Communists on the campaign trail ’21

 Ben Ughetti, is a member of the YCL’s East of England branch

With last week’s ‘Super Thursday’ elections, Communists around the country have been pushing for votes. Being the largest election campaign for the Communist Party since the 1980’s the Communist Party is fighting to provide a genuine alternative to the mainstream political parties up and down Britain.

Longsight, Manchester

Aaron Andrew was the Communist Party candidate for Longsight in Manchester where he was able to garner 80 votes for the Communist Party. An ardent defender of working families Andrew wants to increase the amount of funding and development that goes into youth centres in and around Longsight. Andrew said “More children in Longsight receive child benefit than anywhere else in Manchester. Ensure these young people don’t end up living a worse life than their parents. We’d urgently invest in local facilities that austerity has taken and close the digital divide.” Andrew has also been running food bank donations drives throughout the campaign for the people of Longsight. Andrew said “Longsight has the highest percentage of children in Manchester living in poverty. We’ve been running food donations around Manchester for those in need. Britain is not short of food! Change a capitalist system where food banks are needed, to a socialist one where wealth is distributed”.

Bury St Edmunds Tower Ward

The working class people of Bury St Edmunds have long been neglected by the major political parties. Darren Turner ran for the Communist Party in the area where he received 120 votes making up 1.07%. Turner pledged to fight for decent transportation in Bury St Edmunds that works for local people and not the pockets of shareholders. A proud trade unionist with the Communications Workers Union Turner is ready to take up the fight for workers in Bury St Edmunds. Turner says “I am working class and I am fighting for this seat to be the voice of working class people in our town. The needs of the working class in Bury St Edmunds and across Suffolk have been ignored by the other parties who have held onto power for decades. While the rich have gotten richer on the backs of our hard work, you and I have been rewarded with cut after cut to essential public services – our public services

Wales

The full results in Wales are now in with 2,837 voting for the Communist Party across Wales. A fantastic result given that the most recent election campaign held in Wales was back in 2016. It’s certain that Communists in Wales can only build from this result. As Plaid Cymru’s Adam Price brings Plaid Cymru to the right and Labour continues with infighting and failing to oppose the Tories, the case for the Communist Party in Wales has never been stronger. Welsh Communists are standing in all five of the regional Senedd with Trevor Jones in North Wales, Claudia Cannon in Mid & West Wales, Laura Picand in South Wales West, Robert Griffths in South Wales East and Anita Wright in South Wales Central.

Communists in Wales are calling for the Welsh Parliament to have the economic and financial powers that can challenge capitalist market forces to give Wales control over its own economy. Communists also want to fight the second home crisis which is destroying towns across Wales. Communists in Wales are also pledging if elected to do everything in their power to save what is left of the steel industry ensuring that the future of steel in Wales is decided by the people and not foreign shareholders by having steel renationalised.

Robert Griffiths Communist Party General Secretary, says “If we the public are paying for something, we the public should own it. That’s why a vote for the communist party is a vote for socialism”.

Glasgow

In Glasgow Young Coummunist League General Secretary Johnnie Hunter ran for the Glasgow List providing the people of Glasgow a real alternative to the rampant cuts that have been put into place by the Scottish National Party. Hunter aims to put in place a genuine apprenticeship scheme for the people of Scotland campaigning for the statutory right to an apprenticeship or two year work placement available for all school leavers up until the age of 25. Hunter said “We need a new apprenticeship system focused on real skills with a real living wage and day one employment rights”. Hunter has also pledged his support to opposing SNP closures to crucial community amenities such as libraries, community centres, museums, sports facilities and golf courses in and around the Glasgow area. In this seat the Communist Party were able to obtain 544 votes a fantastic base for Communists to build on for the future.

Lothian

Matthew Waddell was the Communist Party candidate for the Lothian area where he was able to get an impressive 598 vote for the Communist Party. Waddell has highlighted the disgraceful housing situation in Lothian where the local council in West Lothian is currently in the process of selling off masses of council land to private property developers who have no interest in the housing situations of working class people. Waddell has also stood up for the the rights of Scots speakers supporting the Oor Vyce campaign which aims to protect the rights of Scots speakers across Scotland.

Felixstowe Coastal

Communist Party Candidate Mark Jones ran in the Felixstowe Coastal seat where he was able to gain 178 votes for the Communist Party. Jones has called out the complete failure of the Tories in Felixstowe where other parties in the area have completely been unable to. In Felixstowe, Jones represents the only candidate that will speak up for working class people in Felixstowe. Jones says “We need an economy in Felixstowe that benefits workers. We must start a programme of building council houses to sustain our community life, and impose rent controls to ensure housing is properly affordable.”

Sunderland, Millfield

In Sunderland City Centre Communists have been actively engaging the public to secure votes for the Communist Party candidate Julio Romero Johnson secured 32 votes for the Communist Party. The former YCL Executive Committee member contended the Millfield ward to secure proper political representation for the people of Millfield.

Leicester, North Evington

In North Evington Andrea Burford the Communist Party Candidate won 33 seats for the party. Standing on a platform of creating better transportation services, ensuring that the people of North Evington have access to decent and affordable housing and standing up for the rights of workers. Burford says “Vote for a campaigning councillor who will always have your interests at heart and who will not be afraid to challenge the council on your behalf. Vote for a councillor who cares about the community. A voice for equality”.

Motherwell & Wishaw

Decades of cuts to public services in the Motherwell & Wishaw area have had a serious impact on the lives of working class people in the area. Daniel Lambe of the Communist Party is standing to stand up for the working class and challenge the incumbent SNP rule. Daniel stresses the need for a post COVID-19 recovery programme that prioritises jobs, housing, mental health, healthcare, wellbeing, and our public services. Lambe says that “I believe that the people of Motherwell & Wishaw deserve better, they deserve to have a chance of having a life worth living.” In the seat Lambe gained 194 votes for the party.

Luton, Hightown

Just being on the streets of Hightown and speaking to locals it is abundantly clear the appetite for a Labour candidate has run out. Sick of under funding to crucial service and sick of local Labour councillors sleeping at the wheel when it comes to serving the people of Hightown. Markus Keaney of the Communist Party is running to make a change to this. Keaney has pledged to ensure that the High Town Road gets the regeneration that it has been crying out for as well as standing up for the rights of working people in Luton. Keaney got 36 votes for the Communist Party.

Newcastle, Heaton

Steve Handford has long been a defender of workers rights but now he will be representing the Communist Party as a candidate in Heaton. Steve vocally opposed the closing down of the Fawdon Nestle factory which will destroy the jobs of 475 people. Handford said “There needs to be a robust trade union fight against unemployment, up to and including industrial action”. Handford has also been campaigning around the streets of Heaton using a mobile loudhailer to get the message across. In the Heaton area of Newcastle Handford was able to gain 99 votes for the Communist Party.

London

The main success story so far has appeared to come from London. In the London Assembly elections the Communist Party were able to secure 8787 votes across London. Over recent weeks Communists in London have been heavily active with campaigning for the Communist vote in London canvassing votes in North, East, South and West London. Your candidates for London are Hannah Sawtell, Robin Talbot, Anita Halpin, Akira Allman, Lucian Branescu-Mihalia, Phil Brand, Judith Cazorla-Rodenas, Stewart McGill and Lorraine Douglas.

Robin Talbot says “London is our home and it is  not a playground for the rich, We live, work and raise our families here, but London is still one of the most unequal cities not only in Britain but in the whole of Europe. The Communist Party stands together with London’s working people, women, and youth.”

London’s communists also oppose the construction of the Silvertown toll tunnel. A project that will cost £2bn of public money. The tunnel in itself will have a large scale impact on the environment and proves to only be benefiting the pockets of the rich and wealthy. Communists will seek to oppose the construction of the tunnel at every opportunity in the interest of everyday Londoners.

Analysis so far

The election results in themselves on the face of it may seem disappointing however being the biggest election campaign for the Communist Party since the 1980’s this is just the beginning for the future of the Communist Party. It should be remembered that the majority of these seats were being contested by the Party for the first time, without the access to the advertising and mass media of the bourgeois parties and, because of COVID-19, the ability to canvas vigorously. Despite this, millions of people across the country have been presented with the concept of change that the typical capitalist parties simply cannot provide for the working people of Britain.

With Communist Party and YCL members joining in bigger numbers than ever this can only be seen has a hopeful thing for the future of socialism in Britain. With Kier Starmer’s disastrous election campaign this year round it is clear that a party that stands for socialism and trade unionism needs to come to the forefront of politics to represent the views and needs of the working class in Britain.

Commenting on the results, YCL General Secretary Johnnie Hunter told Challenge, “It may be a long road in building a Communist electoral base and winning the Communist voice in parliaments and councils that working people desperately need. It wasn’t an easy journey to start in this election, given the pandemic restrictions – but when has anything important and worth doing ever been easy?

The journey started with this campaign, the biggest ran by the Communist Party since the 1980s in Britain. Millions of people encountered the Party and the political intervention of the Communists, many for the first time. Hundreds of thousands had the opportunity to vote Communist, most for the first time in their lives. Thousands did just that. Hundreds have been applying to join the Party and the YCL during and since the election.

He added, “But our campaign doesn’t stop at the ballot box. Our priority is to build a mass movement for socialist change based in our communities, workplaces and campuses. The successes and the hard lessons of this campaign will go into our ongoing work in building that movement over the coming years. For Communists every day is polling day. Every day is an opportunity to win for working people. So if you’re serious about socialism – join us today.

Ben Ughetti, is a member of the YCL’s East of England branch

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s