August 17, 2014 at 4:40 pm #83144SocialistPunkParticipant
I was talking to a very good friend and member of the party a few days ago and the conversation drifted onto how we came into contact with The Socialist Party. I found my friends account very interesting and it got me thinking about how others might have come in contact with the party.
So, I thought it might be interesting to set up a thread inviting party members and non party members alike, to share their experience of what brought them into contact with the party. Could be a fascinating bit of socialist, social history to discover here and who knows we might learn something about what attracts people to the weird and wonderful world of The Socialist Party.
I'm hoping it might encourage anyone who hasn't posted before to join in and share their Road to Socialism story.
I'll post my story separately a bit later on.
"C'mon Everybody!"August 17, 2014 at 4:55 pm #104481LBirdParticipantSocialistPunk wrote:So, I thought it might be interesting to set up a thread inviting party members and non party members alike, to share their experience of what brought them into contact with the party.
I came into contact with the SPGB through reading ALB's and alanjjohnstone's contributions to 'economics' discussions on the LibCom site. I was impressed with their arguments against various brands of 'market socialism' and 'money economy', and arguments for 'free access' socialism.On further delving, I was also impressed by the commitment by the SPGB to democracy within the workers' movement, and opposition to Leninism/Troskyism and 'democratic centralist/cadre' parties. This was because of my entirely negative experience in the SWP.I was banned by LibCom, not least because of my fundamental disagreements with 'individualist anarchism', so here I am.To be truthful, I'd never even heard of the SPGB (I don't recall, anyway, so if it was mentioned in passing in conversation over the years, it made no impression upon me – just another 'sect' amongst the thousands one hears about, I suppose).So, my contact was entirely due to the internet. But, I was already a convinced Communist, so I was already open to persuasion.August 17, 2014 at 4:56 pm #104482AnonymousInactive
Good idea SP. I think I tried something similar but in 'off topic' and I don't think anyone frequents it.I will give it some thought and come back to you. Hope you get plenty of responses.August 17, 2014 at 5:57 pm #104483J SurmanParticipant
Happy to put in my two penn'orth.All done snail mail by the way.Followed up an advert in – can't remember which – Private Eye or New Internationalist, which I found intriguing. I'd requested a bundle of pamphlets. When they arrived I read them through instantly one after the other, couldn't believe what I was reading – well, wanted to believe but why had I never heard such things before? Immediately sent off for everything else that was available and waited impatiently for the post. Then I read the knock out material – socialism would mean getting rid of money!! Really!! What a brilliant idea!!So excited I sent off my letter to join – little did I realise – it's not that simple, but with good reason I realised later. Frustrated at the time I wrote my answers longhand to the membership application committee and sent them off. Another frustrating wait – I live overseas so it takes even longer than internal mail. Bingo! I was accepted and have been learning ever since.Quite frankly I have never understood how I could have lived so long before stumbling across this party. It felt like I'd found my home. I didn't know it but I'd been a socialist for decades – it just took finding the SPGB to confirm it and I'm still flabbergasted.I sent in a piece to the Socialist Standard – my first – soon after. It gives a bit more information about what I was about before:http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2000s/2005/no-1216-december-2005/my-road-socialismAugust 17, 2014 at 8:26 pm #104484AnonymousInactive
Speakers' Corner, London, sometime in the 70's.August 17, 2014 at 11:07 pm #104485AnonymousInactive
I should have known the Socialist Party ( or the WSM ) during the 1965 before I spent active more than 3 decades with the Leninist/Stalinist/Enverist movement, the Marxist humanist movement, and the SLP , and others political movement that I was involved., I grew up with Jesuits, Dominicos and Salesian priests and I was able to break away with religion at a very young age My questioning of the socialist party became my acceptance of the socialist party, and the rejections of my mistakes, if peoples were able to collect money due to their mistakes, i could have become a millionaire. The teacher became the learner, and I did my homework properly. I encountered myself with one side of Leninism and Marxism that I did not know despite the years that I spent reading and studying both. I wonder how the first founders of the SP were able to do that in 1903-1905, The problem is that the Socialist Party has been for a long period of time an Euro-centrist organization, although it had a similar organization in Jamaica, but its ideas did not expand to Latin America, why ? because of the language barrier, and Jamaica is not considered as part of Latin America either, conception that is a mistake due to the influence of racism in that region, it is what Franz Fannon called: Mental colonialismIronically the advanced conception of workers unions came through the Jamaican and the peoples from the Virgin Island which were influenced by the British Chartists, and they are irrespectively called 'Cocolos' They were industrial workers of the sugar cane industry Knowing all that theoretically and practically gave me a strong foundation to understand that whoever leaves the party looking for something else, should move to the moon, because there is not other political party on the earth similar or close to the party, and it is the only one close to the most fundamental principles of Marx and Engels, and the true socialists. Luckily, or sadly, I was the only one within thousands of others who was able to break away with his/her political past, some are dead, others quitted, others are burnt out, and others are still hammering the head of the same nail with the same old hammer, and others are collaborating with their own rulers, The history is longer than a catholic rosaryAugust 18, 2014 at 1:10 pm #104486SocialistPunkParticipantVin Maratty wrote:Good idea SP. I think I tried something similar but in 'off topic' and I don't think anyone frequents it.I will give it some thought and come back to you. Hope you get plenty of responses.
I checked out your thread in the Off Topic section and when it was set up I was not long out of hospital and feeling rougher than anything I ever dared imagine, so my appologies for seeming to ignore it.You are probably right in saying being in Off Topic meant less people engaging. I noted that yourself and a couple of others posted your stories about joining the party, so would like to extend an invitation to just copy and paste over onto this thread. Save the tedium of retyping.August 19, 2014 at 3:28 pm #104487rodshawParticipant
As for me, seehttp://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2000s/2009/no-1257-may-2009/how-i-got-be-socialistAugust 19, 2014 at 3:43 pm #104488rodshawParticipant
As an addendum to the above, around 1974, while living and working in London, I was in a pub with some friends one evening and this chap somehow got into conversation with me. He was called Charlie, a postman, and he said he was a socialist. I told him so was my dad, a member of the Socialist Party of Great Britain. I myself still remained unconvinced about it all, but I remember feeling really proud that I could tell him my dad was in the SPGB. Turned out he was a member too! So I gave him my dad's phone number and they had a chat.What are the chances of that happening, eh?August 19, 2014 at 4:36 pm #104489AnonymousInactive
I was brought up in a mining community and thought I was a socialist. I did not look into the Labour Party or the parties of the left. My experience as a miner under the National Coal Board was enough to convince me that state control had nothing to do with the communism I had in mind.I am a little embarrassed to admit that I joined the Liberal Party after a bit of arm twisting by my two sisters who were Liberal Councillors. This is more easily understood – when you look at Labour’s strangle hold over politics in the North of England.My sister knew I was a socialist and introduced me to what she called a 'real socialist’: a miner who happened also to be the only SPGB’er in the village! It was about 1978 I believe. ‘So you think you are a socialist?’, He asked.I replied, ‘Well, yes’He rolled up his sleeves.After the good hiding, ( I don't mean he beat me up as some comrade thought. What I mean is that he new his stuff and I didn't ).I think he was impressed tho' when I told him that the Soviet Union had nothing to do with communism. I went home to lick my wounds with a Socialist Standard sticking out my back pocket but within two weeks I knocked on his door (didn’t have the internet in those days) and said, ‘well what about organising that revolution?’I took on the jobs of secretary and branch organiser but I refused to buy all the beer.It was not long before we had a thriving branch holding meetings and debates.I do believe Cde Colborn turned up shortly after.August 19, 2014 at 11:54 pm #104490alanjjohnstoneKeymaster
Something i blogged for the Socialist Courier on my early encounters with the SPGB that gives a bit of background of the times back then.http://socialist-courier.blogspot.com/2013/04/personal-memories.htmlHowever at primary school i did stand as the Communist Party candidate in the mock election of either 1964 or 1966 perhaps because i did a project on Russia and already called a "Commie" and also that the CP branch had an office a street away from me. I got one vote, my own…The SNP girl won which might account for my anti-nationalist bias but also this was before the hey-days of the SNP began ! So i am accustomed of being in the minority of one and now i abide by the saying by John Quincy Adams "Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost."I do recall an early memory of campaigning for the Labour Party in my pre-school days, marching up and down the street waving placards and flags …Back then there was a carnival like atmosphere on election days…bunting and rosettes, loud-speaker vans, in every window , a poster, it was a council estate so there were only various Labour Party ones. Sadly, an election day is the same as any other day, no-on would notice one taking place. Once, an election day was an excuse to party and if your school was a poliing station – a day off school, too !!August 20, 2014 at 10:20 am #104491DJPParticipant
There's a little bit about how I got involved in politics here:http://theoryandpractice.org.uk/page/more-about-theoryandpracticeorgukI came across the party on the internet on MySpace. I was looking at the page of the journal "Aufheben" and saw one of it's "friends" was "The Socialist Party of Great Britain". I looked at the MySpace page took up the free trial subscription offer, saw there was a local branch meeting in my city, went along and that where it all started. Think I went to meetings for about a year before I joined up.Turns out that one of the branch members was friends with one of my girlfriends mother, so about a year or two before I became aware of the party I had been told by her that I should talk to x "because he was in the socialist party" but never took up the offer because I thought "the socialist party" meant "the socialist workers party"…
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