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TUSC National Steering Committee makes a number of key decisions – report from March and May SC meetings

Compiled by Pete McLaren, ISN co-delegate to the TUSC Steering Committee (SC)

COMPOSITION OF THE SC

Socialist Resistance attended for the first time in May following the March decision to admit them without the right to a veto. The RMT have elected 7 delegates, and 4 attended the May meeting. The SP, SWP, ISN and RMT attended both meetings

ELECTIONS

TUSC won a town Council seat in March in Maltby with 60% of the vote, beating a Labour candidate standing as an Independent

European Elections 2014 – The May meeting heard the RMT have called a meeting of the original No2EU partners – SP, CPB, AGS, RMT – and TUSC– to discuss 2014. If it stands, TUSC was floating possible electoral titles including ‘Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts-No2EUNo to Austerity’. It was confirmed use of a veto would prevent TUSC participation in these elections. It was again agreed to ask the CPB to join the SC

Concerns were raised about the racism likely to be engendered during the Euro Elections, and this should influence our campaign and electoral title. The RMT suggested we make clear our socialist objections to the EU. There was a danger of being seen as being in agreement with UKIP with a ‘No2EU’ label

County Council Elections May 2012. A number of points were made in a comprehensive report compiled by Clive Heemskerk which is available in full on the TUSC web site:

  • 120 TUSC candidates had stood in 20 Councils contesting elections (60%). TUSC contested 5% of the seats available, an increase on 2011 and 2012. When this cycle of elections were last held in 2009, there were no left candidates
  • TUSC averaged 2.5%
  • The TUSC candidate for mayor of Doncaster got 3.1%, putting her in 6th place ahead of the Lib Dems, and only just behind the Tories
  • The ratio of TUSC to Labour votes rose to1:14, higher than last year. The ratio to the Green party was 1:3, and to the Lib Dems, 1:5
  • Both Labour and Green stood more candidates % wise this year than last
  • The UKIP vote clearly had an impact on TUSC, but this had not been analysed yet

During the discussion, it was agreed that these predominantly rural county council elections were not always the most favorable terrain particularly compared with the 4,160 or so seats that will up for election in 2014 (including London and the metropolitan boroughs). It was felt we were accumulating experience and enthusiasm despite the results, and issues like the campaigns against the bedroom tax could influence our future impact

TUSC Trade Union Forum April 6th

A verbal report was given, written to follow. It was agreed to produce model letters etc to aid the organisation of local delegations to Labour MPs and PPCs on the issue of trade union freedom

THE FUTURE OF TUSC – including LEFT UNITY and TUSC’s relationship to it

Left Unity had emerged after this had been an agreed agenda item for the March meeting. At the March meeting, Clive Heemskerk outlined the decisions to appoint a TUSC Officer to analyse what local TUSC groups existed and subsequently promote them, and to elect a National Council type body. He expressed concerns about how independents not in the ISN could participate, and how they could be represented within TUSC. Hannah Sell added that the ISN was set up for all independents, and that there were 10 local TUSC groups in London

ISN delegates made the point that, as there were no national members of TUSC, it was difficult to contact individual supporters. Perhaps the TUSC Bulletin could be used to promote the ISN

The RMT agreed we needed to organise more at a local level and encourage greater involvement.

At the outset of the discussion about the Left Unity Appeal at the March meeting Dave Nellist stated we should try and collaborate with it

Charlie Kimber of the SWP said we should welcome LU and talk to them to see what potential there was to work together. RMT and SP reps called for TUSC SC to meet with Ken Loach

Nick Wrack made a number of points, including

  • We need to tap into the swathe of people that TUSC has been unable to reach
  • Responses to the Appeal show how much potential support there is for a new Left Party
  • It’s almost impossible to build TUSC rather than its component parts. How can you grow a Coalition that is limited to its four partners?
  • There was little point in building TUSC branches if you still couldn’t actually join TUSC
  • TUSC is perceived as being too narrow, and dominated by the SP

The ISN position of engaging with, and participating in LU, whilst continuing to work within TUSC, was outlined

It was agreed to write to Ken Loach inviting him, at his convenience, to address the SC

It was also agreed to appoint a Local Group Development Officer, and that the Structure Review Commission prepare options for a National Council

At the May SC meeting, it was reported that Ken Loach would not be available to meet the SC until the autumn as he was largely out of the county.

It was suggested by Clive Heemskerk that TUSC should ask if it could attend the LU national meeting on May 11th to explain what TUSC was about. This had unanimous support. When it was felt the meeting was rather soon to get platform representation, it was agreed Pete McLaren, attending as a rep from Rugby LU, would ask to also speak about TUSC, seeking collaboration

It was strongly felt that we should avoid any electoral clashes with LU

Questions were raised about how many of the 8,000 who had now signed the LU Appeal were actually attending local LU meetings

It was suggested by the ISN that now that there was an ad-hoc Organising Committee, soon to become an elected National Organising Committee following the May 11 meeting, TUSC should write to them seeking talks. This was agreed.

TUSC ORGANISATION – agreed at the May SC meeting

(i) It was agreed to elect Pete McLaren as the Local Group Development Officer

(ii) A report had been received and circulated from the Wales TUSC meeting on April 27th calling for the setting up of a Welsh SC. This was welcomed. It was agreed to defer consideration of the proposals on approving candidates to a future meeting of the Steering Committee. It was also agreed to contact Wales TUSC to confirm that there would be an opportunity for representation on the Wales TUSC steering committee for independent members of TUSC organised in the Independent Socialist Network.

Pete McLaren 17/05/13

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