I feel very lucky to have grown up in a home where politics and philosophy were regularly discussed, and where lessons from history, ideas, and aspirations for a better society were frequently the topics of passionate debate. As such, my political consciousness and orientation towards socialism began quite young, and I am forever grateful to my parents for this.
Inevitably though, as we strive for independence from our family and forge our own path and direction in life, beliefs and orientations must be rigorously tested and either rejected, modified, or owned anew.
Despite the fact that socialism ‘just makes sense’ and a Marxist critique of capitalism is by far the most convincing, personal experience has been the most influential factor in the process of reaffirming and owning my belief in socialism. Once one becomes conscious of class, witnesses the injustices suffered by human beings who are exploited for ‘first world progress’ and economic growth, and experiences the human and environmental costs of capitalism, it’s hard to be anything but a socialist!
However the question still remains – ‘why join the Socialist Party?’ As a soon-to-be qualified social worker who is inspired and guided by the radical, critical, and structural traditions within the profession, I have a professional and personal obligation to actively participate in political struggle in order to effect structural change.
As Merideth Jacka so eloquently explained in her ‘Why I Joined the Socialist Party’ piece in the July edition: “most of the problems in the world – from war and famine through to homelessness and unemployment – are a result of an ineffective, inefficient and inhumane economic system. That is capitalism”. Like Merideth, I believe that fighting for fundamental structural change is a crucial activity for social workers, community developers, and all people working in the human services sector, as we are faced, every day, with the human costs and consequences of inaction.
By Kate Parks, Melbourne