May Day Greetings from the picket lines

Lluis Bertolin, Birmingham Socialist Party

The recent University and College Union (UCU) strike at the University of Birmingham gave me an excellent opportunity to dip my toes into collecting donations for a May Day greeting in the Socialist. I went to the picket lines to join my striking colleagues armed with a ledger, a pen, copies of the Socialist, and make-shift receipt forms. On the way I practiced my pitch, trying to emphasize the important role the Socialist plays in spotlighting disputes that do not get coverage in mainstream media, putting forward a fighting trade union and political programme, and the need to support an independent workers’ press. I was quite nervous about asking my fellow striking workers for donations, and wondered how my pitch would be received. In the end, I almost didn´t need to use the full pitch. After just a bit of an explanation of what a May Day greeting and the Socialist are, people were eager to drop a fiver on it. By the end of the strikes, I had managed to collect £44, a whole lot more than I was expecting originally!

I was genuinely surprised at the ease with which the collection of donations went. I would encourage anyone who has been active in their trade union branch (or any socialist or left-wing organisation) for the past year to consider asking around to raise money for a May Day greeting, you might even be surprised at who says “yes”! Collecting donations for a May Day greeting, or arguing a motion on making the donation through the official channels, is not only a boon for the good health of the Socialist newspaper, but also reiterates why producing and selling the Socialist as wide as possible is important.