The letter below from Coventry Socialist Party member and TUSC national chair Dave Nellist was published in todays Guardian (Monday 17th March) in reply to a recent article in the paper by Owen Jones.
It’s a shame that in an article of over 1,600 words Owen Jones couldn’t bring himself to seriously discuss the political projects that Bob Crow was actually involved in (‘Don’t mourn. Organise’, 15 March). But perhaps that fits a narrative Owen wishes to promote, that there is no future for any electoral politics outside Labour. Bob, however, saw the creation of a new political voice for working people, rooted in the organisations and communities of the working class, as an essential aspect of the struggle against austerity.
For the past four years we had worked together building the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), in a project officially backed by the RMT itself. TUSC will stand hundreds of anti-austerity candidates in this May’s local elections in the biggest left-of-Labour challenge since the second world war.
Despite a number of approaches, Tony Benn didn’t agree with an electoral challenge to Labour (though he did appear in the 2009 electoral broadcast for No2EU).
I think he should have left the Labour party, which had so clearly left him, but unfortunately he disagreed. In his latter years Tony was more a prisoner in New Labour, reduced to smuggling out notes through the bars. The socialist policies he stood for were killed off by successive Labour leaders from Neil Kinnock onwards, but they still exist in new projects, like TUSC and No2EU, co-founded by Bob Crow.
National chair, TUSC