A few months ago I gave a speech at a Zoom meeting in which the central question was: “Where Does Socialism Go Next?”
My argument was simple. Forget party politics, Socialism needs boots on the ground in our communities right now. I wasn’t talking leafleting for meetings no-one attends, or a poster campaign, or a town centre stall collecting email addresses; I wasn’t talking intellectual socialism at all; I was active, dynamic, kinetic Socialism at the grassroots because if we aren’t there……well, the consequences are unthinkable.
We’ve seen what happens when so-called parties of the Left abandon their core vote. Our communities, our estates, go unrepresented. In the political vacuum that follows, in walk the Far Right with their arm around the shoulder and their easy answers and scapegoats. We saw this through the recessions of the early-90’s, we saw this through the post-crash Austerity Years, and once Covid has passed, the coming economic calamity will make both look like a lottery win. IT IS COMING. And for once we need to not be as reactionary as we accuse the Right of being, we need to be ahead of history and there in the heart of our communities NOW.
I recommended speaking to Pauline Town, who as the heart of the We Shall Overcome community support network has been feeding and helping house both the visible and invisible homeless for five and a half years. More than 300 people have a roof over their head tonight thanks to Pauline and the local bridges she has built; so much so that the government’s own statistics put Tameside as the top borough in the country for reducing street homelessness in spite of its relative poverty to the shiny high-profile campaigns of adjacent Manchester.
Pauline feeds up to 100 people every single day and is a compendium of frontline knowledge. If she doesn’t know the answer, she always knows someone who does; and you are not another statistic like you are to the authorities, you are a person with a name and a life story and you matter as much as anyone else out there. Pauline’s success stems from the fact that she is Working Class and does not judge. She is patient, she is compassionate, she is understanding, and she is THERE.
Thankfully, at least one set of ears was listening and Hull Trades Council this month launch their Unity Shop in the Kurdish Community Centre there, a place you can get food, advice and assistance; somewhere the various community campaigns can share space and compare notes but above all be there for people on the breadline with nowhere else to turn.
Poverty is the next political flashpoint. If we fail to address this and help alleviate it with Socialist principles and direct grassroots community action, in will walk the Far Right and Tinderbox UK will go up in the kind of flames none of us can put out. We need to reconnect Socialism with the Working Class because without people it is just words in a mouldy old book gathering dust in a forgotten corner of history. Act now before it is too late.
Click here for a secure way to sign up, you will be supporting independent news. Click the button below.
Disagree with this article? why not write in and you can have your say? email us