Growing up I always considered myself a Marxist and was always vocal in criticising capitalism during lessons at school. My parents had struggled with four children and having to move around the country to find work. My childhood was quite austere in some respects and I could see how hard-working my parents were for sometimes very little reward. This was how I came to see capitalism for the exploitative economic model that it is.
For me, the reason I am drawn to Marxism is its robust scientific approach to how the world works. When I’ve looked at other theories and ideologies it’s as if they’ve been written on the back of a cigarette packet in comparison to Marx and Engels’ works.
When I left school with average qualifications in the midst of the financial crash in 2008 I struggled to find a job. Once I entered the workplace I found exactly the kind of world that I had been reading about during my youth.
In one job I had, trade unions were not recognised so that we could not bargain collectively for better pay or working conditions. Another boss I had effectively forced long-serving staff out of work and told them they were being made redundant. I’ve seen apathetic shrugs from many people who say that’s “just the way things are”.
My experiences in the workplace cemented my feeling that capitalism serves only those at the top. The fight for socialism is the fight to protect the rights of all workers and ensure they are paid the wages they deserve. Marxism had taught me that this is only achieved through revolutionary means, and the attempts I’ve seen to reform and compromise have always ended in failure and betrayal.
When I came to university I immediately sought out the Marxist Society stall at the freshers’ fair. The political calibre of comrades in MarxSoc was impressive and I knew that this was a group of people who took Marxism and revolutionary theory seriously. I joined the International Marxist Tendency shortly afterwards.
I fight to educate young people about the seemingly insurmountable challenges put in our way by capitalism, and how to overcome them with the struggle for socialism.
by Stan Laight, Sheffield Marxists