Guildford Socialist Party public meeting. Photo: Southern and South East SP
Guildford Socialist Party public meeting. Photo: Southern and South East SP

Ryan Lyddall, Surrey Socialist Party

I hadn’t been involved in any political groups before joining the Socialist Party. My voting history was limited, sticking to Labour as they seemed like the best option. Everything changed during lockdown, when I immersed myself in political theory, fuelled by my passion for philosophy and a book on politics gifted to me by my A-level teacher.

Over the following years, my burgeoning interest evolved into an all-consuming obsession. All I would read were books exploring leftist theories. It took a while before I could articulate my political position, I knew I was some sort of leftist but couldn’t get more specific.

As my confidence grew, I began engaging in conversations with those around me. Friends, family – anyone who would listen. But despite these discussions, I battled with a sense of helplessness. My knowledge of the system felt like a burden, not a gift. I understood what was wrong with the world but felt powerless to effect meaningful change.

Things began to change this January. An Instagram story promoting an emergency protest organised by the Enough is Enough campaign caught my attention. Finally, I found myself presented with an opportunity to make some sort of contribution to a greater cause.

The next week I journeyed into London and upon arrival was hit with an initial wave of disappointment at the seemingly small crowd. But, as the crowd grew my disappointment was replaced with hope.

It was during this protest I encountered a stall promoting the Socialist Party’s mission to replace capitalism with a fairer system. I approached the man behind the stall and asked him some questions. A few minutes later, I had given my contact information so that someone from a local branch could contact me.

True to his word, I received a call the following week from a local Socialist Party member. He answered some questions, and the week after that I met him in person as I attended my first meeting. Being in a room full of like-minded individuals with a shared goal of ending capitalism was an incredible experience that left an indelible mark on me. At the end of the meeting, I eagerly enquired about properly becoming a member, and a couple days later, I was signed up.

Witnessing the growth of the party, and the impact of our collective efforts, has been inspiring. I take pride in the role I’ve played thus far. The weight of despair I carried for years, disheartened by the state of the world, has been replaced by confidence that the working class can change society. Since January, I’ve found myself surrounded by an extraordinary community of like-minded individuals and engaged in endeavours I never thought myself capable of.

If you want to find out what it means to join the Socialist Party click here.