Rebuilding the progressive left

Rebuilding the progressive left is not just about the Labour leadership. A group of UK-based progressives have started a research project to look at opportunities for new organisations.

Rebuilding the progressive left is not just about the Labour leadership. Indeed, it’s about much more than the Labour party.

So a few months ago a small group of primarily UK-based progressives including Labour List’s Alex Smith and Open Left’s Anthony Painter got together to initiate a conversation about the types of campaigns, institutions, blogs and tools that would help the broad, plural left to renew. The group included community organisers, environmentalists, campaigners, Labour and Lib Dem activists, bloggers, writers, and development workers.

In starting this process, there’s an obvious case study from across the Atlantic. The lesser told story about the Democrats’ success in the 2006 midterm elections and 2008 presidential race doesn’t even have the word ‘Obama’ in the headline. From 2004 onwards, a process of institution building took place across the American left to reclaim from the right an advantage in policy formation, political communication, movement development, and voter engagement lost during the ascendancy of US conservatives over three decades.

Much of what they created is already in place in the UK but a few of us have now undertaken a piece of research to look systematically at what happened in the US to create the infrastructure that supports a new form of politics, and what opportunities may exist in the UK. We are now able to employ a researcher to take forward this body of work.

The ‘Latimer Project’ as it’s become known has started advertising for a researcher to carry out a four-month project. We are looking to kick things off in the next few weeks so anyone interested should submit an application.

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23 Responses to “Rebuilding the progressive left”

  1. Marcus Warner

    Any rebuilding of the left, whatever that means, has to begin with the assumption that it is far wider than the failed New Labour project and far wider than the Labour movement. Merely rebranding New Labour is not the same.

    All parties of the left need to embrace pluralism and PR.

  2. Oxford Kevin

    Interesting that the greens aren’t mentioned. I think they will need to talk about how to learn to be inclusive first. Perhaps the greens should leave them to it.

  3. Guido Fawkes

    Seems to me that institution building is more difficult for the Labour Party than it was for the Democrats. Union money is big in America, but it isn’t so overwhelmingly dominant in funding the Democrats.

    The Labour Party has become the narrow political wing of public sector unions, money talks, until you get your funding from individuals more than unions you’ll have that problem. If you don’t see it as a problem than you your problem is a lack of political self-awareness. Blair saw the problem clearly, he just failed to overcome it.

    Only a plurality of funding sources will allow you to escape the union problem and get wider appeal.

  4. tracy j

    everybody knows the last 13 years was largely a disaster. until Labour recognises and acknowledges that it will be in the political wilderness.

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