How We Will Breakthrough In 2022 31st December 2021 Wow, where do I even start!? I still can’t quite believe how far we’ve come, from a WhatsApp group to a political party in less than 12 months. We simply couldn’t have done it without our wonderful members and fantastic volunteers! Here’s just a snapshot of what we did in 2021 and what we have planned for 2022. Back in January, we became an officially registered political party. Starting a political party during a global pandemic isn’t the easiest task, so we really had to utilise social media and build our presence online at first. Twitter became a space to present our ideas and to do things differently to establishment parties. We talked serious politics one day and posted memes and poked fun at politicians the next. We’re just ordinary people who wanted to speak from the heart and let’s be honest, if you don’t laugh about the current political situation you’re going to cry. I remember back in February, Jay, a good friend of mine and Breakthrough member suggesting an idea for a video around Boris Johnson & David Attenborough and going back and forth with him until 1am about it and we posted it the very next morning. Never did we know that this short clip would end up going viral. More and more people started following us, they came for the humour but stuck around for the politics and the ideas we were presenting as a radical alternative to the status quo. We opened up the party to membership in April and have seen hundreds of members join us since, as well as thousands of supporters. Together, we decided on Breakthrough’s ten core policies and launched them in May, receiving a brilliant response to the radical alternative platform we put forward. During the same time we stood in our first by-election. A safe Tory seat since it was created 50 years ago, Chesham and Amersham wasn’t the most obvious territory for a democratic socialist party. But out on the doorstep, there was a clear desire for change. Our fantastic local candidate, Carla Gregory, and our amazing volunteers gave everything over the course of our five week campaign, focusing on tackling inequality, addressing the housing crisis and protecting the local environment. Historically in by-elections the Lib Dems are strong performers and in this one it was no different. They hammered the constituency with leaflets to the point where they were ridiculed on social media, but it became a two-horse race and other parties struggled to make an impact. The Lib Dems’ intense campaigning paid off and overturned a huge Tory majority. From a standing start, we came 6th, only 400 votes behind Labour and ahead of two more experienced parties. We learnt a lot from this experience and we’re very excited to see what we can do in future local, by- and general elections. Breakthrough had its first local representatives join the party. We had three wonderful councillors defect from Labour, Samantha Cooper, Katie Parker and Ben Munro. They’re all brilliant public servants for their communities and we can’t wait to see what they do and support them every step of the way in 2022 and beyond. As Covid restrictions were eased, we were able to have a presence at protests, first in Manchester for the protest against the Tory conference with the People’s Assembly and in Manchester again, London, Birmingham, Southampton & Truro for COP26 protests. With Kill The Bill protests, UCU strikes and much more happening in January, we plan to get involved a lot more in direct action, so keep your eyes peeled for things being organised in your area. We also held leadership elections in November/December, and I had the pleasure of being elected as Party Leader. Sherilyn Wileman was elected as Deputy Leader, and a National Committee made up of regional representatives was also elected. The new NC reps will be starting work in the first week of January. And finally, we built links with other like-minded political parties, trade unions, campaign groups and movements, which we’re hoping to reveal more about and expand over the next few months – so watch this space! So what do we need to do in 2022? 1. Go big or go home Despite the Covid pandemic, we’ve managed to build steadily over the course of the last 12 months and achieved a lot. But for us to really go to the next level and cement ourselves as the natural home for socialists we need thousands of members, not hundreds. More members means more leaders, more volunteers, more campaigners, more activists. 2. Make a breakthrough Our media systematically ignores radical ideas and wants to maintain the status quo. They won’t give us a platform without a fight. To break into the mainstream we need to commit to taking big, bold actions that grab attention. We need to start and support nationwide campaigns, create powerful, viral content, and build relationships with sympathetic and supportive journalists/media organisations who can champion our cause. We need to change the narrative around socialism and present it as the only viable solution to the destruction of our society and our planet. 3. Get election ready With the next General Election potentially happening as early as 2023, we need to be ready. We need our regions to confirm key electoral targets, build a presence in our communities, begin campaigning and making a real difference in people’s lives. This will all start with the establishing of regional branches from January! Other plans: – Launch a minifesto in March. – Stand candidates in the local elections in May. – Hold our first Party Conference in the Summer. – Start up a Breakthrough Student branch, building our presence in universities and colleges up and down the country. Breakthrough has evolved into something truly fantastic over this last year, I’ve met so many passionate and inspirational people who’ve really made this the party it is today. I can’t wait to see what we can do together in 2022, so please get involved and get stuck in, we’ve got a world to win.