17 people turned up to hear the case for voting against cuts at a joint Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and Alliance for Green Socialism (AGS) pre-election rally on Monday night.
The first speaker was RMT Yorkshire President, Trevor Howard. He commented that despite the near-universal media blackout – he thought the only real alternative to the mainstream parties in these elections were TUSC and No2EU – Yes to Workers’ Rights – the later for which he is the lead candidate in Yorkshire & Humber region. Trevor pointed out that the only interviews he’s done for about standing was a couple of short pieces on the radio and 15 seconds on Look North.
Second was Celia Foote from the AGS. She pointed out how the environmental crisis is continuing to get worse, and is indeed problems such as food shortages are worsened by profiteering. She highlighted how “Whilst ever we have capitalism we have continuing threats to the climate and stability,” concluding that a socialist plan, instead of the market, was needed to succesfully deal with climate change.
The final speaker was Leeds Socialist Party branch secretary and Hyde Park & Woodhouse ward TUSC candidate, Tanis Belsham-Wray who pointed how inequality in Britain had sky-rocketed under austerity. The wealth of the richest has risen for £56bn to £301bn whilst real wages have declined by 6.1%. Tanis pointed out how the wealth was there in society to end austerity and outlined TUSC’s programme to do that by refusing to make cuts and fighting for the resources we need.
She went further than that demanding (as did the other speakers), the renationalisation of public transport and other key sectors of the economy under democratic control which could form the basis of a socialist plan of prdouction to meet out needs. She concluded her speech by appealing for candidates to come forward so that there can be an anti-cuts challenge in every ward in Leeds in the 2015 council elections.
A lively discussion from the floor took place covering varied subjects from advertising, to the council cuts and warm response TUSC and AGS candidates have met on the streets of Leeds campaigning.
Watch Trevor and Tanis’ speeches on youtube.