As Solidarity prepares to go weekly, AWL members around the country have been stepping up the number of paper sales they organise. For a long time, selling a publication on the street was seen by a lot of people as a faintly cranky. But, as Dylan put it, the times they are a-getting quite different. People are eager to talk about politics in a way they haven’t been in the past and that’s reflected in the number of papers we’re selling.
AWL North East London now organises four weekly sales, the highlight being a Tuesday night sale at Highbury & Islington station that regularly shifts over 25 papers.
AWL Nottingham sold 19 papers across two sales recently, and a new sale by AWL member in Northampton at the university shifted eight in just half an hour.
AWL Liverpool is running two regular sales, one in the city centre and one at the university campus.
AWL members in Brighton sold 12 on a recent anti-cuts demo, and estate sales by AWL South London in Camberwell and Peckham regularly see over 20 papers sold.
We sell the paper because we can’t afford to give it away. We need the money. Anyway, people who pay even a small amount for a paper take it more seriously than a throwaway freebie like the Metro.
Our newspaper is just one of the ways we communicate our ideas; AWL branches are also trying to organise more public meetings.
Creating spaces where people can come into face-to-face contact with us in a collective way is vital for persuading people of socialist politics. In Sheffield, the AWL branch is running weekly public meetings throughout November, covering topics such as the French strikes, class struggle in Latin America and the British trade union movement.
In Liverpool, a series of meetings at the university has combined a focus on the basics of Marxist theory (what is class, how does capitalism work, etc.) with discussion of current issues and struggles. Around 10 students have been attending each meeting.
The motivation for stepping up our “outward-facing” activity is clear; if class-struggle socialists don’t use this period to attempt to catalyse resistance to the government and convince new layers of working-class people of Marxist ideas, we may face another generational defeat. The stakes are high.