Here is a discussion between a UKIP supporter and a TUSC activist. As we’ve mentioned before, over the period until the general election (and beyond!) we will be posting “doorstep discussions” to illustrate the basic TUSC position on key issues. If you have any favourite questions you’d like us to answer - let us know, at: SuttonCroydonTUSC@gmail.com
UKIP Supporter - What are you going to do about all these immigrants?
TUSC - We are going to make sure that we nail the people really responsible for unemployment, job losses, zero-hour contracts, poverty wages and austerity. And those people are not immigrants. They are the 1% and their puppets in Parliament.
UKIPer - But you socialists would open the floodgates to immigrants!
TUSC - There are no “floodgates” to open! This idea, and this kind of wording is used to create fear and disunity between people for political purposes. Purposes that suit big business. We reject it outright.
How does talk of “opening floodgates" help working people? Our position on this starts, and finishes, with the fundamental principle of solidarity between workers, all workers. We have a vital common interest in defending ourselves collectively against unemployment, poverty wages, poor housing, etc.
For there part, many employers, full of hypocrisy, are often keen on immigration - because cheap labour means higher profits. Many of these hypocrites, if they can’t get cheap labour here, will “outsource” their business to where cheap labour can be found.
The best way to prevent workers (any workers) from being exploited on poverty wages, is to enforce a decent minimum wage! Nobody would be allowed to work for less than that. Then, no employer would be able to undercut wages! TUSC policy (and now the whole TUC) is for a £10 minimum wage.
UKIPer - But higher wages would put people out of work!
TUSC - No they wouldn’t. Are you saying that countries with the lowest wages have the lowest unemployment? Because that’s just not true. Germany, Scandinavian countries, and many others, have some of the highest wages in the world, and also the highest employment - although their governments too are also keen to find ways to push living standards down!
On the other hand, there are dozens of countries whose populations scrape by on poverty wages AND mass unemployment! There is simply no correlation between wage levels and employment.
Look at the UK. The North East and Northern Ireland have the lowest average wages, but also have the highest unemployment!
Higher wages will put money in workers' pockets - and that money will then be spent in shops!
Higher wages also encourages employers to invest in new plant and machinery, and to compete more effectively. Today, too many employers rely on cheap labour and zero-hour contracts for their profits.
[By the way, this issue is one of the key contradictions of big business capitalism. Low wages may well boost short term profits for an individual employer, but if every employer pushed down wages, the economy would nosedive!]
UKIPer - But immigrants steal our jobs!
TUSC - No they don’t. Anyway, how do you “steal” a job? It's not the worker who chooses who gets the job; it’s the employer. Immigrants are not stealing jobs. Employers are!
Workers are expected to compromise on wages, but employers won’t compromise on profits! Phones4U has just been closed, with around 5,000 job losses; the post office privatisation cost at least 1,300 jobs; Lloyds bank has cut no less than 30,00 jobs since 2008. [We have many more examples].
Councils up and down the country are slashing jobs to implement the government’s austerity programme (supported by UKIP councillors!). Immigration has not caused any of this!
UKIPer - Aren’t you not concerned about immigration?
TUSC - Yes. Because the "immigration issue” is used to divert attention from what is REALLY causing unemployment, bad housing, poverty wages, and social service cutbacks. It is a major weapon in the armoury of big business in its search for profit and political advantage over the worker!
“Divide and rule” is a standard strategy of bosses and rulers everywhere. Whereas for workers, solidarity is their main defence.
We are also concerned because workers in many countries are driven by dreadful circumstances to seek a better life elsewhere. Away from extreme poverty, war and violence. People will always seek better places to live - and under those circumstances - why shouldn’t they? It is war and poverty that drives migration. Like us here in this country, those workers are burdened with reactionary, pro-big business governments.
Through international solidarity, TUSC supports workers in those countries who are fighting for peace and the kind of government we want here. A democratic socialist government.
If they could achieve that, their country’s resources, its labour and its capital, would no longer serve the cause of the wealthiest; instead those resources would be put to work in the interests of the vast majority. When that starts to happen, the bosses and their governments will be much less able to use the immigration issue to sow division and fear. The same applies here.
A socialist government in Britain would be a big boost to that process. It will bring jobs, houses, decent wages - and a future free of worry and fear.
UKIPer - At least UKIP is anti-establishment.
TUSC - No it’s not. It PRETENDS to be anti-establishment! It's financed by millionaires! It's run by millionaires. Farage himself is a privately educated, millionaire, ex-city slicker! It has key members in the House of Lords! In what sense does this read like anti-establishment?
Do you really think these millionaires are going to fight for the interests of workers like you? You’re absolutely right to be sceptical about mainstream parties. But don’t then give your support to their second eleven?
UKIPer - How do I know TUSC is a workers’ party.
TUSC - Because workers finance TUSC. Workers support TUSC. And workers stand as TUSC candidates in elections.