TUSC must be having a laugh

I’m sure many on the left are now familiar with the infamous ‘son’ of the hopeless NO2EU project, TUSC or Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. This ragtag bunch is the latest effort at ‘left unity’ organised by the Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party and other ‘left’ groups who deservedly shouldn’t get a mention.

From the start I was critical of this coalition, much in the same way I was critical of NO2EU. The far-left cannot continually expect to form these coalitions weeks before an election and expect a breakthrough. Elections are, by and large, a costly business, and anything but a suitable playground at attempting left-unity. If TUSC were serious about making an entrance on the political scene they should have started months a go, the fact they did not suggests they are not taking this election seriously, neither will they be taking voters concerns seriously and neither will they be offering a positive agenda to voters.

At this point I would say that I have nothing against those activists involved in TUSC…but I do. The reason being? Standing against Green Party candidates, some of whom have been selected for months, who openly identify themselves as being socialists or firmly on the left.

In Brighton Kemptown, Dave Hill, a one time right-wing Labour “moderate” and East Sussex councillor, is standing against Ben Duncan, whose politics, I would say, are on the left. Ben has been out and about in the Kemptown constituency since before he was selected, representing Queen’s Park residents on the city council. It’s madness that the far-left in Brighton have taken the decision to stand against Ben, rather than support his efforts.

In Greenwich and Woolwich TUSC have taken the decision to stand against Andy Hewett, a prominent member of Green Left and the Campaigns Co-Ordinator on the Green Party Executive (GPEX).

TUSC, as most Socialist Party endeavours are, is a futile attempt at playing politics. What do they expect to achieve? Do they really intend on winning a seat? I think not, they don’t even have any trade union backing. Yes, they have the support of trade unionists, but so does Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens and probably even the Tories. A name is not enough by any means.

As always, the coalition will fail to do anything. In the wake of a crushing defeat the partners will be arguing amongst themselves on who was to blame for the failure. It will further lead to mistrust and antagonism between the far-left sects and will probably be a massive step back for the Socialist Party’s aspirations for a new Labour Party.

In short, TUSC is silly politics for amateurs.


6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    You’re right, Luke. This is silly ultra-left sectarianism. TUSC is driven by an absolutely wild sense of reality – the Greens are ‘right-wing’ who should not be trusted whilst the only people capable of playing a meaningful role in ‘building the left’ are so-called revolutionary socialists who wouldn’t know a revolution if it sat on their face. (Case in point, witness their denunciations of Morales and Chavez for being bourgeois nationalists and all that crap.)

    • 2

      Luke Walter said,

      Exactly my point. The ultra-left are out of touch with the majority of working-class people and the reality of class politics in the UK today.
      They have little understanding of electoral politics and little understanding of people. They never canvas voters, never engage with them on the doorstep. They open up their stalls, shout a few things and expect people to spend a £1 buying a paper which doesn’t really give folks much insight into anything except internal issues.

      The have some nerve to denouce hard-working Greens, who spend an awful lot of time knocking on doors and gauging opinion, as right-wing, middle-class, sandle-wearing hippies, when they themselves continue to go back to dogmatics written by a bloke who died over a hundred years a go. Yes, Marx is the best critique we have of capitalism, but it doesn’t make it the be all and end all. Pragmatists always win.

  2. 3

    Well as a Marxist I won’t agree with your last point! I don’t think you formulate it correctly: Marx did not discover what to think but how to think. Much he got right, a little he got wrong. Many on the British left today apply his contribution to understanding crassly and dogmatically, but that’s not his fault!

  3. 4

    Sue said,

    I wouldn’t too quick to say that TUSC/Socialist Party never canvass – they most certainly do round here, particularly in Telegraph Hill where they have two cllrs, one of whom is standing for Lewisham Deptford at the general election!

  4. 5

    We most certainly do canvas!
    Though much of it is in Moulsecoomb and Whitehawk, which is where traditionally though not exclusively Militant had Labour councillors and where the greens have not made great inroads.

    I really don’t see why there is a fuss about TUSC standing against the Greens. The constituent parts of TUSC, the Socialist groups and the local RMT branch (who have voted to support Dave Hill, we await national union confirmation) don’t share the politics of the Green party. The Socialist Party sees the labour movement as the decisive factor in building a party that can represent the working class. The greens don’t pretend to be a party based on the labour movement and don’t want to be one.

    It is a long term goal to build a party based on the labour movement with class based socialist politics to bring about public ownership of the economy. The green party as a whole does share these goals, so why not stand against them?
    If we want to build a national profile we need to start somewhere, yes its bad changing the name and we need more backing but we work with what we have.

    It might be different if we put up in Pavilion because Lucas does have a chance and the margin could be very slim whichever way, but Ben Duncan is not in the same position, we are not going to cost anyone expect perhaps Simon Burgess a seat. I suspect most Greens and socialists won’t lose sleep over that

    While I think some Brighton Green councillors do good work, I must say I am pretty underwhelmed by the effect 13 of them have had on local politics. Also while I understand all local and national green parties are not responsible for each others actions, the track record of green parties when in power is not glowing to say the least.

    Anwho, suffice to say the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition will both locally and nationally be aiming at Labour voters, because that’s where the base for a new party will come from, and from the huge numbers who just don’t bother voting at all.


    • 6

      Luke Walter said,

      Hi Phil,

      Thanks for your comment, I do apologise if my original post seemed brash but myself, and others on the blogosphere, don’t have high hopes for TUSC at this election.

      True, Ben is not in the same position as Caroline is in Pavilion, and credit where credit is due for not standing against Caroline, but my post was largely in response to a comment suggesting that Ben was not putting in the effort in Kemptown (in which he most deffinately is).

      If given a choice between Simon Kirby or Simon Burgess, I myself would opt for the latter. Do I think Simon Burgess can win? Probably not but, if the Tories gain two out of the three seats in Brighton and Hove, this certainly suggests a lurch to the right, even if this is not the case.

      Thanks again for stopping by.

      All the best

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