John (left) supporting CWU strikers
John (left) supporting CWU strikers

John Williams, Cardiff Socialist Party

To explain why I joined the Socialist Party, I have to explain some of the events in my life. One of my earliest memories was seeing the devastation of the 9/11 attacks on TV. I didn’t fully understand what was going on but I knew something big had happened that would change the world. I watched news bulletins of British and American soldiers being killed in Iraq and felt the world was a dangerous and violent place.

Both my parents worked, yet were constantly in debt. Me and my sisters were always answering doors to debt collectors or hiding from them. It became obvious to me from an early age that working people from day one are screwed over, however hard they work.

The deep inequality in the schooling system opened my eyes to the unfairness working-class people face. The school I went to was great, with a reputation of being friendly, open and mutually respectful. Unfortunately, it was a victim of forced academisation under Gordon Brown. Most of the teachers were sacked and replaced.

I felt alienated and depressed, trying to figure out who I was and where I fitted in, and why the world was like this. I didn’t think this would change.

But at university, I heard what Jeremy Corbyn, then leader of the Labour Party, was saying – ending cuts and privatisation, for public ownership, taxing the rich etc. I was inspired. Then I came across the Socialist Party after seeing Corbyn speak at a rally in Cardiff. Its members were friendly, open and keen to speak to people. The first meeting I went to was on International Women’s Day and I was welcomed. I could speak my mind and was never talked down to.

Over the next few weeks and months, I was impressed by the weekly meetings that discussed a broad range of topics. It was clear to me that it was a democratic organisation.

What convinced me to join was the willingness to put their ideas to the test, by doing weekly stalls, getting involved in campaigns, and discussing with workers and young people. I remember after going to three meetings, being asked to help leaflet the Port Talbot steel works where jobs were under threat. It was inspiring. I was impressed with how serious they were.

Seeing the Socialist Party in action made me realise how an understanding of socialist ideas is key to convincing more people of the need to fundamentally change society, and the need to join the Socialist Party to fight for this change.

During the Corbyn years, I wasn’t always sure of the Socialist Party’s approach to the Labour Party. But it was Socialist Party members who defended me when I was witch-hunted out of Welsh Labour for passing a motion demanding Labour councillors refuse to pass on Tory cuts. The Socialist Party was clear and consistent in what would have been necessary for Corbyn to successfully implement his programme and to defeat the right-wing saboteurs within his own party.

After Corbyn’s defeat, I knew I was with the right organisation. The Socialist Party remained optimistic about the power of the working class, and the potential for the popularity of socialist ideas to grow.

I am now confident to boldly put forward socialist ideas using everyday language in in whatever forum or discussion I’m in – on protests, on picket lines or with people I work with.

Joining this party has been the best decision of my life. I encourage you to get in touch and see what role you can play. We have a world to win.