Sam Bennett, Oxford Socialist Party

I attended my first Socialism event ten years ago, in 2013. I was a student at Sheffield Hallam University, and I had only just joined the Socialist Party two months earlier. Even though I regularly went to branch meetings and demonstrations, I hadn’t fully grasped all the Marxist ideas that the Socialist Party and its political programme was built on.

When I arrived at Socialism 2013, I was immediately awestruck by the number of people at the event, considering the modest size of the Socialist Party. I can’t imagine the same proportion of Labour Party members attending their own events!

One thing I really wanted to understand was some of the jargon that sometimes comes with Marxist ideas, like dialectics and historical materialism. The discussions broke down complicated theories in a very clear way and allowed members of the audience to have their own input, including disagreements and questions.

I was incredibly inspired by speakers who came all the way to London from our sister parties in other countries. Some face violence and repression, but their resilience and courage made me question whether I could be doing more to fight for socialism here.

Last, but by no means least, is the rally when all attendees come together and listen to many riveting speeches from remarkable socialist and trade union leaders. I left Socialism energised and wanting to be more involved in the Socialist Party. I stood as a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate in elections not a year later!

Capitalist crisis and a lack of a working-class alternative to the main political parties has only worsened in the last decade. Socialism 2023 will prepare all those who attend for the struggles ahead and galvanise a new cohort of fighting socialists worldwide.