Archive for the ‘Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition’ Category

London Rioting: The Tabloid Right and the Trendy Left Join Hands to Misrepresent Working People

August 10, 2011

“Only a blinkered left-winger fuelled by Marxist dogma could pretend that looting from a carpet store represents heroic blows against a racist establishment” declared Daily Express columnist Leo McKinstry to the ever dwindling number of readers his newspaper manages to either appeal or be given away to. Paltry as his readership may be he’s not entirely wrong. Even the most ardent supporter of the ultra-left would struggle to paint the pinching of some carpet as a classic revolutionary moment of proletarian struggle, without resorting to phrases such as ‘revolutionary moment of proletarian struggle.’  Yet both the ultra-left and the tabloid-right clamour to offer us the polar extremes with their interpretation of the rioting which has brought further misery to some of London’s most deprived boroughs.

Inevitably The Express and the Mail stand up for the largely mythical ‘hang ‘em, flog em’, deport ‘em – but not before cutting their benefits brigade’ while the ultras plumb the depths of the rhetoric they wheeled out for the student protests. Its ‘criminal irresponsibility’ and ‘opportunistic thievery’ here and ‘smash the police’, ‘London’s burning’ there. So familiar, so tired and so irrelevant.

Clearly the rioting was neither A nor B. There were no armed gangs waiting outside Carpet World in the off chance that a riot would grant them the opportunity to fit out their hallway, but neither was the violence a calculated or conscious rejection of capitalism in favour of a socialist alternative. Indeed it is the very lack of socialist consciousness and the very lack of that alternative as a viable option which leads to such scenes of urban violence.   

Through the damnation of the feckless represented by the tabloids and the lionisation of the mob by the ultra-left you can see the two frames through which the middle class view the working class when the mask slips.  On one hand you see the prejudice against working people which spawned the phrase ‘chav’ and the stomach churning impressions of teenage mums by millionaire ‘comedians’.  The disorder and poverty in these communities are a result of feckless irresponsibility we are told. At worst it leads to criminality and at best it leads to a life of sponging from the welfare state.

This is the interpretation which keeps a straight face when blaming rioting on individual criminals or even on Twitter. Brace yourselves, we are warned, the lower orders have the internet and they can now communicate instantly – it’s anarchy in 140 characters! No doubt, the skinny latte sipping blackberry owners feel as their ancestors once felt when the plebs got their hands on the printing press or the vote. Democracy and communication: brilliant tools for the well heeled and responsible, but a dangerous weapon in the hands of angry prols.

The worst offenders for peddling this overt prejudice against the working class are, as always, the professional bile spewers of the Daily Mail and the Daily Express, who are of course paid to flout artificial levels of conceit and malice to the least fortunate in society.  We shouldn’t be surprised when they lead the way in calling for water cannon, rubber bullets, martial law or capital punishment. It doesn’t even come as that much of a shock when these commentators start comparing rioters to animals, thereby du-humanising the disenfranchised with the sort of rhetoric reminiscent of the Victorian era.

What does come as a surprise is how quickly variations of these views are repeated by otherwise sane and rational people when events such as the riots unfold. Let’s take two examples from the world of twitter:

  • Hi, i’m British & you see those people rioting out in the streets? Yeah? Well they’re chavs, the most hated people in the UK.
  •  Good idea burning down your country to steal an Adidas tracksuit you stupid brainless chavs.

 Both have been re-tweeted multiple times, but now replace ‘chav’ with Nigger, Paki, Queer, Chink or any one of a hundred deliberately insulting words for a section of society and suddenly most of us would not only refuse to say it, we’d berate someone who would.

The demonization of the working class is truly one of the last acceptable faces of open hatred and prejudice. While such casual hatred has been elevated to the mainstream over the past few years, this lazy stereotyping has now been coupled to a very visible threat through the rioting. Suddenly it is acceptable to say you’re afraid that ‘they’ may come down from the estates and loot your house or that ‘they’ are feral or animalistic. Fall into that mindset and you fall in alongside Max Hasting and Leo McKinstry.

For the ultra and trendy left, a stereotype which also predominantly harks from the middle classes, the riots appear to be a glorious moment of theory made flesh. Smash Vodaphone! Nick from Nike! Punish the Police! To the trendy left the riots are considered some sort of conscious uprising, a raw anger of the masses kicking out against the oppression of the police.  This understanding could not be more wrong.

The rioting is not a rough and raw version of the working class self-organisation that we saw in Egypt when people spontaneously defended their neighbourhoods from the police or linked arms to protect Cairo’s antiquates museum from looters. It’s the very inverse.  Far from a glorious insurrection, rioting demonstrates the very depths that capitalism can push people to. It’s the violent, selfish and angry side of the very system we’re looking to overthrow. Rioting is the worst face of capitalism, something socialists want to abolish, not encourage.

Another justification from this section of the left is that the violence of the riots is tiny in comparison to the greater crimes of the system. “What’s the crime of looting a discount sportswear store compared to the crime of founding one?” the Facebook friends of one sect member were asked.  The other example being wheeled out is that of the bankers. The looting of Debenhams is nothing compared to the looting by the banks! Indeed that’s true, but it’s not the same. Capitalism encourages one but makes the other illegal and therein lies the point. A truly just system, which is what we are looking to build lest we forget, would deem both illegal.

This misunderstanding appears to be a world away from Leo McKinstry’s hatred, but is ignoring the reality of the violence to make it fit a delusional and glorified narrative purely for your own excitement really any better than condemning it with hateful rhetoric in order to flog a few more papers?

The underling social causes behind the violence have already been clearly presented here: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/12498/08-08-2011/tottenham-riots-fatal-police-shooting-sparks-eruption-of-protest-amp-anger

While the only way forward is spelled out here: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/12510/09-08-2011/as-inner-cities-erupt-a-mass-workers-movement-is-needed-to-defeat-the-government

It is clear that just as political and social alienation can lead the politically conscious youth of Madrid and Athens to the camps of the Indignados, that same alienation, coupled with the dire social and material conditions of places like Tottenham make these communities a tinderbox. This time it’s a police shooting which started the fires, but as austerity measures kick in this will not be the last time that we see the depths people can be pushed to by capitalism.

Workers and Students Unite to Launch Portsmouth Anti-Cuts Campaign

November 19, 2010

Over 150 Trade Unionists and Community activists packed into a university lecture theatre last night to officially launch the Portsmouth Anti-Cuts Campaign. The meeting, hosted by Portsmouth Trades Council, sought to use the momentum generated by recent local anti-cuts marches and public meetings to build a community wide campaign prepared to take on every single proposed cut.

To open the discussion on the way forward the meeting was addressed by Laurie Heselden South East representative of the Trades Union Congress, who said: ‘These cuts are a massive experiment. No country has ever cut its way out of a recession. These cuts are not being made because they have to be. They are doing this because they want to do it.’

However, after Heselden proceeded to read the charge sheet of cuts which the public sector will be facing he then outlined the limited TUC strategy of training union reps and building for a national demonstration in March.

In contrast Ben Norman, speaking on behalf of ‘Youth Fight for Jobs: South’ challenged Heselden by proposing that the campaign should back the PCS call for a national trade union demonstration before Christmas, a proposal greeted by the first round of applause of the evening.

‘The 50,000 students who marched to defend education were but the tip of the Iceberg, a litmus test for the nation’s anger.” Norman said. “If we wait for four more months before taking national action any march may just become a funeral procession for the jobs which will have been lost and the futures which will have been blighted.’

The Youth Fight for Jobs speaker also called for the campaign to be committed to fighting all cuts and proposed standing Anti-cuts candidates in the upcoming local elections.

Contributions from the floor included discussion on the

The meeting also elected a steering committee including trade union reps, student’s union officers, and school students from the Portsmouth Save Our Schools campaign and delegates from the Pensioners Association.

The campaign will next meet on Monday, November 29 at 6pm at a venue to be decided.

 **More to follow **

Britain: Con-Dem-ed By New Coalition

May 20, 2010

 The following is an article by national TUSC organiser Hannah Sell. Deputy General Secretary of the Socialist Party

“BRITAIN HAS been ‘Con Dem-ned’ to a future of savage attacks on public services, pay, pensions and benefits combined with tax increases for working and middle-class people.

The Tory/Liberal coalition has been cobbled together in a desperate attempt to create a government strong enough to launch an all-out onslaught on the living standards of the working class.

Two thirds of the new cabinet went to public school. This is a government of the elite, for the elite, and it is going to set out to hammer the rest of us.

Mervyn King, unelected governor of the Bank of England, spoke on behalf of the majority of Britain’s capitalist class when he welcomed the government’s cuts plans and egged it on to go further in its emergency budget.

It should not be forgotten that it was Gordon Brown, in 1997, who first gave the Bank of England independence from the government, freeing it to campaign blatantly on behalf of the capitalist class.

However, Cameron and Clegg do not need egging on. The £6 billion worth of cuts that has been declared is the tip of an enormous iceberg. It is not certain how quickly the rest of the iceberg will be revealed but there is no doubt that it will be.

The cuts that will be announced in the emergency budget will only be the beginning. According to the Financial Times (13 May 2010):

“Mr Osborne will have to announce public spending cuts of £57 billion a year from a non-protected budget of about £260 billion – cuts of about 22%. It goes without saying that this will prove a sharp test of political will… Britain’s public sector will face similar austerity measures to those seen in Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain.”

It will and, like in those countries, we will see mass movements of the working class in opposition to the cuts.

Movements

Such movements can force even strong governments to retreat. In Britain the profound weakness and division of this ‘government of losers’ will be revealed.

Almost seven million people voted Liberal Democrat. The vast majority did so believing that the Liberal Democrats were a radical, anti-Tory party. Now their illusions have been brutally shattered as the Liberal Democrats have gaily burned their election manifesto in return for a taste of power.

The only establishment party that made a claim to be against the war in Afghanistan, the Liberal Democrats’ negotiators have accepted the continuation of the occupation without a moment’s hesitation.

They signed up just as eagerly for the Tories’ plans to slash public spending. The Tories, determined to make sure that the coalition partner takes its share of the blame have surrounded the chancellor, George Osborne, with a Liberal Democrat guard of axemen.

Vince Cable has become business secretary. David Laws, a millionaire and ex-managing director of JP Morgan, has taken on the job of chief secretary of the treasury, a job which the Tory, Philip Hammond, who held the shadow post, predicted would result in its occupant’s face being stuck on dartboards in workplaces up and down the country.

Thatcherism

The Liberal Democrats have also taken on the job of Scottish secretary. The memories of Thatcherism run so deep in Scotland that the Tories remain virtually unelectable – with only one seat! The Lib Dems currently have seven but, by tying their wagon to the Tories, they too will now face oblivion in Scotland.

Millions of Lib Dem voters, and many – perhaps even a majority – of the party’s activists will abandon the Liberal Democrats because of what they see as a terrible betrayal.

At parliamentary level, however, it seems for now that the coalition has been reluctantly accepted even by more radical Liberal Democrat MPs.

This is only possible because the Liberal Democrats – although always a capitalist party – have suffered their own equivalent to Blairism.

Clegg and his allies around the ‘Orange Book’ successfully fought to move the party to the right on a whole number of issues; particularly on economic questions.

So much in common

The result is a situation where the Tory negotiators can describe, probably genuinely, their happiness in discovering they had so much in common with their Lib Dem counterparts – both ‘socially liberal and economically conservative’, as William Hague put it.

Cameron and co were forced into this coalition by their failure to win a majority. But now it exists they are trying to use it for their own ends, including leaning on the Liberal Democrats against the Tories’ own ultra-conservative wing.

The leadership of the Tories has been prepared to contemplate allowing the possibility of joining the rest of the world and allowing a referendum on moving the voting system away from ‘first past the post’, in order to attempt to create a stable government together with the Liberal Democrats.

The Tories have also been prepared to promise fixed-term parliaments and, in an anti-democratic measure which has an element of parliamentary bonapartism, to promise that the support of 55% of MPs will be required in order to dissolve parliament.

Even if this measure makes it onto the statute books, which is far from certain, it will not be workable in reality.

If 51% of MPs vote to dissolve parliament no government is going to be able to refuse to call a general election on the grounds that 55% is required constitutionally!

Shatter

Despite all the efforts of Clegg and Cameron to create a stable government, this weak and rickety coalition is likely to shatter under the pressure of events at a certain point, probably in response to mass movements of the working class.

Radical Lib Dem MPs may be reluctantly acquiescing to the situation now, but the pressure on them will be enormous when their ministers are proposing 22% cuts in public spending.

The Lib Dems won many young people’s votes by claiming that they would abolish university tuition fees – although, in reality, Clegg had already used the economic crisis as an excuse to postpone this pledge into the distant future.

Now Lib Dem MPs are likely to be sitting on their hands while their government lifts the cap on tuition fees and slaughters university spending.

Explosive

Combined with growing mass youth unemployment – already the highest in twenty years – this will lead to an explosive situation amongst young people in Britain.

Youth Fight for Jobs will have a crucial role to play in organising that anger, including by initiating school student and student strikes.

The measures planned by the government are very likely, as we have warned, to lead to a ‘double-dip’ recession.

As David Blanchflower, ex-member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, put it on 12 May:

“Anybody who is going to start cutting in [the current economic position] is basically going to push us into that death spiral. That’s what we’ve avoided until this date. We need to be stimulating growth, not withdrawing multiple billions out of the system.”

This is accurate, but it is not preventing the representatives of capitalism worldwide bowing to the will of the market – that is to the views of a handful of billionaire gamblers – and demanding speedy cuts in public spending.

In Spain the prime minister, Zapatero, has announced a new ‘surprise’ cut of 5% in civil service pay after he received a phone call from Obama pleading with him to take “resolute action”.

Spain

The Spanish working class has given a ‘resolute response’ by calling a public sector general strike.

We are at the beginning, Europe-wide, of what will be the mother of all battles to defend workers from the onslaught of capital.

Twenty years ago in Britain our party, (then the Militant) led the 18 million-strong movement that brought down Thatcher – the Iron Lady – and her hated poll tax.

Clegg and Cameron are more like Chihuahuas (as Boris Johnson suggested) than iron men, but we are going to need a similar movement to defeat them and their cuts.

With the poll tax, even without the intervention of organised socialists, there would have been a mass outpouring of rage against the iniquity of the tax.

Our role was to channel the anger into an organised movement.

The scale of the cuts coming in Britain means we will face the same situation, but more so. It is true that the political understanding of the working class has not yet caught up with the changed economic situation, and that the confusion that exists can be prolonged by the lack of a mass workers’ party.

But, despite these complications, the working class will be forced to fight back to defend itself and over time will draw political conclusions out of its experience in those struggles.

Nonetheless, socialists have a vital task in campaigning for a programme that will take the movement forward at each stage.

There is no doubt that the right-wing trade union leaders will want to try to compromise with the government – accepting some cuts to try to prevent others.

But only a militant, determined struggle against all cuts will be successful.

First step

The first step needs to be a campaign for a massive national trade union led demonstration against all cuts in public services.

This needs to be linked to the development of local anti-cuts committees to bring together the different campaigns in preparation for the mass movement that will be necessary.

In Britain, as in other countries, the need for general strike action, probably initially across the public sector, will be posed at a certain stage.

This needs to be linked to arguing the case for a socialist alternative to capitalism. Unlike the governments of Europe, we do not accept the diktats of the markets. Rather than bending the knee to these billionaire blackmailers, the power to hold governments and whole peoples to ransom should be taken away from them.

Not only should the banks be nationalised under democratic workers’ control and management, but a state monopoly of foreign trade should be introduced.

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

It was to put the case for a socialist alternative that the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) stood in the general election.

As The Socialist explained (issue 624), TUSC’s excellent campaigns were not fully reflected in the votes we received.

This was partly because TUSC had not had time to establish a national profile but also, as we expected, because many workers who agreed with us felt that they had no choice but to vote for New Labour in order to try to stop the Tories.

This did not represent support for New Labour, which, unlike the Labour Party of the past, is a capitalist party, but rather the hope that the cuts would be a little gentler under a New Labour government.

Ironically, Margaret Hodge, the millionaire New Labour MP for Barking, accurately described the reality when she pleaded with a voter on London TV, “just hold your nose and vote for me”; in that case to stop both the BNP and the Tories.

In fact, although New Labour said that it would not fully wield the axe this year, there would have been no fundamental difference between the cuts of a New Labour government and those of the current coalition.

As Alistair Darling explained, New Labour’s cuts would have been “deeper and tougher than those of Thatcher”.

Cuts “Deeper and tougher than those of Thatcher” – New Labour

Since the election, some have argued that there is a possibility of shifting New Labour back to the left now that it is out of power.

We do not think this is on the agenda. After the election, a trickle of people joining the Labour Party has been reported, about 12 per constituency, partly disillusioned Lib Dems.

However, to stand a chance of reclaiming capitalist New Labour for the working class it would take a mass influx into the party – of trade unionists and young people – determined to rebuild the democratic structures which have long been destroyed.

To put it mildly, this has not been the experience of the other ex-social democratic parties in Europe, which have not altered their capitalist character when out of power and have largely remained empty shells.

What is more, new left formations – in particular Syriza in Greece – have come into being while the ex-workers’ parties have been out of power.

TUSC represents an important preparatory step towards such a formation – which could come into being very quickly under the impact of the stormy events that are coming.

In response to our calls for a new mass workers’ party, Len McCluskey, general secretary candidate for Unite the union, has said that Unite would launch a major campaign to reclaim the Labour Party under his leadership.

We think this is a mistaken strategy. We argue for Unite to stop funding New Labour and to begin to build a new party.

Nonetheless, a serious campaign to reclaim New Labour by affiliated trade unions would be a huge step forward on the current policy of the majority of the union leaders of clinging to the coat-tails of the Brownites and the Blairites.

A serious campaign would have to demand that Labour adopts a socialist programme. Key demands would include the repeal of all the anti-trade union laws and opposition to all cuts in public services, not just in words but in action.

Up and down the country Labour councils are going to be implementing the government’s massive cuts in public spending ‘under protest’.

Take the Liverpool road

It would be necessary to demand that they ‘take the Liverpool road’ and, following the example of Liverpool city council in the 1980s, refuse to implement cuts, mobilising the workforce and population in a mass campaign in their support.

Such a campaign of defiance could quickly bring down the Tory/Liberal government.

It would also be necessary to demand that the pro-capitalist and pro-war Blairites and Brownites be expelled from the party.

Linked to this would be the rebuilding of democracy within the Labour Party, which is currently non-existent at national level.

The trade unions, the main funders of New Labour, no longer even have the right to move motions at the toothless annual conference.

We do not think that a campaign to reclaim New Labour could succeed. However, were it to do so we would turn towards such a development. Equally, if we are proved correct, the affiliated trade unions would need to draw the conclusion that New Labour could not be reclaimed and take the road of building a new mass party of the working class.

The first issue which will test the strength of the left in New Labour is the debate over its next leader.

Heir to Blair

The character of New Labour is summed up by David Miliband, the current favourite to take the leadership.

Seumas Milne described him accurately (Guardian, 13 May 2010): “The heir to Blair who voted to invade Iraq, outhawked the Bush administration during the 2008 Georgia crisis and has continued to hanker after the marketisation of public services.”

The two Eds – Miliband and Balls – are no better. There are no political differences between these candidates. Were they in power the policies that they would be implementing would be almost indistinguishable from those of the Tory/Lib Dem coalition.

However, Socialist Campaign Group MP, John McDonnell, has indicated he will stand again. Last time he could not get the 48 MPs required to even get on the ballot paper, demonstrating the weakness of the Labour left.

This time the threshold is lower, at 33 MPs, but there are now only 18 Labour Representation Committee-backed MPs in parliament.

McDonnell is almost certain to be the only candidate that stands in defence of workers’ interests. Therefore, as Socialist Party members will argue, all affiliated trade unions, if they are serious about fighting to reclaim New Labour, should mandate their sponsored MPs to back him.

The general election campaign was the worst in living memory. Nonetheless, it marked an important turning point in Britain’s history. Cameron and Clegg have not created a ‘new’ kind of politics. Their coalition is one more government for the billionaires and the bankers – but the profound crisis of the capitalist profit system means that it will be a more brutal, vicious, anti-working class government than anything we have seen in our lifetimes.

As in Greece, Spain and other countries the working class will respond with mass resistance. We will have opportunities to build mass support for socialism, as the only real alternative to the appalling brutality of the market.”

TUSC Support Continues to Grow Across Portsmouth

May 13, 2010

TUSC Support Continues to Grow Across Portsmouth

Support for Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition parliamentary candidate Mick Tosh continues to grow across Portsmouth North as the election campaign gathers momentum.

The TUSC campaign team, featuring activists from UNITE, CWU, UNISON, PCS, the RMT, the Socialist Worker’s Party and the Socialist Party have been organising successful action days, campaign stalls and canvassing sessions at key locations across the city as the campaign draws the cities left together.

At Fratton Park Mick and the team distributed leaflets and manifestos while speaking to fans ahead of the home game with Blackburn, reiterating that he is the only candidate supporting the staff currently losing their jobs. Mick is also the only candidate calling for a full public investigation into the club’s finances and the only candidate to propose ‘Supporter and Community Directors’ as part of a ‘reclaim the game’ campaign.

In Cosham, at the north of the city, campaigners spoke to local hospital workers and many residents who simply felt betrayed by their current politicians. “We’re losing our jobs today,” said Linda, a shop worker on the high street.  “We were promised that this area would be re-generated by a Labour government and the Lib-Dem council, but that was clearly a lie. We’ll be voting for TUSC, it’s time that an ordinary guy like Mick was representing ordinary people like us.”

Similar stories have been repeated in North End, Stamshaw, Copnor and other areas of the city where Mick and the campaign team have been met with enthusiasm and encouragement.

There may only be a few short weeks of campaigning time left before the election, but the ‘TUSC: Portsmouth North’ campaign isn’t going to lose momentum after May 6th.

“We all know that May 6th isn’t the end of this, It’s the beginning,” said Socialist Party member Stuart Thompson. “What’s important is that after the election, when the government comes for our jobs and our services, we will be ready to face them. TUSC has brought us together and the coming fight is going to keep us together. We are calling for the current campaign team to become a branch of a new worker’s party. That’s what’s needed to continue, and win, this fight!”

A final election rally will be taking place on the 4th May at 7.30pm at Cosham Community Centre.

TUSC – The Next Step ….

May 9, 2010

Dear All,

Firstly, many thanks go to all who voted and campaigned for Mick Tosh and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in Portsmouth North. Do not underestimate the historic step we have taken towards building a new political alternative and the important role we have played in proving that working people will not accept the big three party’s agenda of cuts.

As anyone who gave their time to this campaign can testify, we received nothing but a positive reaction and warm support from people we met on stalls, while the reaction from trade union branches across the country, who donated financial support to our campaign, has been phenomenal. Of course our share of vote, in this marginal Labour/Tory seat, was always going to be squeezed by a overwhelming fear of a Tory victory, but we have made a positive start and we have a concrete base to build upon.

The election campaign may be over, but it is not the end of TUSC, indeed it isn’t even the beginning of the end; rather it is the end of the beginning as we look towards the next stage of building a true working class alternative. In this election we have raised our banner and now we must continue to build on the contacts and links we have made to strengthen the Trade Union and working class movement across the city so we can continue to stand together against the savage cuts to come.

 To begin this next stage we will be holding an open meeting of TUSC candidates and supporters:

Tomorrow 7:30 pm, Fratton Railway Club

When the big three finish their behind-closed-doors talks and decide which of them will take the lead in cutting our jobs and services we will be ready.

Yours Fraternally,

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition: Portsmouth North Tuscportsmouth.press@gmail.com

Election Night

May 7, 2010

Election Night

At 07.00am on thr 7th of May Penny Mordaunt the Tory candidate was elected MP for Portsmouth North.  The full election result is posted on the Portsmouth News website.

Speaking following the result New Labour candidate, and now ex-MP, Sarah Mcarthy-Fry wished Mordaut well.

In his post-election speech TUSC candidate Mick Tosh said that trade unionists across the city would come together to fight the cuts on jobs and services that a Conservative government would bring.

At the time of writing the a government is yet to be formed.

As Brown Calls Election TUSC Provides a Clear Choice for Portsmouth Voters

April 6, 2010

April 6th 2010

As Brown Calls Election TUSC Provides a Clear Choice for Portsmouth Voters

When Gordon Brown visited Buckingham Palace today to formally call the general election Mick Tosh, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate for Portsmouth North, declared that his campaign is not only ready to challenge the two main parties in the constituency, but also the threat of the far right. TUSC, with Mick Tosh a ferry worker of 30 years as its candidate, will provide a genuine working class alternative for the voters of Portsmouth.

 “The election is now officially underway, Gordon Brown says we have a “big choice” to make and Portsmouth North is a seen as a key battleground constituency, yet come May 6th many people are going to go to the polls feeling that because the big three parties are so similar there is little to chose from. Many may even decide not to vote” said Tosh. “It’s true, the big three parties are identical when it comes to cutting our jobs and our public services, but this isn’t a three horse race, TUSC provides a real alternative.”

“I am the only candidate standing against the cuts planned by the other parties. I am the only candidate standing to repeal the anti-trade union laws and to bring public utilities, such as the railways, back into public ownership.”

“Of course we’re not the only party saying we’re the alternative. The BNP, UKIP and English democrats are reported to be standing in this city – what will these ultra right wing parties provide for working people, trade unionists and the less well off? Nothing! In contrast to their politics of division I am standing for solidarity with workers and people across the city who are fighting to defend jobs and our environment and the need to provide affordable, decent homes and quality services, not division of the other parties or the racism the BNP peddle.”

“I am standing in solidarity with staff at Fratton Park who are losing their jobs – where have the other parties been on this issue? I am the only candidate calling for a full, open, public enquiry into the club’s finances and calling for democratically elected ‘supporter and community directors’ so that we, the fans and people of Portsmouth, can gain a stake in our club and put it back into the heart of our community.”

“I am campaigning to keep the prison services and the post office in public ownership”

 ”I want a proper consultation and a vote of people who will be affected by the proposed new slip road off the M275″.

 ”I will campaign against the Lisbon treaty on the same grounds outlined during the ‘No-to EU- Yes to Democracy’ campaign in June.” “Gordon Brown says we have a ‘big choice’ to make, yet the big three parties provide no choice proposing only cuts or swifter cuts. Through TUSC we give working people, families, pensioners and those whose voice is not listened to a real choice, a way to say no to cuts, no to job losses and yes to improving our society with fairness for all. TUSC is the real alternative, giving ordinary people the right to represent themselves and represent the millions, not the millionaires.”

TUSC at Fratton Park: For A Worker’s and Fan’s Club!

April 5, 2010

Mick Tosh and the TUSC: Portsmouth North campaign team headed to Fratton Park on Saturday prior to Pompey’s 0-0 draw with Blackburn to stand in solidarity with workers at the club who still fear for their jobs and to call for fans to have a democratic stake in th running of their club.

Mick, a lifelong Pompey fan and season ticket holder, said:

“I am standing in solidarity with staff at Fratton Park who are losing their jobs. I am the only candidate calling for a full, open, public enquiry into the club’s finances and the only candidate calling for democratically elected ‘fans directors’, so that we fans can gain a stake in our club and put it back into the heart of our community.”

Mick was supported by members of the RMT, UNITE and the Socialist Party who gave out leaflets and collected names in support of the campaign.

“The response has been great,” said Ben Norman from the Socialist Party. “As fans we’re worried about the future of the club, but we’re also worried for those members of staff who are going to lose their jobs. Why should fans and workers have to pay for the owner’s crisis?”

Portsmouth TUSC Candidate Declares Anti-Strike Ruling ‘Undemocratic’ and Calls for Support for Rail Workers

April 2, 2010

TUSC Candidate Declares Anti-Strike Ruling ‘Undemocratic’ and Calls for Support for Rail Workers

Following yesterdays high court ruling to delay the pending rail workers strike on April 6th, TUSC Portsmouth North candidate Mick Tosh declared:

 “This is simply undemocratic. The right to strike is every worker’s most basic right and it is a right which needs to be defended. The pending action by rail workers was not only about defending jobs but about defending public safety.”

“As rail user I would be more comforted about rail safety if Network Rail spent more time negotiating a settlement with the RMT which ensures the safety of our Railways with proper staffing levels, than the time spent with briefs in suits and sitting in judges’ chambers pouring of minute details and loopholes of the anti trade union laws to stifle workers democracy.”

 “This undemocratic intervention is another clear example of the need to repeal the anti-trade union laws established by Thatcher. I am standing to repeal these draconian laws and give worker’s their rights back.”

We Are Ready!” TUSC Activists Outline Campaign Activity At Open Meeting

April 1, 2010

We Are Ready!” TUSC Activists Outline Campaign Activity At Open Meeting  

Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition (TUSC) supporters met at an open meeting at  Portsmouth Railway Club on Monday 29th March to announce activity and to launch a finance appeal.

Writing after the meeting, Richard Howard, Portsmouth RMT branch secretary wrote:

“Mick Tosh is a candidate who offers an alternative to cuts, to racism and the poor paying for the follies and excesses of the rich, Mick will represent the views of his constituents and not fat cat bankers and businesses. If elected Mick will take the wage of an average worker in his constituency.

We need your assistance, moral, practical and financial to stand against the planned cuts on jobs and the welfare state, to build solidarity between workers in this area who face battles in the future and be a voice for workers in parliament. I appeal to you and to those within your Branch to come to our aid and assist us in whatever capacity you feel is possible. There is a pressing need for financial support. This is what the political fund is for, to support political efforts on behalf of our members interests. We can send speakers to any meeting including your branch meeting to explain our position and answer any questions you and your members will have. I look forward to hearing from you in the very near future.”

Key Campaign Dates:

 *Saturday 3 April. Meet at 1.15 pm outside Fratton Railway Club (opposite Fratton Station) to leaflet the Pompey game (Saturday 10 April. Meet at 12 noon outside Sommerfields in North End for street

* Monday 12 April. TUSC meeting in Stamshaw Community Centre. * Saturday 17 April. Meet at 12 noon at shops on Allaway Avenue, Paulsgrove for street meeting.

 * Sunday 18 April. Meet at 2.30 pm outside Fratton Railway Club to leaflet Pompey game.

 * Saturday 24 April. Meet at 12 noon in Cosham Precinct for street meeting.

Finance appeal:

Cheques can be made out to ‘TUSC Portsmouth’ and sent to the treasurer, Ben Norman, at 41 Harold Road, Southsea, PO4 0LS.

 Future Meetings:

On the 29th April Brian Caton, Prison Officers Association General Secretary is speaking at a TUSC rally in Southampton.

Next TUSC Portsmouth North meeting will be on 12 April  in Stashaw 7.30 pm (venue to be confirmed.)

For more information please contact tusc.portsmouth@gmail.com