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Joining the Socialist Party has helped me understand the world and how we can change it
Nina Brown, Leeds Socialist Party
Having been raised by lefty parents I felt strongly that I was 'political'. I voted for the Greens in every election since I was 18. I even put a Green Party poster in my bedroom window.
Overhearing how my parents talked about Margaret Thatcher made me certain that Tories were bad, war was bad and the environment needed saving. I was confident in these opinions, but thought that if the party that you put an 'X' next to every five years did not get into power what more could you do?
Cue starting uni and meeting my partner. We agreed on a lot of political ideas, but differed on some things. I challenged his opinions because I felt they were a bit extreme - he questioned whether mine would lead to meaningful change.
I started going to Socialist Party meetings out of curiosity. In all honesty I wasn't entirely sure whether any of the ideas I heard could be achieved. Surely political change is made by 'politicians', not people on the streets?
Fast forward to Donald Trump's inauguration in January 2017, and to my - and many others - first ever time on a demonstration at the huge women's march in London that month. Being there was electric. I felt angry and empowered. I was outraged that this 'pussy-grabbing', homophobic racist got air-time, let alone presidential power over millions of people. I felt stunned that he had been elected despite Bernie Sanders being an option in the primaries.
It was on this demo that I first leafleted for the Socialist Party, and unknowingly bestowed one on Hilary Benn! I hope that he read it, but the continued cuts by Labour councils suggest that he did not!
I realised that putting an 'X' on a ballot paper every few years was just the tip of the iceberg. I feel that the political education that I've gained from participating in and speaking at Socialist Party meetings, going to demos, selling and reading the Socialist paper and doing campaign stalls enables me to understand the world, and all the ways people can change it.
When Jeremy Corbyn came out with the June 2017 general election manifesto I saw that things I assumed were just 'lefty dreams' were things that could be fully funded and provided for - and that this opinion was shared by the majority.
I've now finished uni and am working in York NHS district hospital, seeing how the Tory cuts are affecting the NHS every day. Nowadays, I urge people to realise the political power and tools they have, and I encourage people to fight for a fully-funded health service, nationalised public services and a socialist society.
In The Socialist 24 October 2018:
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