Barking Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

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Video: Our Barking and Dagenham TUSC parliamentary candidate Joseph Mambuliya visited the picket lines during the first tube strike

Barking and Dagenham TUSC

Welcome to our 5 August 2015 newsletter.
Contents of this newsletter:

  • Support the tube strike
  • Jeremy Corbyn and TUSC in the spotlight
  • Come to TUSC conference Saturday, 26th September 2015
  • Barking and Dagenham Post - TUSC letters published.

Support the rail unions!

TUSC supports the tube strike. In fact, in Barking and Dagenham, our candidate and our chair person are both RMT members on London Underground.

Striking 5 - 6 August

The RMT says:
Our action is in response to the impact of a £4.2bn cuts programme imposed by the Government and Mayor of London. All four Unions are united with members voting overwhelmingly for strike action, with 90% plus yes votes and turnouts of over 50% (markedly better than the Tory Governments 24% share of the eligible voters in the General Election).

The strike is in opposition to LU
demands that we accept additional night working and working at weekends. They have made this a condition of any pay rise in pay at all for the next two years.

RMT members on London Underground (LU) already work 7day/24 hour shift patterns. All we are asking is for a fair increase in pay that recognises the record number of passengers using the Tube and the massive productivity gains we’ve already delivered. The two year pay deal would in fact be a below inflation deal, in real terms a pay cut.

The 0.75% pay offer would
increase wages by between£225 per year for the lowest paid and £450 per year for the highest paid.

Compare this to the
£7,000 per year that has been accepted by MPs.

As our candidate in the recent general election, Joseph Mambuliya, explains in the video above, train drivers are human beings with families, Imposing shifts without a long weekend with the family for 24 weeks is not acceptable.

TUSC chair interviewed in The Independent on the Jeremy Corbyn campaign

From The Independent on Sunday, 2nd August:

"If, as many Labour MPs believe, their party isn't having a leadership contest but a troubled convention of ghosts from socialists past, then Dave Nellist is among the haunting elite.

The former MP for Coventry South, now 63, was among those expelled from Labour in the early 1990s because of his links with the group centred around The Militant newspaper.

Although the increasingly likely prospect of Jeremy Corbyn becoming Labour's next leader is a "welcome surprise", he believes comrades on Labour's left will have little to celebrate when the result, even if it's a Corbyn victory, is announced next month.

Mr Nellist, currently the chair of the alliance of unions and left pressure groups called the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), told The Independent on Sunday: "Jeremy will be a prisoner inside the parliamentary party [PLP]. More than 90 per cent of them won't be on his side. Labour's annual conference will be weeks away. That won't be enough.

"He'll need to make an urgent call for a larger gathering where every organisation on Britain's left should be invited to debate what happens next".

The direction of travel, he says, is clear enough. "Tony Blair abolished Clause Four on public ownership and effectively changed Labour into what he wanted. Jeremy will bring it [Clause 4] back, and recommit Labour to policies abandoned over the past 30 years. That means, like Blair, Jeremy will need a new party".

Militant, the entryist group influenced by the voices of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky, was founded during the premiership of Harold Wilson in the mid-1960s. By the mid-1970s, it controlled Labour's youth wing. Despite serial attempts to oust its supporters, it was the public denouncement of the Militant-controlled Liverpool city council by Neil Kinnock at the 1985 Labour conference which led to the purge and ended Nellist's career as an MP.

Living in Coventry well away from the Westminster bubble, and not expecting a call from Mr Corbyn to become his chief-of-staff, he denies being left in a political wilderness or exile since his expulsion. Serving as a city councillor for 14 years, he says: "I never left Labour, Labour left me and others like me". He calls the unexpected rise of Mr Corbyn "an opportunity to re-popularise the socialist ideas of the left" and U-turn Labour away from the "pro-business party it's become".

"Accidents happen in politics. John Smith's early death left a vacuum that Tony Blair took advantage of. Jeremy had less than half the small number of nominations he needed to get into the contest. It was a surprise he was given them, but it's less of a surprise what's now happening".

As a member of the Socialist Party, the rebranded version of Militant, and head of the TUSC, Mr Nellist says his calls to BBC News during the general election campaign were ignored. "TUSC was the sixth largest political group, fielding 750 candidates from constituent groups. But we couldn't get our message out there".

Mr Nellist says Jeremy Corbyn is the voice the left has lacked. "He's delivering a clear anti-austerity message, getting away from the language of focus groups and corporate power. The leadership contest has given him a platform for ideas he's always had, and it's attracting young voters, and energising others".

The full article in the Independent is available at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/dave-nellist-advises-to-enlist-the-members-and-relaunch-as-new-old-labour-10432879.html


The Socialist Party, part of TUSC, and formerly the Militant, has also come under scrutiny and replied to criticisms here:


http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/21122/28-07-2015/corbyns-support-shows-anti-austerity-message-is-popular

Come to TUSC conference

Preparations need to begin soon for TUSC's work in the various elections due next May, not least the hundreds of council seats we hope to contest. To help those preparations we're planning a conference open to all individual members of TUSC at London's Student Central venue, Malet Street, WC1E.

TUSC conference 2015

Saturday 26th September, 11am-4-30pm

Student Central, Malet Street, London, WC1E

TUSC conference registration form

TUSC letters published in the Barking and Dagenham Post

When Tory supporter David Hamilton wrote a sarcastic letter in the Barking and Dagenham Post attacking 'compassionate socialism’ and the welfare state, we replied and a correspondence between TUSC and Hamilton began in the Post's letters page.

The correspondence ended however with the publication of our second reply (which we posted in our last newsletter prior to publication).

It was a golden opportunity to explain what TUSC stood for.

Dear Editor,

David Hamilton urged me to vote Tory in your letters page last week (letters, 15 July). Yet his arguments surely favour voting Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). David celebrates the Tory government's £9 “living wage”, yet it is postponed till 2020 – TUSC demands £10 now as a first step to a genuine living wage.

We both agree that pensioners shouldn't die of cold - but the Tory budget's pathetic 2.5% rise won't help. Hypothermia deaths doubled between 2007 and 2012 while the state pension declined from 26% to 18% of average earnings since 1980. TUSC stands for the restoration of pensions to their “pre-Thatcher” real value.

Perhaps we also agree that low-paying big business should not be subsidised by what David calls the 'tax credits racket' – a £364m handout for Tesco’s alone last year. But the Tories are simply cutting tax credits, leaving working class families in desperation. TUSC opposes the entire corporate culture of welfare dependency. The blood-sucking privatised public services, industries and utilities should be brought back into public ownership. Compensation should be paid only on the basis of proven need.

Pete Mason, Barking and Dagenham Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

Note on Sources:

http://www.theguardian.com/money/blog/2015/jul/04/firms-paying-poor-wages-benefit-cheats-tax-credits

http://www.pensionspolicyinstitute.org.uk/pension-facts/pension-facts-tables

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/9078273/Hypothermia-deaths-double-over-five-years.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/pensions/4339378/State-pension-has-suffered-serious-decline-in-past-30-years.html


TUSC's opening letter was published on 8 July:

Dear Editor

While David Hamilton had a chuckle at the ‘compassionate socialism’ of your correspondent (letters, July 1) he overlooked one or two inconvenient facts about the welfare payments he castigates.

Roughly half the welfare budget is spent on pensioners. Does David suggest cuts, with more pensioners dying from the cold in winter? I hope not.

Next largest is the £34 billion tax credit for workers on low pay - a subsidy to low paying bosses. Socialists demand a £10 minimum wage as a first step to ending low pay, lifting all workers off benefits.

Next is housing benefit at £17 billion - a subsidy to landlords. Socialists demand a mass council house building programme, with front and back gardens at genuinely affordable rents, so everyone gets a home and no one need claim housing benefit.

That’s the vast majority of the welfare budget – spent on pensions and subsides to bosses and landlords.

One final figure David forgets. Since the banking crash, the Tories have cut £80 billion, the same figure as bankers’ bonuses!

Pete Mason, Barking and Dagenham Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Editor: Notes on sources:
Institute of Fiscal studies http://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/gb/gb2015/ch9_gb2015.pdf
Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/jan/08/uk-benefit-welfare-spending
BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29898083

Hamilton replied the following week. He began:

"I take it that Pete Mason (letters, July 9) and his comrades from the “Trades Union & Socialist Coalition” will all be rushing out to vote Conservative now.
"This Tory government has, after all, now instigated a £9 Living Wage, coming close to the £10 “demanded” by the comrades, and much more than Labour ever promised."

How Hamilton got this wrong I do not know! Labour had precisely promised the £9 by 2020, and Osborne simply stole Labour's pledge. But I didn't have space to remind the Post readers of that fact - they probably knew. And I had no space to point out that this showed that Labour's policies on offer at the general election were not that different from Tory ones.

I did point out that he omitted to say we have to wait until 2020! - how much will £9 an hour be worth then as prices of energy and travel continue to rocket skywards?

Hamilton continued:

"When he has completed his Tory Party membership application however, may I suggest that Pete brushes up on his facts.
"The £100billion welfare budget I referred to in my previous letter deliberately excluded the cost of pensions, which if added take the overall budget north of £200billion."

Now once again Hamilton is wrong. The figure of £100billion is a big fat Tory exaggeration if pensions are omitted, as is the "North of £200billion" figure if they are included. In any case, these figures vary depending on which analysis you look at - what's to be included and what excluded, and government figures seem to be organised to obscure the cuts.

In either case the figures don't look so big if one thinks that just the bankers alone got £80billion in bonuses last year. But I'd made that point already.

Hamilton continues:

"Not withstanding this, I do not recall suggesting anywhere that pensioners should starve."

"In truth, this Conservative government has done an excellent job of protecting pensioners, with the Triple Lock ensuring that pensions will again rise by 2.5 per cent this year, far in excess of inflation.

"The only figure that Pete seemed to get correct was the £34billion cost of Gordon Brown’s Tax Credits racket, deliberately and cynically set up to create a client state of welfare-dependant Labour voters.

"Still, never mind Pete, George Osborne has made a start in reducing that bill as well, so even more reason for you to vote Conservative."

I commented on the pensioners who die from the cold in winter, not starving - although perhaps Hamilton knows something about Tory cuts that I don't? But in any case I picked these last absurd points to take up in the my reply, as you see in the letter at the top of this section.

And after TUSC's final letter was published we heard nothing from Hamilton, who preferred to pick on someone else.

For the full correspondence see the e-edition of the Post here http://www.barkinganddagenhampost.co.uk/home/e-edition
Click here to donate to Barking and Dagenham TUSC
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Large or small it all helps us campaign.
Socialist Party meetings on Saturday
The Socialist Party (of which Joseph is a member) is proud to be part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. The Socialist Party has played a central role in organising in Barking, working side-by-side with other hard-working socialists and RMT and other union activists.

Barking Socialist Party meets most Saturdays at 3pm, although the will be some interruptions during the summer.
Contact Pete Mason on 07981 325 899 or by email peter.mason3@btinternet.com
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