Why I joined

‘The Socialist Party has given me political confidence’

Mayola Blagdon, photo by Socialist Party

Mayola Blagdon, photo by Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Mayola Blagdon, Basingstoke Socialist Party

My story is different from most.

My mother was born in the house my grandfather was squatting. My uncle was involved in one of the biggest squatting campaigns in Europe in the 1980’s. During the housing crisis in Amsterdam, tens of thousands occupied whole blocks at once. This resulted in it becoming legal for the next two decades.

As a teenager in the nineties, I decided to follow in their footsteps. I started squatting myself. It was hard to find anywhere to live being only 17 with no education or work.

At the time a lot of travellers came over from the UK, fleeing Thatcher’s oppressive anti-traveller laws. Hundreds a year in the town where I lived needed a place to park up. Me and my comrades helped organise them, and spoke to the council and the police on their behalf.

I have now lived in the UK for a few years and decided to search for a party to vote for on the left. I soon found the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), and the Socialist Party, two months before the election. I met other members nearby but discovered I was the only one in my town.

TUSC candidate

I decided to stand in the council elections for TUSC. I leafleted a quarter of my ward and held about four campaign stalls.

I organised a successful public meeting just before the election, and now we are building a new branch. Before I stuck my neck out there was no clear anti-austerity party to vote for in Basingstoke. Now barely six months later, there is!

I experienced how collective direct action like squatting can force councils to listen and negotiate solutions.

The Socialist Party has given me the political confidence to back up my activism from the past, and to now look forward to contributing to a democratic socialist revolution.