I’ve been a socialist as long as I can remember. In a world where capitalism was catastrophically failing most people, leaving them cold, hungry and dying of preventable diseases, even in developed countries, it didn’t make sense to support a system of market and profit. Fundamental change in the organisation of society, and a shift in power, is necessary to achieve decent conditions of living for all without destroying our planet.
I’ve been active in the trade union movement since I started training as a doctor, but the Labour Party seemed like the least bad of the awful, rather than anything we could use to fight for socialism. The various socialist sects seemed more interested in fighting each other and recruiting for themselves than doing anything useful, and alienated me.
One of my strongest union comrades sold me a copy of Solidarity when we met up, but I knew little of the AWL. When Corbyn was elected, I joined the Labour Party and immediately became exposed to the various groupings within the left. Many did not seem happy at the arrival of thousands of enthused people, much less the arrival of those who wanted to push not just for Corbyn but for a democratised and socialist Labour Party. People seemed to hate Workers’ Liberty, but when I asked why, the positions AWL advocated seemed reasonable. I realised many of the best trade unionists and activists I knew (or knew of) were members.
The organised network of the AWL was obviously not just promoting good political ideas but also enabling members to be good industrial strategists. I started meeting members regularly to discuss the issues in my local Labour Party, Momentum and my union. In times with so much opportunity and risk, organisation is key to ensuring that democratic and revolutionary socialists shape the progress of the movement. I’ve joined the AWL to be part of that work, and other revolutionary socialists should do the same.