Le Socialiste November 3, 2021 | Join the Socialist Party
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YFJ Steps, 9.10.21, in London, photo Mary Finch (Click to enlarge)
Rhys Davies, Socialist Party of Cardiff East
To explain why I joined the Socialist Party, I have to go back to 2008 and the global financial crisis. I worked for a financial start-up directly funded by Wall Street investment firm Merrill Lynch.
As far as I know, business was getting better and better. What I didn’t know was that Merrill Lynch would soon play a pivotal role in the subprime mortgage crisis, a major factor in the coming recession.
Funding for the company was withdrawn and we had to cease operations. I was fired shortly after. I vowed never to work in the financial industry again after being exposed to the predatory and exploitative practices that plagued the industry.
I decided to convert myself into an electrician. After I graduated, I was excited to embark on my new career.
Unfortunately, the construction sector has also been hit hard by the crisis. My efforts to find work as a spark were in vain, although I offered to work unpaid just to gain experience under my belt.
I spent long periods of time unemployed or in various temporary jobs with a salary much lower than I was used to. Any savings I had managed to put aside were used to pay the mortgage, bills and two young children over the following years.
My physical and mental health suffered greatly during this time, but not as much as some of my contemporaries. The suicide rate for men my age during this time skyrocketed. Families have collapsed and people have lost their homes.
I have always been a proud leftist and a traditional Labor voter. But now I had quit the Labor Party because of Blairism and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
I bounced between the Greens and Plaid Cymru for a while, but I was essentially politically homeless and in desperate need of advice.
If I had found the Socialist Party at this point it would have had a much happier ending, but unfortunately it wasn’t. I was in an extremely vulnerable situation due to financial constraints and poor mental health.
I came dangerously close to putting a lot of money into “tiered marketing” programs, trying to recoup the lost savings. I have also fallen into pseudo-scientific wellness practices with the aim of alleviating the pain of everyday life.
Social media platforms were starting to dominate. It was becoming very easy to fall into conspiratorial rabbit holes, so that was also a danger. I can sympathize with the many alienated and disillusioned people who fall victim to these scams in the absence of a compelling alternative to the status quo. So many people could be won over to socialism if the opportunity presented itself.
I am part of a generation which saw the fortune of our parents better than that of our grandparents, who also lived it better than that of their parents. Naturally, we expected to have it even better, to be entitled to greater wealth and comfort than anyone before us, and to provide an even brighter future for our children.
Despite being on the left, I still had vague illusions about the “trickle down” economy we had been taught to trust. than the systemic failures of capitalism.
In 2016, things started to change. Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labor Party and Bernie Sanders came close to winning the Democratic Party nomination in the United States.
The word “socialism” was becoming less taboo and ideas were gaining popularity. I voted for the Labor Party for the first time in ten years and decided to seek out socialist groups locally to discuss ideas and get involved in activism.
I submitted my email address on the Socialist Party website, was contacted the next day, attended my first branch meeting, and joined within weeks.
Looking back, I can now identify capitalism as the system that has had such a devastating effect on my life and continues to have on billions of people around the world. During the last four years in the Socialist Party, I have spoken at meetings on subjects that I knew nothing about when I joined, in my own branch and in others.
I was elected to the local committee. I attended the annual socialism event, the meeting of the National Council of the Socialist Party in 2021, the Congress in 2020 and I was present at the historic overhaul of the Committee for a Workers’ International in 2019.
Joining the Socialist Party has changed my life, and Marxism has taught me so many important lessons. One of the most important is the need for a united working class mass party.
As we emerge from the pandemic, it is likely that we will have more austerity imposed on us. And there is a real possibility of another economic crisis.
I cannot avoid this, but I am now part of an organization that will lead the response against it. And I’m better equipped to help others understand what they’re going through and how we can solve problems.
I urge all those who have not yet taken this step to join the Socialist Party, get involved and join the fight for a better and fairer society.
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