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Featured Articles

Hillsborough tragedy – the final chapter

Today is the 25th anniversary of the day when 96 football supporters died at Hillsborough. What followed was a scandalous cover-up by the then Thatcher government and subsequent governments, the police and large sections of the millionaire owned media. Newspapers like the Murdoch ...

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TUSC announces biggest left challenge in 60 years to pro-cuts politicians

Socialist Party member Dave Nellist was interviewed on the BBC last week about the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) plan to stand over 600 candidates in the local elections in England in May. This will be the biggest left-of-Labour ...

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TUSC: No-cuts election challenge grows

As we go to press the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee is about to approve the 440th candidate for the challenge in May’s English local elections. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is an electoral ...

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South Africa: WASP needs your support and solidarity

By Alec Thraves – Socialist Party  There may be a big struggle to raise the finances for the Workers And Socialist Party (WASP) general election campaign but there was no shortage of enthusiasm at the WASP manifesto launch in South Africa ...

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The Poll Tax Rebellion

Tommy Sheridan and Ronnie Stevenson at press conference in Saughton Prison

 “Ye cannae beat her son, she’s faced doon Galtieri and beat the miners. She’s the iron lady”
 
This was a common response at the early anti-poll tax meetings organised in housing schemes across Scotland in 1988.

 

 

A battered and bruised working class had witnessed a rampant and brutal Prime Minister, in the shape of Margaret Thatcher, cruelly and callously despatch troops to recapture the tiny Falklands Islands and sink ships in retreat from the battle in 1982 and tool up the ‘polis’ in paramilitary gear and tactics to crush the aspirations of miners in 1984. Their only crime was a desire to defend their jobs and communities for future generations. 

 

by Tommy Sheridan, Chair of the Scottish and All Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation

 

With less than 40% of the popular vote a deeply divided Britain returned her to office for a record third term in office at the 1987 general election.  Her victories over the Argentinean conscripts and the proud National Union of Mineworkers emboldened her to implement even more assaults on the welfare state, trade union rights and the very concept of ‘society’.  ‘There’s no such thing’ she declared at a Royal Geographical dinner to the applause of the rich and powerful throughout the land who welcomed her determination to destroy socialism, human solidarity and the collectivist spirit which renders a society worthy of the description.

This was the political background to the mighty anti-poll tax struggle.

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When Mass Campaigning Defeated the Poll Tax

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A Residential School setting in West Linton in the Scottish Borders seems a weird place to start the story of the poll Tax but given the history of it’s demise it is as good a place to start as any.

by Ronnie Stevenson, secretary Mount Florida anti-poll tax union, Glasgow

At a Militant (the forerunner of the Socialist Party in England and Wales and the International Socialists in Scotland.) conference in 1987, called to discuss resistance to the Poll Tax Labour Councillor Chic Stevenson moved that we begin to organise for total defiance of the Poll Tax. The strategy involved arguing for all councillors to refuse to implement the tax and for building support for a mass non-payment campaign should it be implemented. 

The decisions which were taken shaped the campaign over the next few years. The ideas of a mass campaign against the poll tax, for building anti-poll tax unions, for mass organised non-payment and non-compliance by local authorities and council trade unions, and for industrial action to defend those victimised for non-payment or non-implementation were brought together in a Militant pamphlet in April 1988. 

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No to junk jobs – Fight for £10 an hour – Come to the protests on Saturday

By Claire-Laker Mansfield, Youth Fight for Jobs #fastfoodrights #M29 “People are often surprised by the employee benefits on offer. All of our team earn at least the national minimum wage”. So proudly boasts the UK website for multi-billion pound fast ...

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No to the bosses’ EU – Yes to an independent socialist alternative

Hannah Sell, Socialist Party England and Wales deputy general secretary The question of a referendum over Britain’s membership of the European Union (EU) is problematic for all the mainstream capitalist parties. In this parliament Tory Prime Minister David Cameron has ...

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After Bob Crow and Tony Benn: We fight on

By Socialist Party England and Wales www.socialistparty.org.uk A deluge of tributes followed the sad and shocking death of Bob Crow, elected leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union. He was known and respected beyond the ranks of the RMT ...

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Glasgow Care Workers action wins important breakthrough for 400 Unison members

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By Brian Smith. Glasgow City Unison branch secretary Nearly 400 UNISON members in Glasgow City Council’s homes for older people have secured important concessions and forced back an anti-trade union and anti-collective bargaining approach from the Labour controlled council. Members took ...

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