TUSC North West conference keeps up the momentum
Around 50 activists from across the region attended a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) North West conference on 27 June, to assess the post-election situation and make plans to build TUSC going forward. Meeting on the same day for their conference, Scottish TUSC sent us a message of solidarity which was well received.
TUSC councillor Kevin Bennett from Warrington introduced the discussion, with the memorable line that "it's like the Tories decided to usurp the tale of Robin Hood, except this time the Sheriff of Nottingham is the hero! And it seems Andy Burnham agrees!" The main theme to emerge from discussion was that TUSC has achieved significant momentum from our landmark election challenge this year, and must keep this up against a backdrop of international crisis, developments in Greece, and the Tories' war on the poor and organised workers while Labour remains in turmoil.
Daren Ireland, the regional organiser of the RMT transport workers' union, one of the constituent organisations of TUSC, outlined the essential organisational steps to take - building finance through standing orders with only ten months until next year's local elections; pushing TUSC in the trade union movement and winning the unions to a position of support for a new mass working-class party; building and strengthening local groups operating on an open and federal basis welcoming all individuals and groups; and standing at least 500 candidates in May 2016 when around 2,200 councillors face election across England.
From the workshops on local groups and building in the unions, as well as discussion after Daren's contribution, ideas emerged for local merchandise, training election agents, benefit gigs, interest in the TUSC councillors' forum, and a regional website.
Re-electing Kevin Bennett next year will be the priority task for TUSC in the north-west, and the workshop on that came up with numerous useful ideas. It was agreed that regular regional mobilisations to help Warrington TUSC will be organised, starting on Sunday 9 August (leafleting) and Sunday 6 September (door-knocking). On each day we will have a 12-2pm shift and a 2-4pm shift, both starting at the Kings Head pub, 40 Winwick Street, WA2 7TU (opposite Warrington Central station, near bus station, just off the A49). All TUSC supporters in the region are urged to attend.
Enthusiasm for building TUSC was shown by the collection, which raised over Â£260 to cover the cost of the conference and give significant support to Warrington TUSC. And the final word goes to Noreen Bailey, the Salford & Eccles TUSC parliamentary candidate this May and a prominent local anti-cuts campaigner, who said, "TUSC members gave me a sense of worth and a glimpse of a better future". That is what we are about.
By Hugh Caffrey