I stole this idea from another comrades blog Leftwing Criminologist and I thought it would be the perfect place to start my blog and and easy way to explain my political background.
First political experience: well this answer will be split into three parts: my first political experience, my first political experience I understood and my first active political experience.
- My first political experience would have been the Kosovo war or more accurately the NATO bombing of serbia in 1999. I was 13 at the time and was just begining to think about the world around me but the only source of information I had available to me were the tv news reports. All I can really remember thinking was that 'something wasn't quite right with what the news was saying'
- The first political experience which I understood was 9/11 and the subsequent invasion of Afganistan. 9/11 happened on the first day I started college, so it was definately an interesting topic of discussion for getting to know people. I remember getting stoned with a friend and talking about how the US had got the bloody nose it deserved but it was directed at the wrong people, that it was the ruling elite and US government that needed to be targeted not civilians. Instantly we both understood that this would lead to US imperialism stamping over the middle east.
- I first got active in politics in the build up to the invasion of Iraq, seeing through all the lies and deceptions of the government propaganda I finally had to do something. A few friends and lecturers were involved in a Stop the War group in the college so I got involved with that, 2 of my friends involved and 1 of my lecturers were Socialist Party members so I discussed with them alot about the issues and quickly began to identify myself with the party.
First Vote: My first vote was in 2004 the first election I was old enough to vote in. For the European Parliament I voted for Respect as the only left challenge. For the council elections I had 3 votes but I chose to use only 1 which was for Chris Franks, a Plaid Cymru candidate who I knew to be a relatively good reformist who had helped my parents obtain medical equipment that I desperately needed as a child. I chose not to vote for the other PC candidates or use those votes for any of the other candidates. Although that was the first election I voted in at the 2003 General Elecetion I was out on the streets and door-to-door canvassing for Dave Bartlett, Socialist Party candidate. Although I had already joined the SP by that point it was that election campaign that convinced me to stay.
First Demo: My first demo was the February 15th 2003 STWC demo, the biggest demo in British history. So every demo I have been on since has always been considerably smaller which really made it easy to make the correct connection between the declining anti-war movement and the tactics and strategy used by the leadership of the STWC. Also worthy of a mention in this answer would be the Day X protests as it was the first deonstration I played a part in organising. Along with 2 other SP members in college were organised a walkout of around 30 students, we marched into the town centre and met up with a 300 strong demo from the university.
Last Vote: My last vote was for Socialist Labour Party in the 2005 general election, I went to the polling station with the intention of spoiling the ballot by writing with a marker pen something all the lines 'call this demoncracy all these candidates support capitalism!' but I found to my suprise that the SLP were standing so I voted for them. I haven't voted in any elections since because either there were no candidates worth voting for or because I have been moving around alot so I haven't been registered. For anyone who is wondering though If i was registered in 2009 I would have voted for NO2EU in the European elections.
Last political activity: My last political activity in the real world, ie not on the internet, was last saturday in the Canton area of Cardiff for a Socialist Party campaign stall on Troops out of Afganistan.
So Its a bit weird that my first political though that I understood nearly 9 years ago was also the very same thing of which my last political activity was about!