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From: The Socialist issue 939, 8 March 2017: We can save our NHS!

Search site for keywords: Socialist Party - Socialist - The Socialist - Inequality - Salford - Union - BNP - Socialism - Meetings - Media - Unite - Hearing - Elections - Independent

Why I joined: "I hope that more and more people are going to join the Socialist Party and the fight to end inequality"

Join the Socialist Party, photo by Mary Finch

Join the Socialist Party, photo by Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

Matthew Charleston, Salford Socialist Party

I think the simplest answer to why I joined the Socialist Party is that I saw inequality and wanted to help. I admit though that it was not simple to recognise this inequality, and for a long time I refused to acknowledge it even existed.

I am now 28. At the age of 18 my first vote was for the local British National Party (BNP) candidate in my small northern town. I was naive and didn't really understand what I was voting for, but I had seen the BNP in local media and heard them talked about.

A few years later I began voting for my friend who was an independent candidate, as I knew him from 'down the pub'. I never bothered voting in national elections until 2010 and 2015, in which I voted Conservative!

I was comfortable with my political choices until I became involved with my local trade union branch in the middle of 2016. The two workplace reps and branch officials at my workplace were standing down due to redundancy.

Union rep

I started to see the world from a different perspective while undergoing union rep training with Unite in Salford. I was introduced to the idea of socialism by some very passionate trade unionists.

In addition to the practical elements of being a rep, the training included watching videos such as Charlie Chaplin's speech from the Great Dictator, The Spirit of '45 and an interesting Youtube video about neoliberalism. These were all ideas that I had not been familiar with before, as well as putting a name to it all - socialism.

After these events I decided to attend a local public meeting of the Salford Socialist Party. My brother was already a member and I had met the treasurer Sally quite a few times socially (strictly under instruction from my brother not to mention I voted Tory!).

I signed up that night and have been attending meetings since. I am now starting to get involved with stalls and have got one paper sale under my belt so far. Through the Socialist Party I have started to learn more about trade unionism.

I am now starting to speak to people about politics and have enjoyed hearing the differing opinions on things that are happening in the world and had some lively debates. I hope that more and more people are going to join the Socialist Party and the fight to end inequality.

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