Howard Thorp was a founding member of both Creating Socialism and Critical Mass.
Howard became a socialist at grammar school where he witnessed class wealth and privilege for the first time. He has worked as a bartender, youth worker, teacher and environmental regulator. He was a union rep for 14 years. At university he was involved in the miners strike in 1984.
He was a member of the Green Party for nearly 20 years and served on the national executive for 4 years. He joined Labour when Corbyn became leader and left in 2020. He has written two books – Capitalism Creates Poverty, based on his blog, and and How to Build a Snowman and Other Stories about growing up in south Lancashire in the 1960s and 70s.
|Which book do you think all socialists should read?
|The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels is a good start. George Orwell’s books especially Homage to Catalonia, and anything by David Graeber.
|What was the most important event in the history of socialism?
|The French Revolution
|Who would you rate as the outstanding political leader of your generation?
|Which film should socialists watch?
|Reds – the story of journalist John Reed and his visit to the Soviet Union. Also read his book – Ten Days That Shook The World.
|Which single political event was most instrumental in your political development?
|The Miner’s strike
|With which historical socialist do you most identify?
|Which single reform could make capitalism work?
|Capitalism can’t be reformed but there are many bringing about real change around the world now through mutual aid, solidarity and economic democracy. The latter is particularly important and socialists need to recognise this and get involved.
|Have you ever been on strike, if so, did you win?
|Yes, as a teacher in the 1980s and we won a decent pay rise.
|Do you think we can get socialism through the ballot box?
|No, but we can create socialism now, locally through economic democracy.
|What do you do when you are not doing politics?
|Walking in the great outdoors, photography, blogging and writing books. The current one I am working on is called How to Survive Capitalism.
|Do you ever feel like giving up politically and why don’t you?
|No. But I get very frustrated with the left, particularly the lack of campaigning nouse and the failure to build from the grassroots. We need a two pronged approach – try to get socialists elected and a focus on community wealth building locally.
|Are you an optimist or a pessimist when you think of the future for the left?
|Is socialism inevitable?
|Nothing is inevitable
Socialist of many years. Former Labour member. Currently presenter of The Socialist Hour.