photo Paul Mattsson

photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Kieran Barlow, Grimsby and Scunthorpe Socialist Party

18 months ago, I left the Socialist Party following a political dispute which led to a small opposition group splitting off.

After careful consideration and reflection over the last few months, I now know this was the wrong decision for me, and the wrong direction for working-class people in Britain and internationally. I came to this conclusion as I realised that the arguments used in the dispute contradicted what was taking place on the ground.

So I watched from the sidelines as the Socialist Party intervened in my local area and across the country on the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, climate strike protests, and campaigned alongside NHS workers fighting for a 15% pay rise. These experiences concretely contradicted the accusations that the Socialist Party did not intervene in, or consider the urgency and importance of, social movements.

As a revolutionary organisation we have to acknowledge and adapt to social movements due to how quickly they can rise and fall. Although with a correct orientation, perspectives, and programme, these movements can be drawn towards the workers’ organisations, and activists can be won to a revolutionary party like the Socialist Party.

During the dispute, the Socialist Party was critiqued as wanting to be just a propagandist organisation. However, it is the critics of the Socialist Party who have a wait-and-see attitude, rather than taking a pro-active role in trying to promote a new workers’ party.

As someone who had previously stood as a candidate for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in North East Lincolnshire, and gained over 20% of the vote in the 2018 local elections, I’m really pleased that the Socialist Party, along with the RMT trade union, has relaunched TUSC’s electoral challenge against Starmer’s Labour.

The decision to write this statement has not been forced upon me, nor was I approached by any member of the Socialist Party to rejoin or write this statement. The reasons I approached the Socialist Party to rejoin four months ago are outlined above. They stem from reading both organisations’ material and contrasting them against what each were really doing on the ground.

I made a conscious, but personally difficult, decision to approach the Socialist Party again. After several discussions and attending branch meetings for three months, I have rejoined. I would recommend anyone else looking for a fighting, working-class, socialist organisation to do the same.