A political journey that doesn’t end

Submitted by Matthew on 3 July, 2017 - 12:52 Author: Joe Booth

I have been a person of cause and rebellion for a long time. As an autistic young man growing up under capitalism, alienation has always been something I feel strongly. My parents are trade unionists and far-left socialists, and they brought me to the ideas of anti-oppression and solidarity.

My mum did not know she was also autistic until the age of 45. Before then it was a struggle for my family and everyone around me — including at school — to grasp what was actually stressing me and how to fully help me. The journey of growing up therefore brought me to rebellion, emancipation and socialism.

From age 10 (in 2012), I was a juvenile socialist; I followed my parents’ morals to fight conservatism, prejudice and all forms of social inequality. A year later, I was still a consistent juvenile socialist but drifted away, as it seemed like another ordinary hobby to me and I didn’t have enough experience in politics.

During the first three years of secondary school, I was experiencing friendship, but also the morality and pressure of the world. My two school friends from the summer of 2014 to January 2016 when I turned 14, were more important. Since then however, I have learnt about social and personal inequalities and this has made me more conscientious.

In March 2016, I became impassioned with the idea of wanting a revolution after watching movies like The Hunger Games and learning about the Bolsheviks. This set me on my political journey.

From March to May 2016, my passion for wanting a better world led me to inventing a utopia which I presented to the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, and made me think more about the meaning of socialism. In the summer of 2016, I spent the majority of my time working out how to become part of the revolutionary movement, and went to a summer school organised by the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL) called Ideas for Freedom. This made me more conscientious again and sparked me into going on more protests.

In September 2016, I quit seeing my support worker and started going to AWL meetings which gave me a better experience of Marxism; but I was still a young utopian socialist. From October to December 2016, I read the pamphlet, We Stand For Workers’ Liberty, which ultimately gave me a better grip on Marxism, Trotskyism and Permanent Revolution; I learned that in order to change the world we need Third Camp socialist and dialectical revolutionary politics.

On 10 December 2016, I went to an event called Reason in Revolt which marked the 50th anniversary of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty. That made me most convinced about joining and motivated to properly understand the politics behind the organisation. A week later, I went on a residential course in Derbyshire reading Marx’s Capital and learning how to explain capitalism. I was able to join a lot of Marxist debates.

On 23 December I officially became a member of the group. On first becoming a member, I got quite negative about there not being enough activism during Christmas and I addressed that issue at a school for new members in January. Since then I’ve got a better idea of how the AWL advocates activism and working class solidarity. I attended a second introductory school as I did not yet fully understand the politics and action within the group. I understand it properly now — it was a journey for me. But then, journeys don’t end. I have learned that action within revolutionary socialism requires pace and long-term campaigning which I’m trying to get involved with now.