Le Socialiste January 12, 2022 |
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TUSC marching in Leeds, photo Iain Dalton (Click to enlarge)

Iain Dalton, Socialist Party of Leeds

Leeds Labor Council is set to pass another round of Tory austerities. The Labor and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) hosted its meeting on the People’s Budget to discuss how trade unionists and community activists could tackle this and other attack. The meeting included local activists and a delegate from their branch of the civil service union PCS.

Socialist Party member Tanis Belsham-Wray, chairman of local Unite in the “non-profit” sector, introduced the meeting. The TUSC is a coalition, involving the transport union RMT, the Socialist Party and others, to give workers the opportunity to stand together on a common anti-austerity and socialist platform in the elections.

Cindy Readman, president of the Sugar Hill Close and Wordsworth Drive Residents’ Association, and leader of the Save Our Homes LS26 campaign, spoke about their four-year struggle.

A private developer bought their old coal properties to evict them in order to make way for more profitable “luxury” housing. Cindy’s family and six others have received eviction notices. More families are expected to receive the same treatment in January.

The council, after much pressure from trade unionists and other activists, is trying to organize for a housing association to buy the estate. However, residents have been advised that this can only happen if the estate is unoccupied.

Tenants want to be sure they can move back to new properties at affordable rents. The council has £ 73million in capital reserves, so residents argue the council should compulsorily buy the properties.

Paul Drinkwater, independent socialist adviser to Killingbeck and Seacroft, also spoke. Paul has been a firefighter and activist with the Union des pompiers (FBU) for 25 years.

Paul represented the council under Jeremy Corbyn’s Labor. He was disgusted that many Labor advisers were looking for extra money on top of their basic allowance through ‘extra responsibilities’. He left Labor last year, believing he could do as much, if not more, from outside Labor to represent workers.

When I spoke about the Socialist Party, I pointed to the successful campaigns that forced the council to back down, including Fearnville Fields and Special Education Needs Transport (Send) for 16-18 year olds. Taxi drivers and disability rights groups are trying to stop the Leeds train station taxi rank from moving.

The TUSC has an alternative strategy to stop the cuts: use reserves and borrowing powers to balance a budget without cuts, while launching a mass campaign to fight for the funding our city needs from the central government.

It is important to link community campaigns and unions to elected officials ready to be the platform for their struggles, rather than being inspired by what big business wants them to do.

Everyone involved should consider running as an anti-austerity candidate in the May municipal elections.

TUSC Local Elections Conference

  • 11 a.m. Sunday February 6 on Zoom
  • TUSC 2022 Local Elections Conference to discuss local council policies and electoral strategy
  • The conference was called under the title “Vote for a socialist recovery from the Covid crisis! », From 11 am to end between 1 pm and 3 pm.
  • Speakers from the platform of the constituent components of the TUSC steering committee – the transport workers union RMT, the Socialist Party, Resist and representatives of individual MPs – will introduce the single plenary session
  • Visit tusc.org.uk to see the TUSC platform project, basic policies, how to present yourself as a candidate and for Zoom details for the conference