Why I joined the AWL

Submitted by AWL on 25 January, 2011 - 7:03

Donna Allen is a station worker and RMT activist on London Underground.

Until I met Workers’ Liberty I’d not been in touch with many people who shared my way of seeing the world. I’ve been on the Tube for four years, and in the RMT all that time, but it was only with the fight against cuts and the recent dispute that I became really active.

I met the AWL when two comrades came to our picket line, and gave out Tubeworker and the paper. From there I got involved in Janine’s campaign [Janine Booth’s successful campaign to be elected London Transport rep on the RMT executive], and from there it was a short step to joining up. I wanted to play an active role in the group, engage in activities and discussions and expand my knowledge.

Chris Norton is a sixth form student in Sheffield.

When I was nine I came home from school and said to my dad, “Dad, don’t you think communism would be the perfect system?” I didn’t really know what I was talking about, but I had a general idea of socialism. Last year I met an AWL comrade, Max, selling Solidarity, and he made an effort to speak to me and my friend.

We agreed to meet regularly, though we were worried it would basically involve him standing up on a chair and shouting “Burn them all!” in the middle of the café. In fact the discussions were good, and fleshed out the basic ideas I already had. I went to more meetings in the holidays, and when I was asked whether I’d join, I though, yes, it makes sense…

I’m glad it did, as it’s provided me with lots of support, particularly with the school students’ protests, when my ideas really passed from theory to practice. I’m not just turning up at protests, I’m really involved in something. My friend didn’t join because he was interested but didn’t want to make a commitment – I did.

What I like about the AWL is that we don’t just get up and shout – we do shout, but we’re the thoughtful Trots, if you like.

Lawrie Coombs is a probation officer who lives in Stockton-on-Tees.

Why did I decide to rejoin the AWL after a number of years outside it? I never lost my libertarian socialist, Marxist politics, but the years of hard grind took their toll. I’m more careful with my time now. Nonetheless, the situation in the world, the election of a Tory government worse than the one in the 80s, reminded me of a responsibility to be active involved in political struggle. I think the best avenue for that is membership in the AWL. The recent student struggles inspired me too, and I am impressed by the organisation’s turn outwards, which I hope will continue.

I don’t want to be someone who just spouts off at work or to my friends. I want to spread the ideas, and play a role organising others too.

Charles is a Leeds Uni student occupier.

I met the comrades at a Palestine solidarity demo. I thought the Workers’ Liberty line on Israel-Palestine made sense, and that drew me in. I started going to branch meetings and organising with them, then went to Ideas for Freedom. I became a member after I’d stood up at a Trades Council meeting and introduced myself as Workers’ Liberty – I thought, if I’m going to say that, I’d better actually join!

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