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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 December 2019

Selling the Socialist

Selling the Socialist in Newcastle, photo Elaine Brunskill

Selling the Socialist in Newcastle, photo Elaine Brunskill   (Click to enlarge)

"Time socialism was back on the agenda"

Since the general election was called, Swansea Branch has been organising at least three city centre and one campus campaign stalls a week, usually comprised of a main Socialist Party campaign stall and a separate Young Socialist stall nearby.

Saturday 30 November was very much a successful day for us with 26 papers sold and 20 raised in fighting fund donations. There was a lot less hostility, a lot more openness and positivity.

While it is clear that there is still a silent majority who aren't talking about the election or their intentions, the polarisation has meant that those who care the most, either way, are more vocal.

Over the course of the two-hour stall we met:

An older woman from Coventry fondly remembering the legacy of Militant (forerunner of the Socialist Party) in the city; praising Dave Nellist as a worker's MP on a worker's wage, and Rob Windsor, "the best councillor I've ever had!".

A young, homeless bloke who was initially hostile to us. The previous week I had given him a paper and some leaflets, and after a long chat he said that he felt there was no reason for him to care about politics. This time he told me he had gone to the shelter to register to vote!

And finally, a working-class couple, both on Universal Credit, who gave us a raised fist salute and said it was, "time socialism was back on the agenda!"

There was also a steady stream of people concerned about the future of the NHS and education under the Tories, and the legacy of a decade of austerity.

It felt like a decidedly different stall to those previously, perhaps a reaction to the barefaced media smears against Corbyn, and the announcement of the Tory lead being halved in the latest major polls. It will be interesting to see whether this trend continues.

Gareth Bromhall, Swansea Socialist Party and Young Socialists

Great conversations in Stoke

In Hanley we spoke to a fella from Romania who told us, "Jeremy Corbyn's manifesto is good but it's not going far enough". He read out aloud from our Socialist Party leaflet, "A socialist government to take into public ownership the top 150 companies that dominate the economy and run them under democratic worker's control and management - that's exactly what we need!". He then bought a copy of the Socialist and donated 5 to our fighting fund.

Sam said she had never voted before, but will do this time because of Corbyn's policies, and will keep in touch with us via social media.

Cael told us that he has become interested in politics because of Corbyn, and will be voting Labour. He also wants, "to learn more about politics". But he was shocked about us being forced out of the Labour Party in the 1980s and that the right wing still existed inside the Labour Party.

A fourteen-year-old lad came up to us asked us for more information, and took away many different leaflets. As he walked off he stuck his fist in the air and shouted "the workers united will never be defeated!"

We had a great conversation with a young Keele University student which included why the Russian revolution was a victory for the working class, why the German revolution in 1918 failed and various issues concerning the current general election. She agreed to do an introduction on the German Revolution at one of our branch meetings, paid 2 for the Socialist and said she wants to join the Socialist Party!

Andy Bentley, Stoke Socialist Party

Change of mood in Newcastle

Despite the proximity of Christmas (lots of people had their heads down - determined to shop 'til they drop) we had a good response on our Socialist Party stall in Newcastle. There was a very strong anti-Tory mood.

Our call of 'Get the Tories out! Fight to save the NHS' was well received. People are worried that Boris will want to sell off what's left of the NHS.

The mood is definitely moving towards Corbyn. Even those who aren't too keen on him agreed it was his policies that would have them voting Labour. People are beginning to see his manifesto is pro-working class.

Socialist ideas are beginning to be discussed. People were telling us they were socialists.

One fella asked whether we thought Corbyn would stick to his policies. He agreed with our attitude that there were no guarantees, and there would have to be a battle to ensure Corbyn's policies weren't scuppered by the Blairites in the Labour Party.

I really enjoyed the stall. We had our hands shaken and people thanking us for getting out and fighting.

We sold 17 papers, raised around 20 in fighting fund and met a person interested in joining the Socialist Party.

Elaine Brunskill, Newcastle Socialist Party

Campaigning in east London

We had our best campaign stall of the general election so far. And the best response I've ever experienced in Stratford, east London.

People who might normally walk past our stall, wanted to stop and talk. Their interest had been piqued by Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity policies. And they were angry about Tory NHS lies.

The Labour Party stall was opposite us. They were sympathetic to what we were doing. One of them bought a copy of the Socialist for 2 solidarity price.

But we heard Labour activists excusing Tony Blair's NHS cuts and privatisation and complaining about how many children Boris Johnson has! That won't win over working-class people sceptical of all politicians, particularly following the negative role of the Blairites in power.

16 people bought a copy of the Socialist. Another two wanted to get involved with the Socialist Party. And we raised 20 on our card machine, for those that don't carry cash.

Ian Pattison, East London Socialist Party

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 4 December 2019:

What we think

Prepare now for the struggles after 12 December

International socialist news and analysis

Hong Kong's uprising

South African Airways workers win wage increase after strike action

Big Pharma

End profiteering from health - nationalise big pharma


Unite against terrorism, racism, war and austerity

Hillsborough justice eluded

News in brief

Keep up to date with our election coverage

Workplace news

SWR dispute: It's a strike to ensure the safety of the travelling public

Solid support for guards on West Midlands Trains

UCU strikes: more determined than ever

Royal Mail court ruling - national reps meeting and solidarity action essential

Jared Wood overwhelmingly elected to RMT executive

PCS union general secretary election

Northern Ireland: Health workers take action

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Fight for your future - join the socialists

Selling the Socialist

Climate strikes: Students and trade unionists protest together

Why I joined: "Proud to be a socialist"

Socialist Students conference: Students and workers united in struggle

Climate change election debate

Carlisle election meeting: Education - time to make the mega-rich and corporations pay


The Great Big Socialist Party Quiz 2019


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