Workers' candidate

The recent branch meeting of Teesside Socialist Alliance thrashed out a number of issues relating to our public meeting on Monday March 11, This will see Janet Alder of the Justice for Christopher Alder campaign and the SA mayoral candidate, Jeff Fowler, kick off our campaign attacking the law and order agenda that has so far dominated the run-up to the May 2 election. This increasingly bizarre contest already has eight candidates, including several eccentric independents, ex-footballers, businessmen and sleaze-tainted former police chiefs - a bit like Citizen Kane on speed. Our SA branch discussed the tactic of challenging front-runner 'Robocop' Ray Mallon to debate the issues with us, but the meeting decided against this on the prime basis of not colluding with what is becoming a Mallon freak show. Publicity for the SA has already been forthcoming in the local press and we decided to pursue the agenda of hammering the council on democracy and lack of accountability, as well as highlighting the commitment of comrade Fowler, a member of the Socialist Workers Party, to accept only a workers' wage if elected. We have firmly attacked the sham of the mayoralty and our next press release will highlight the postal-vote-only nature of this election - Middlesbrough being intending as a laboratory test for future Blairite policy. We continued honing down points for inclusion in our election programme, which is based on People before profit, the SA's general election manifesto, but also takes into account local conditions. We have agreed to emphasise that our intervention is aimed primarily at aiding and crucially leading class struggle and not posing comrade Jeff as some saviour who will single-handedly improve life for everyone. We will use the campaign to encourage direct action to defend services rather than meekly wait for a lead from others. It was noted in the report-back from the recent SA national council meeting that this is not the approach of all in the alliance - perhaps Teesside is part of its left wing. Hopefully the ambitious plans for our intervention will show that there is more to 'local' politics than who can empty the bins fastest. Lawrie Coombs