“Being a part of something special does not make you special. Something is special because you are a part of it.” Rachel, Glee.
I’ve always been vaguely interested in politics and yet growing up I had never really imagined myself becoming a political activist and I’m not overly sure that I knew what the term meant. In fact until fairly recently (recent in the grand scheme of things) I didn’t really understand the political spectrum although I always understood how things worked but was baffled with all the technical stuff.
Yet here I am four years after my political journey started and drowning in the various political activities in which I partake. I never imagined that my life would end up like this but now, I can’t imagine my life without it.
So how do you get started? What can you do to change the world? How can you become a political activist?
Join a party // It takes a huge leap of faith to decide to join a political party and it’s not the easiest thing to do but it’s definitely one of the easiest ways to get involved with politics. If you’re already politically literate the the chances are that you already have a rough idea which party you sympathise with most, so go ahead and take the leap! However if you are unsure which party you want to join, take a long around the party websites, have a look at the kind of things they offer or promote and decide which you want to associate with. Joining a party is the hardest part because once you have joined you’ll find that the local and national structures are designed to get you engaged.
Get involved // So you’ve joined a party of your choice, what happens next? I’ve only had experience of joining one party and for me there was a huge delay between me joining the party and me actually getting involved. If I could have my time over again (oh boy would there be some stuff I would change) I would throw myself in to the party because when you first join you join with enthusiasm. Yet that said when I first joined my confidence was pretty low and it took me some time to over come my insecurities but now I wouldn’t care and my advice to you is to get involved as quickly as you can because it’ll be one of the best decision that you will ever make.
Learn as much as you can // When I first decided that I wanted to join the Labour Party I was really nervous because I just felt as if I didn’t know anywhere near enough. Yet the more involved I got and the more confident I got, the more I seemed to learn. So one thing that I have learnt, if you want to be involved with a political party and you feel that you have something to offer, then go for it because you have absolutely nothing to lose.
Local // Elections are won locally and it’s the local people who understand the local area that that really make the difference. Getting involved in local campaigns or your local political party can be hugely rewarding and you are more likely to see your activism end with results.
Start a campaign // Start your own campaign, chose a subject that you think you can win and something that is close to your heart. Start by picking an issue, check if there is already a campaign on the subject and if not then start your own! There are lots of resources online about how to start your own campaign, so take a peak and get on it!
Have you ever thought about joining a political party?