Trades Union and Socialist Coalition
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The Trades Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is a British far-left political party. It is largely composed of Trotskyites and extreme left-wing trades unions, and is probably the leading far-left party in the UK (excluding Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party?). It has had minimal electoral success. It was on the winning side in the 2016 Brexit referendum, purely coincidentally.
Its roots go back to the 2009 Socialist Party conference, where No2EU was formed as a coalition of communists, socialists and trades unionists opposed to British membership of the European Union. This grouping changed its name to TUSC in 2010. Its exact relationship with other left-wing organisations is complex, owing in part to the tendency of left-wing parties to change their names and membership, plus the tendency of Scottish parties to be formally separate but essentially duplicative of English ones, but it involved the following bodies:
- National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), under Bob Crow.
- Prison Officers' Association (POA), trade union.
- Socialist Workers Party, a self-described Trotskyite party.
- The Socialist Party (England and Wales), formerly known as Militant or the Militant Tendency. They are also approximately Trotskyite.
- Solidarity, the Scottish left-wing party formed by Tommy Sheridan, ex-Militant and ex-Scottish Socialist Party.
- Socialist Party Scotland, a Scottish organisation at various times linked with the Scottish Socialist Party and Solidarity. It was formerly Scottish Militant Labour.
- Communist Party of Britain, involved in No2EU. (Not to be confused with the dozen other similarly named communist parties.)
TUSC stood 44 candidates in the 2010 general election, getting 15,573 votes (0.1% of the total, or average 1.0% in the constituencies where they stood) and 0 seats. The party had 135 candidates at the 2015 UK General Election, which entitled it to a party election broadcast on British television; it again won 0 seats. However, it does have 3 councillors in Southampton and a parish councillor in Warrington, Cheshire. According to rival Marxists, it benefited from a substantial financial bequest from the Socialist Alliance, another defunct socialist group, which allowed it to enter so many candidates. Presumably once the money runs out, and the trade union funds dry up, it will quietly fade away.
During the campaign over the 2016 UK EU referendum, TUSC applied to the Electoral Commission to be the official campaigning body on the Leave side. They were refused.
There was apparently small-scale entryism by TUSC members into the 2015 Labour Party leadership election which chose Jeremy Corbyn, but the numbers involved are tiny: a reported 92 people out of a total 422,871 votes cast. The party views Jeremy Corbyn more warmly than previous Labour leaders, and has apparently been suggesting an electoral pact or working together in some other way. It's unclear if Labour has noticed, still less responded.
The TUSC has the following standard socialist policies:
- Nationalisation of railways and other transport, utilities, banks, Royal Mail, major industries and large companies, and preserving public ownership of the National Health Service.
- "Tax the rich."
- Supported Brexit (leaving the European Union, which is an organisation of capitalists).
- Opposition to austerity.
- Anti-racism, anti-sexism, equality, etc.
- Bob Crow, leader of the RMT union. He died in 2014.
- Dave Nellist, National Chair of TUSC and a former Labour MP expelled for entryism. While an MP Nellist was praised for his rhetorical skills, winning Spectator "Backbencher of the Year". After leaving Westminster, he was a councillor in Coventry, stood for the European parliament on an anti-EU ticket, and despite being a member of TUSC stood for parliament as a Socialist Alternative candidate in 2010.
- The political fraud of Britain’s Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, WSWS.org, 17 April 2015
- See the Wikipedia article on Trades Union and Socialist Coalition.
- EU referendum: Leave campaigns face left-wing rival, BBC, 1 April 2016
- Labour leadership election: 260 members of rival parties ask to vote, The Guardian, 7 Aug 2015
- Jeremy Corbyn questioned during Coventry visit over TUSC election appeal, TUSC
- Policy, TUSC
- See the Wikipedia article on Dave Nellist.