Firstly, we’ve been inundated with requests to join the Scottish Socialist Party – we have no great big party machine, or the cash to outsource enormous mailshots, it’s just a handful of people stuffing envelopes in a wee office – so we hope you’ll forgive us for any delays in delivering welcome packs. Let us know if we haven’t written to you within a week of applying.
Secondly, thank you for all the enormous interest. We’re over the moon at your passion at letting us know you want to change the world for the better.
Quicker than the ice-bucket challenge – I don’t think Colin Fox or Sandra Webster have done it yet – I’d like to write you a quick reality check. We’d like to let everyone know what to expect when joining the Scottish Socialist Party.
It’s a commitment from yourself to wider society – it is one to advance the goals of socialism, putting people before profit, and to shape our party’s goals where we fall short of this. We’re not really the sort of party you join, pay a fiver a month, get a membership card and a newsletter once a quarter and that’s that. It can be pretty full on.
Ultimately – your relationship with the party is a trade off, you’re expected to offer resources and we’ll be there to help develop you. These resources can take many forms – money, time, shoe leather, specific expertise and experience.
Members are expected to be active, attend local branch meetings, establish and maintain branches, as well as participating in our direct engagement with voters, such as public meetings, street stalls and among your colleagues and friends. Furthermore, activists give a good deal of their time to their comrades and to develop one another’s talents and skill in order to best serve. It can be demanding, in time and in patience.
SSP members are expected to seek active roles in their trade unions, standing for increasingly senior positions of influence. We are a party of workers, and those that support equality and social justice.
Our party is an unashamedly socialist organisation. We aren’t a broad church. We stand for nothing less than the establishment of the modern, democratic socialist republic. Our membership is expected to behave in a manner which makes the SSP proud of them. The SSP doesn’t just represent our own party, but the cause of independence, and the cause of socialism as a whole. Our actions reflect on those movements, and the actions of our members do as well.
We are a deeply democratic party; there is no individual member who is more important than any other, although getting to grips with party activism can be daunting. The SSP will make every effort to alleviate this. Any comrade can be a local or national office-bearer – elected by one member one vote. Again, this responsibility can be demanding.
Political activism is intensely rewarding – depending on your level of involvement – your political, social, organisational, debating, analytical and awareness skills will greatly improve. And you will see this happen quickly as you become proficient. You’ll meet friends and comrades that’ll last you the rest of your life.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Let’s change the world, friends and future comrades.
Scott Macdonald is the acting chair of Edinburgh/Midlothians branch.