“To get rid of capitalism we need parties like the Socialist Party”, photo by Senan   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Laurel Fogarty, Lambeth and South West London Socialist Party

I moved to London from San Francisco in October 2014. I had been a member of an unrelated socialist group in the US. My comrades there put me in touch with a few young activists in London, but for one reason or another no meetings materialised.

With London bubbling over with anger at Tory cuts and Lib Dem betrayals, getting on the streets seemed more important than chasing up emails. So I ditched an afternoon at my new job, and went to join the huge student protest in November.

At that demonstration, both Socialist Students and the Socialist Party had a strong presence, manning stands, selling papers and handing out signs. So I decided to come to a Socialist Party branch meeting.

Socialist meetings I attended in the past (mostly on privileged university campuses) have often left me in awe of activists’ commitment to learning. But this meeting left me with something more than that. It left me with the feeling that this is what a socialist party should be.

After a talk on economic theory, members began discussing the strikes they were supporting and the work their unions were doing. Jokingly wishing that people would stop going on strike at 4am in the middle of winter – but fully intending to get up, put on a woolly hat, and support them anyway.

I joined because if we are going to get rid of capitalism, we need parties like the Socialist Party. On the streets protesting, supporting workers when they need it, patiently showing us the change we need is within our grasp – and explaining how we can reach out and grab it.