National demonstration for Gaza, July 2014. Photo: Counterfire National demonstration for Gaza, July 2014. Photo: Counterfire

Four new Counterfire members explain their reasons for joining

Chris Neville – Unite activist

chris-neville-1-lg.jpgOff the back of 2019’s election defeat, it had become apparent to me that the changes I wanted to see in society would not be possible through the Labour Party. I decided to join Counterfire, having been aware of the organisation for a while. A few months later, I resigned my Labour membership.

There’s certainly plenty to keep me busy within Counterfire. In particular, the recent Marxist Forums have been great for developing theory and I’ve even written a few articles for the website which is something I never saw myself doing before I joined. Most importantly, our members are overwhelmingly supportive and comradely.

If you are looking for life outside the Labour Party, I would certainly recommend joining Counterfire and helping us build the extra-parliamentary movement.

Minnie Life – student

minnie-life-lg.jpgParliamentary politics are clearly failing. They’re not listening to students, they’re not listening to workers, they’re not listening to people of colour, and they’re not listening to the LGBTQ+ community. We are all being failed by the current opposition, who aren’t really opposing anything at all.

That’s why I believe joining groups like Counterfire is the best way to call for change in this country. Through this involvement I’ve learnt that the buck does not stop with party politics, that instead there is a whole world of opposition out there that is willing to stand up for proper socialist policies and ideas.

Ellena Plumb – anti-war activist

ellena-plumb-lg.jpgI joined Counterfire in 2016 after re-engaging in politics via the peace movement. Back then, and when I first became politically active, that was really all I was interested in. Then it clicks: anti-war, anti-capitalism, anti- austerity, anti-racism, climate change… it’s all inextricably linked. You can’t support one without the other and Counterfire joins up all these dots.

We have a Newcastle Branch with a group chat and have monthly branch meetings and a monthly reading group. There are also countless meetings to attend ran by all the different organisations whose issues Counterfire is active in. Counterfire is an organisation which brings in all aspects of the movement and connects deeply with all the organisations working to achieve these ends.

Yonas Makoni – Counterfire activist

yonas-makoni-lg.jpgWhen Corbyn stood for the leadership in 2015, I was immediately on board. With the concurrent rise of left-wing forces in Europe and America, such as Syriza and Podemos, this seemed to signal a revival of socialist politics and the biggest left advance of my lifetime.

The general election defeat and Bernie Sanders’ defeat in the primaries, however, made me realise that these parties had all come up against the same obstacles. They all tapped into a strong appetite for change, but in the end their relatively weak bases of support were unable to push back against massive establishment opposition.

The left can win, but in order to do so we need to recognise where the basis of our power would be – not in official politics, but in workplaces and communities – and start from there.

This is what led me to Counterfire. While I believed in the power of the movement, I also believe that we need revolutionary organisation, dedicated specifically to building this resistance from below and providing it with leadership. Only this way can we move beyond the weaknesses of the parliamentary left. 

Join the fightback. Join Counterfire today.


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