Swansea needs councillors who vote against cuts! No to austerity - vote Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

Don’t waste the opportunity to send a clear ‘no more cuts’ message by voting for Ronnie Job, TUSC: the only no-cuts, socialist candidate in Swansea West in the 2015 General Election!

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Swansea March Against Austerity

On Saturday there is a Swansea march against austerity assembling at the Guildhall at 12.30pm to march to Castle Square.

The demo is timely as Osbourne has announced further cuts for Wales this year of somewhere between £50 million and £84 million, depending on which report you read.

It's a good job we in Wales have got a Labour Government and many of us have got Labour councils to protect us from those cuts...

Except they don't!

Labour is in a potentially powerful position in Wales to throw a serious spanner in the wheels of the Tories' austerity programme but instead the facilitate it.

Labour holds the leadership of the Welsh Government and, until recently half the councils in Wales. Labour has just lost the leadership of Carmarthenshire Council to Plaid Cymru, where unions are demanding Plaid Cymru keep the promises they made while in opposition - to halt the cuts and attacks on union representation of the previous Labour administration. But Labour still runs 10 out of 22 local authorities.

The problem is that Labour has simply wielded the Con-Dems' axe for them, slashing jobs and services. An insightful front page image for the local newspaper had a mocked up picture of Cameron, Labour First Minister and the then Swansea Council Leader, David Phillips, all carrying hatchets, under the headline "the axe men cometh".

I wonder how many Labour politicians who have put up their hands for devastating cuts will be on this demo and the even more important Peoples Assembly march in London on June 20?

Obviously we all want unity in the fight against austerity but it has to be unity based on a plan to defeat cuts. That has to mean elected representatives voting against cuts. Councillors and other politicians who vote for cuts to jobs and services and then march and rally against the cuts they implement just sow confusion in the movement.

TUSC will be marching in Swansea on Saturday and in London next week. If, like us, you think that an important part of the fight against austerity is to build a political opposition to cuts then speak to us on the rally or come to our meeting in Dyfatty Community Centre, 7.30pm on June 24. We will be discussing the next steps in building a political anti-austerity alternative after the election.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Does Jeremy Corbyn entering the Labour Leadership contest negate what we've previously published?

Jeremy Corbyn has entered the contest for the Labour Leadership. Corbyn is standing as a left, anti-austerity candidate. Does that negate what we've previously published?

No! It's not guaranteed, in fact it is perhaps unlikely, that Corbyn will get enough nominations from Labour MPs to make it onto the ballot paper. John McDonnell was unsuccessful un securing the necessary nominations in the last two leadership elections. Less Labour MPs were willing to publicly defend the party-union link than the 35 required to nominate a leadership challenger.

If Corbyn does make it onto the ballot then it is all but ruled out that he would win given the emptying out of the Party and its acceleration to the right. So fast has been Labour's march to the right that Miliband's weak election platform, which promised more cuts, tighter immigration controls, no measures to halt falling wages, or reverse the jobs massacre and which completely failed to inspire working class voters, is now seen as left-wing in the ranks of the Labour Party.

Will the affiliated trade unions back Corbyn? It's not guaranteed but if they don't and continue to support austerity-Burnham even after he has made it clear he doesn't want their support, then it should be obvious to everyone that there is no prospect of Labour ever being reclaimed as a tool to fight for trade unionists and working class people.

We now have the strange spectacle of Corbyn, the declared left winger in this contest, having to defend Miliband's programme and election campaign. Sorry Jeremy but a few token gestures, like raising the minimum wage to a few pence more than today's Living Wage, in 5 years' time, doesn't make Miliband's an anti-austerity programme.

Despite Corbyn's identification with Miliband's austerity election programme, I think TUSC should give him what backing we can, particularly in the affiliated unions. In return we ask that if and when he fails to halt the march to the right of Labour, that those who back him in the Party be prepared to accept the obvious conclusion that Labour can't be reclaimed as a party for trade unionists and the working class.

Instead of wasting time and energy on the Labour Party which, despite their efforts, is rapidly ditching the 'lite' part of Tory-lite, we invite them to join us in debating how to build a new party of the working class on the foundations already laid down by TUSC.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Never mind Blairite, Labour leadership contenders sound positively Thatcherite!

So Newsnight's going to screen a Labour leadership contenders' debate? I don't know why they bother - they all seem to be saying the same things.

On one news programme last week we had reports of Burnham saying he didn't want to be seen as the candidate of the unions or the Left (as if!) and that he thinks we should be tougher on benefits, Liz Kendall saying she wants to back the white working class young (what about the non-white working class?) and Yvette Cooper calling for tougher action on immigration. Never mind a field of Blairites, at times they sound positively Thatcherite!

Despite the determination of all contenders for the Labour leadership to move the Party even further to the right (incredibly they all blame Miliband's defeat on him being too left wing!) the affiliated unions will no doubt find some reason to back one of this ragbag as the 'unions' choice'; it looks like being Burnham at the moment despite his desperation to distance himself from that label.

If newspaper reports are right then Unite and Unison between them gave upwards of £20 million to the Labour Party under Miliband, who was himself the 'unions' choice' at the time. What did we get for our members' money? Under Miliband's leadership, Labour refused to support and in a number of cases condemned, striking trade unionists doing what Labour refused to do - fighting back against Government cuts.

Worse still, where Labour is in power - in the Welsh Government and in councils across the country - they've been just as quick to make cuts as the Tories. £20 million to support a party whose councillors make thousands of our members redundant, outsource jobs and services and drive down our members' conditions?

And let's not forget the Labour Leader reporting Unite, his party's biggest financial backer, to the police on completely spurious charges. Even though  all the accusations against Unite in Falkirk were found to be groundless, they still provided a pretext for Inneos to victimise a Unite steward and for the Labour Party to bar an elected candidate from standing in Falkirk and then initiate the Collins Review, to neuter union influence in the Party.

And yet Labour 'lefts' and the Morning Star, are getting excited about Labour MPs 'defending the union link' but when you read the detail it's a signal of the weakness of support for union values in the parliamentary party - they could only find 26 Labour MPs who were willing to defend the trade union link, even in its extremely watered down version post-Collins. When I was a member of the Labour Party if you applied to join without providing details of what union you were a member of, your application would be referred back until you could provide a good reason as to why you were not a trade unionist. Now I seems that only a tiny minority of Labour MPs think there is a role for unions at all in the Party (apart from maybe bankrolling their personal careers).

To suggest that trade unionists should join, vote for and fund the Labour Party given all the above smacks of Stockholm Syndrome. The affiliated unions need to break with Labour now - not a penny more of our members cash to the red Tories! Instead found a real workers' party that can build on the foundations laid down by TUSC.