters of our general election candidates are trade union activists; and the rest are active housing campaigners, anti-fracking activists, student campaigners, anti-racist activists.
TUSC is endorsing the NUT education manifesto, the Unite housing workers’ manifesto, the Blacklist Support Group and the Trade Union Freedom bill, as well as actively supporting strikes and workers’ struggles across Britain.
Mass support for TUSC policies
Whenever key TUSC policies are polled, there is huge support.
- 85% would support the implementation of the living wage (YouGov, 25/5/14). The TUC last year called for a £10 an hour minimum wage. TUSC campaigns to reach and surpass that, with an immediate raise to £10 an hour.
- 84% think that the National Health Service should be run in the public sector, and the renationalisation of energy companies, the Royal Mail and the railway companies reaches 68%, 67% and 66% respectively (YouGov 4/11/13). TUSC’s election platform includes opposition to PFI and private companies in the NHS, and the renationalisation of these key industries.
- 80% said social housing should be available for people who can’t afford the cost of private renting as well as providing a safety net (Ipsos Mori, 12/11/2014) and 56% would support rent controls for private housing (YouGov, 4/5/14). TUSC stands for a mass council house building programme to provide jobs and homes, and rent control.
- Ending all cuts was one of the top issues in a survey conducted for Manchester Evening News, with over 5,000 participants (30/03/15). TUSC has the distinction of voting consistently against cuts in local government, and it is a central policy in the TUSC manifesto.
The Con-Dem government has inflicted five years of savage austerity on working class people. Unfortunately there is no prospect of this changing beyond the general election, as the leadership of the Labour Party has made it clear that a Labour government would not mean an end to austerity.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) argues that working class people should not pay for a crisis that we did not cause. That was why TUSC was set up in 2010, co-founded by the late Bob Crow, to show that there is a clear left-wing alternative to policies of public sector cuts, privatisation, militarism and environmental degradation.
TUSC has accepted from its start that there will be some Labour candidates who share our socialist aspirations and will be prepared to support measures that challenge the austerity consensus of the establishment politicians. But it is also committed to standing candidates or supporting others if that is the only way a working class anti-austerity socialist alternative can be articulated at election time.
Our coalition, of trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists, is united on the need for mass resistance to the ruling class offensive, and for an alternative programme of left-wing policies to help inspire and direct such resistance:
PUBLIC OWNERSHIP, NOT PRIVATE PROFIT
NO CUTS – FOR QUALITY PUBLIC SERVICES
- Stop all privatisation, including the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). Bring privatised public services, industries and utilities back into public ownership under democratic control, with compensation only on the basis of proven need.
- No to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and all secret austerity treaties.
JOBS, NOT HANDOUTS TO THE BANKERS AND BILLIONAIRES
- Re-nationalise all rail, bus and ferry services to build an integrated, low-pollution public transport system. Take Royal Mail back into public ownership to guarantee our postal services. Bring prisons, probation, and all other parts of the justice system back into the public sector.
- For a high-quality, free National Health Service under democratic public ownership and control.
- Stop council estate sell-offs and build high-standard, eco-friendly, affordable council housing.
- No to academies and ‘free schools’. Good, free education for all, under democratic local authority control; student grants not fees.
EMPLOYMENT AND TRADE UNION RIGHTS
- Bring banks and finance institutions into genuine public ownership under democratic control, instead of giving huge handouts to the very capitalists who caused the crisis.
- Tax the rich. For progressive tax on rich corporations and individuals and an end to tax avoidance.
- For massive investment in environmental projects.
PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT – STOP GLOBAL WARMING
- Repeal the anti-trade union laws, reverse attacks on facility time and the right to collect subs by check-off for trade unions, particularly in the public-sector.
- Support the TUC’s demand to increase the minimum wage to £10 an hour, and for it then to rise in line with inflation or wages, whichever is higher.
- Scrap zero hour contracts. Guaranteed hours and full employment rights for all. Cut the working week to 35 hours with no loss of pay.
- Invest to create and protect jobs, including for young people.
- Solidarity with workers taking action to defend jobs, conditions, pensions, public services and trade unions. Reinstate full trade union rights to prison officers.
DECENT PENSIONS AND BENEFITS
- Deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions – otherwise climate change, caused by capitalism, will destroy us.
- Invest in publicly-owned and controlled renewable energy. Oppose fracking.
- Move to sustainable, low-pollution industry and farming – stop the pollution that is destroying our environment. No to profit-driven GM technology.
- Produce for need, not profit, and design goods for reuse and recycling.
STOP THE ATTACKS ON DISABLED PEOPLE
- Abolish the bedroom tax.
- Reverse cuts to benefits; for living benefits; end child poverty. Scrap benefit sanctions.
- Restore the pre-Thatcher real value of pensions. Reverse the increases imposed on the state retirement age, creating jobs for younger people.
DEMOCRACY, DIVERSITY AND JUSTICE
- Promote inclusive policies to enable disabled people to participate in, and have equal access to, education, employment, housing, transport and welfare provision.
- Support measures to ensure disabled people receive a level of income according to needs. Equal pay for equal work.
SOLIDARITY NOT WAR
- Welcome diversity and oppose racism, fascism and discrimination. Defend the right to asylum, repeal the 2014 Immigration Act and all racist immigration controls.
- Ensure women have genuinely equal rights and pay.
- Full equality for LGBT people.
- Defend our liberties and make police and security democratically accountable.
- For the right to vote at 16.
- No to imperialist wars and occupations!
- Justice for the Palestinians, lift the siege of Gaza, recognise the state of Palestine.
- No more spending on a new generation of nuclear weapons, huge aircraft carriers or irrelevant eurofighters - convert arms spending into socially useful products and services.
- An independent foreign policy, based on international solidarity - no more being a US poodle, no moves towards a capitalist, militarist United States of Europe. No to austerity and anti-working class policies, whether from the EU or Britain.
- For a democratic socialist society run in the interests of people not millionaires. For bringing into democratic public ownership the major companies and banks that dominate the economy, so that production and services can be planned to meet the needs of all and to protect the environment.