Bristol stall. Photo: Mike Luff
Bristol stall. Photo: Mike Luff

Walthamstow, east London – we haven’t vanished

Waltham Forest Socialist Party was back at its usual Saturday spot outside Sainsbury’s on the High Street. We wanted to reassure our regulars that we hadn’t vanished!

Socialist Party members Nancy Taaffe and Paula Mitchell explained over the mic that we had been away at the Gaza demonstrations most Saturdays for the past couple of months. But we are still fighting to build a party to represent the working class in Walthamstow.

Building on the theme on the cover of the Socialist newspaper we were selling, we talked to market shoppers about how tight their money is compared to bosses of the corporations, who have already made more money this year than most people will in a lifetime.

It seemed to strike a chord with passersby – 37 of them bought the Socialist paper in a busy hour. And we had lots of engaging conversations, with familiar faces and new ones.

The only real hostility came from a woman who mistook us for the Labour Party! We are building recognition for when we stand in the general election in Walthamstow later this year.

Chris Corney

Swindon – gulf between people and capitalist parties

Even while we were setting up our Socialist Party campaign stall, we already had people coming up and asking to buy a Socialist paper. Our ‘Tories Out!’ posters always meet a good response, and the anti-Tory mood has grown particularly resolute, as a general election gets closer.

“Who do we vote for?” is a question on most people’s minds – an enthusiastic Labour voter is even more rare than an outspoken Tory! We had plenty of opportunities to discuss our plans to run as widely as possible in the local elections, part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

We met one man who said he wouldn’t describe himself as a ‘socialist’. But he supported nationalisation of energy companies, Royal Mail, and public transport, and a fully funded public NHS, saying: “These things aren’t extreme, they should be seen as normal.”

This led to a discussion about how the bosses wouldn’t just hand these things over, and how the working class needs to fight for them.

Another man lamented the decline of decent jobs and industry, and agreed with us that we need to nationalise the major industries if we’re going to rebuild manufacturing, and guarantee decent jobs for all.

These discussions demonstrate the gulf between what is actually popular policy among workers, and what’s on offer from the establishment parties. A new mass workers’ party is desperately needed to harness this mood, and fight for a socialist programme.

Scott Hunter

Bristol – ‘bollocks to all of them’

“Excuse my language, but bollocks to all of them”. This nicely summed up the mood out on our stall in Kingswood, where the latest by-election is being held, following the resignation of the Tory MP.

A father with his child in a pushchair, asked who he should vote for. It didn’t take him long to conclude that he would prefer to stay at home.

Another woman, who also bought the Socialist paper, said that she had supported Jeremy Corbyn, and how Keir Starmer had reversed all his policies. There isn’t a workers’ candidate standing in this by-election. She was going to vote Labour to get rid of the Tories who are destroying the country.

Leaflets publicising the protest by the National Education Union and Unison – ‘Stop the cuts! Enough is Enough’ – for the coming council budget meeting on 21 February went down well.

Mike Luff

Didsbury, Manchester – dismay and encouragement

We enjoyed much support from passersby, while we campaigned against the war on Gaza, and for council homes with fair rents. The people who stopped were dismayed at the level of violence perpetrated against Gaza by the Israeli state, and also the bombing of Yemen by the US and UK.

A number of young people stopped to sign both petitions, encouraged by the thought of an affordable standard of living and an end to capitalist war, showing a good deal of interest in joining the Socialist Party.

Catherine Tributsch