Anti-austerity challenge in West Yorkshire

A series of online TUSC meetings across Yorkshire kicked off in West Yorkshire on 20 January.

Nina Brown, Leeds Socialist Party

Iain Dalton, for the Socialist Party, said working people are facing unprecedented service cuts, increased council taxes and declining living standards.

He pointed out that under the leadership of Keir Starmer, Labour councils have continued implementing Tory cuts. And with cutting Labour and Tory councils, or right-wing populist parties standing in May’s elections, there will be no real working-class option at the ballot box except TUSC.

TUSC’s idea – of standing a range of socialist candidates under a no-cuts programme – was met enthusiastically by the meeting, which included members of six different trade unions.

Ex-Labour MP Chris Williamson, a representative of Resistance on the TUSC national steering committee, commented that Starmer’s commitment to neoliberalism, and the ‘low hanging fruit’ vote of the centre-right electorates, meant that footballer Marcus Rashford has done more to oppose the government than the ‘opposition’ party ever will.

Chris said that despite a mood among people of being ‘pissed off with politics’, he has great confidence in socialist grassroots movements and solidarity on the left to improve the prospects of working people.

He ended his contribution by saying TUSC needed to learn from Corbyn’s mistakes, and state that we are clearly and boldly fighting for working people.

A National Education Union (NEU) member referred to the massive online meeting earlier this month of 400,000 members – the largest TU meeting in history – over the unsafe return of schools. The NEU has since seen an increase in union membership and political discussions in the workplace.

There was also agreement that, with a clear leadership, based in the unions and working-class communities, TUSC could have great potential.

TUSC West Yorkshire steering committee is in the process of finalising a report outlining the cuts being made by all five West Yorkshire local authorities, will be holding further discussions on fighting these cuts, and emboldening trade unionists and activists to run under the TUSC banner.

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