A night with the Socialist Worker's Party
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Most of these small political parties are so small that they don't do public meetings, let alone party meetings. But the Socialist Worker's Party is very different, they are flat out propagandists, not that that is a bad thing. They genuinely want the proletariat to rise up against their capitalist masters.
My first, and only, party meeting was titled 'How to overthrow the Government'. Afterwards, I certainly considered contacting trading standards, but let it go.
The night started with awful rain, outside of the venue is was bludgeoned into passing over a pound for the Socialist Worker newspaper. The Socialist Worker isn't a bad paper, but it can hardly be said to be covering the "news" .
Their 'all the news they don't want you to read' style of voice is rather redundant in the age of the internet, and it's hardly the Daily Mail's fault for being much more interesting, and frankly, cheaper. I'm all for bias, but their pretence of impartiality is totally transparent.
The room I first entered was very intimidating, an enormous circular room with a great yellow fist printed onto the red carpet perhaps six metres across, Marxist words emblazoned across the wrist. A ring of chairs sat against the wall. I sat alone, not even particularly early. Then they begun to trickle in, old men and women. The occasional unshaven student, perhaps? And they all went into an adjacent room, so I followed.
This second room was a long rectangle of a room with rows of chairs in a very orderly manner. At the front were three tables with unsold (and unwanted?) copies of Socialist Worker attached by sticky tape. And three chairs, with one occupied by a man tapping away at his phone. By now, there were perhaps eight or nine people in the room, chatting like old friends.Moving to the back of the back of the room I saw a table filled with books, freebies perhaps?
No, I picked a few up and begun to skim read, the leaf of the jacket covers were adorned with a little pencilled price, £2, £3 and £4 being the general price range. To complete my disguise and show I was for real I bought copy of Das Kapital and an 1997 edition of Socialist International. By this point more had arrived now, perhaps thirty or so.
Stealthily tonight's guest speakers had arrived and made their way to the front. A women from head office and a guy from down the road.
The point of what they were talking about was hard to follow, sitting listening intently I heard the speakers say something about pensions and offer a big slap on the back for a recent strike. They used a multitude of phrases like, 'this isn't on', 'we can't let them do that', 'we have got to fight this'.
Exactly what 'wasn't on', what they 'can't do' and what we all need to 'fight' was all very vague. The offering is niether practical nor theoretical, just twenty minutes of whinging without purpose. My hopes of them discussing the surplus value of goods or even dropping in vague reference to Marx, were soon dashed. There was no joy.
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Then the fun began, tales from the deep recesses of the minds of the older comrades, who like Major from Animal Farm, told us tales of there youth and great dreams. Of that time they got arrested, about the tramp they recruited into the party and a myriad of other remembrances. It reminded me of one of those funerals that have been demanded to be joyful by the dead.
The talking went on for quite a while, with a Stalinist style master of ceremonies. Using his finger to point at the next person allowed to speak. I cannot say it wasn't fun, old people telling stories has a certain comic element. But the younger people there, were kinda scary. 'We mustn't forget that this is a war' is perhaps the most angry thing said, they are hardly plotting a coup, but, they do seem a bit carried away.
I would say after all they I'm still a capitalist.