I had the thrill of welcoming four new members into the Scottish Socialist Party this week. Alan, Justyna, Jon and James attended their first branch meeting in Edinburgh on Thursday and it was great to have them along. The picture above shows them discussing the situation in the West Bank which was introduced by Robbie and Lynn from the Midlothian branch who have just returned from a Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign delegation there.
Alan and James live in the Liberton/Gilmerton area and joined as a result of our work in the Council by-election there. Justyna and Jon approached us - on different days - at our city centre stall which we conduct weekly against the occupation of Afghanistan.
Each of them had their own different reasons for joining the SSP of course but they all mentioned how pleased they were and favourably impressed by the fact that I had contacted them within hours of them expressing an interest in the party.
This approach to each new 'contact' is vitally important for the SSP. If someone expresses an interest we must treat it with the utmost urgency. For me the future of the SSP depends heavily on the people who have not yet joined the party. As soon as I hear someone wants to join I give them a call. I explain to them how delighted we are to hear of their interest and I ask what it was that led them to contact us. This is vitally important intelligence for the SSP not least because it shows what aspects of our message are being heard.
I then arrange to meet them as soon as possible to discuss what the party is doing, our immediate priorities and how best they can get involved.
This is the approach that has led me to recruit scores of people to the socialist movement over more the years. I want people who contact us to feel wanted and important, because they are absolutely vital to the rebuilding of the SSP. We need their help urgently and we are determined to find a place for them in our party.
The SSP has recruited more than two dozen members in Edinburgh this past year and for me that is not all there is, it merely hints at the enormous potential that is out there.