‘TUSC is 100% anti-austerity’: Socialists launch election manifesto in heart of UK capitalism
Chaired by former Labour MP Dave Nellist, the electoral alliance claims to have enjoyed rapid growth in support of its policies.
TUSC’s manifesto features five key pledges, which include ending all cuts to government spending, an end to zero hour contracts, and renationalization of the railways.
The left-wing organization is fielding candidates in more than 130 parliamentary seats and over 600 council seats across the country in May’s general election.
A coalition of trade unions, rank-and-file union activists, socialists and other left-wing groups, TUSC was formed in 2010 before the last election.
TUSC is not a political party but a federation of groups. Electoral candidates must support a core set of principles to use the TUSC name, but are able to campaign on their own platform beyond this.
In the last election, TUSC fielded candidates from the Socialist Party of England & Wales, Green Left, the Socialist Workers Party, the Communist Party of Britain and assorted trade unions.
TUSC launched its manifesto on Canary Wharf, the heart of the City. Nellist described the location as “the belly of the beast.”
Speaking to supporters and assembled press, the former Labour MP said: “Only TUSC is 100 percent against austerity.”
“This is a rich country, the fifth richest on the planet. It’s just that the wealth is in the wrong hands – in the hands of a few millionaires and billionaires.”
Nellist revealed TUSC’s “5-point pledge” against austerity, which include a £10 minimum wage, the scrapping of tuition fees and a mass council house building program.
TUSC also stands for trade union right to fight against low pay, for the introduction of rent controls and the “democratic public ownership of our NHS, railways, public services, utilities and banks.”
Speaking to RT, Nellist said: “TUSC is mainstream when it comes to public opinion – we just don’t get the press coverage to match. But it’s shown whenever there’s polling on key TUSC policies.”
He went on to cite polls which show the majority of people in the UK support the renationalization of Royal Mail and the railways. One survey indicates 84 percent of the public think the National Health Service (NHS) should stay in the public sector.
“They tell us there’s no money. In the same seven years as our living standards have plummeted, the tops of the financial institutions have had £80 billion in bonuses,” Nellist said.
He claimed TUSC is the “only unashamedly socialist challenge out there.”
“When Cameron says there’s a stark choice, he’s right. But it isn't between the Tories’ austerity and Labour’s austerity-lite.”
“The real stark choice is between the four biggest parties, who all promise more austerity, and TUSC which is 100 percent committed to fighting austerity.”
Hugo Pierre, a TUSC candidate for the local Poplar and Limehouse constituency in East London, was also at the manifesto launch in Canary Wharf.
Pierre told The Wharf newspaper: “This area that we stand in now is very unusual in Poplar and Limehouse – it’s the biggest casino in the world, these people gamble with our money every day.”
“You only have to go half a mile down the road and you see desperate housing conditions – it’s the most overcrowded borough in London.”