Support for anti-war, anti-cuts, socialist election stand

by Ciaran O’Donoghue, Newham and East London Socialist Party

With the developing situation of Iran’s retaliation for Israel’s strike on its Damascus consulate, thousands of people took to the streets of London to demand an end to Israel’s brutal attacks on Gaza and for the West to cease arming Israel.

At our campaign stalls, at the start and end of the march, it was evident that people had become fed up with pro-war politicians and were desperate for an alternative. There was significant interest in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and the anti-war candidates that are running in the upcoming Greater London Assembly elections.

The desire for an alternative to the pro-war parties is also reflected in the fact that many people signed our petitions calling for anti-war candidates. Opposition to Starmer’s Labour was often vocalised. All these factors point towards the development of a real constituency opposed to Labour as well as the Tories. The trade union leaders, representing millions of workers, could play a decisive role in the development of a new party. Trade union support for a workers’ list of candidates in the general election would be an important step forward; it could include Jeremy Corbyn and others.

One passer-by said, “I think we are beginning to make a difference”. There has been a change in tone from some of the pro-war politicians (at least in words) from total unequivocal support for what Israel is doing. There was a UN Security Council resolution that called for an ‘immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan’, for example.

The ruling capitalist class will not take any necessary action to end the horror in Gaza. Such action can only be taken by independent working class organisation both in Britain and internationally. We need socialist and anti-war candidates to stand up to the interests of the ruling capitalist elites. Workers need our own voice. Vote TUSC!

Croydon and Sutton — let down on cuts, let down on Gaza

by April Ashley, Croydon and Sutton Socialist Party

I am standing to fight against council cuts, and to fight for the millions stolen from local government by the Tories.

Croydon Council has been effectively ‘bankrupt’ three times – serving section 114 notices that limit spending to statutory services only. That has meant savage cuts to community services, and a 21% council tax hike.

Well over 30 councils say that they are close to declaring effective bankruptcy in the next couple of years. The Tory government has cut millions from council grants, leading to a £3.5 billion funding gap.

Shamefully, Labour councils have passed on the cuts to local communities, leading to the loss of libraries, nurseries, youth centres, tens of thousands of jobs, and a crisis in social care.

Labour councils should set no-cuts budgets, and lead the community and trade unions in a mass campaign against the Tories to fight for the funding we need. There must be no cuts to services or council tax rises to fill the black hole in council budgets.

The local community also need homes, as well as jobs and services. So, I am standing for the mass building of council homes and rent controls.

End the war on Gaza

Like the majority of workers, I am completely opposed to the bombing of Gaza, and the slaughter of Palestinian workers and children. Like hundreds of thousands of people, I have been on the mass demonstrations in London.

Many people are shocked by the stance of Labour, tail-ending Tory warmongers supporting Israeli state terror. Labour, still following the Tories, are only now calling for a ceasefire after 32,000 deaths.

I stand for the withdrawal of the Israeli army from all the occupied territories, including the West Bank. Only a mass democratic struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination and socialism can liberate the Palestinian people.

Unfortunately, as we can see from the actions of Keir Starmer’s Labour Party, they are not standing up for workers in the UK or internationally. That is why I am standing, to help build a new mass workers’ party against the pro-cuts and pro-war agenda of the Tories and Labour.

  • April Ashley is the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate for the Greater London Assembly (GLA) in the Croydon & Sutton constituency. She is an elected member (personal capacity) of the National Executive Council of public service union Unison.

Croydon — developers paid public money to profit from overpriced flats

Socialist Party member Ben Goldstone is the TUSC candidate for the Park Hill and Whitgift council ward by-election in Croydon on 2 May. He said:

If you need social housing in Croydon, many people are waiting over ten years. Brick by Brick, the council-owned housing company, was funded by a £200 million loan from Croydon Council — Labour at the time — to build on council-owned sites. It only managed to deliver 751 residential units, of which 385 were supposedly ‘affordable’, and the rest private.

The council is expected to write off around £68 million from this unpaid debt from the now-defunct Brick by Brick, which will no doubt be passed on to residents in further cuts to services. All the while, Croydon Council is allowing high-rise eyesores to pop up across the town, built by private developers, with minimal affordable flats for residents, and instead overpriced apartments being the norm.

Local councillors have made the working class of Croydon pay for the council’s mistakes, especially with the 21% council tax hike. The Tories voted it through, whilst Labour abstained.

What we need in Croydon is councillors and GLA candidates who are going to stand up for the working class. That means fighting for affordable housing, well-paid secure jobs, and properly funded accessible services.