Activists are organising a major new event of Labour’s left-wing ideas this summer, find out why you need to be there from Chris Williamson MP

The surge in the Labour Party’s membership in recent years has occurred because millions have been inspired by Jeremy Corbyn’s advocacy of what I have described as common sense socialism.

Hundreds of thousands of these Labour supporters have joined the Labour Party since Jeremy first stood for leader in the summer of 2015.

This is a cause for huge celebration and they are an incredibly diverse group of people.

They range from younger people getting involved with politics for the first time to trade unionists and community campaigners. It is a phenomenon brought about by Labour’s unambiguous commitment to the creation of decent society for the many not the few.

It’s about our commitment to investment rather than the relentless cuts agenda inflicted on the country since 2010. And it’s about our commitment to peace not war that has resulted in former party members, who left in disgust after the betrayal of the Iraq war, returning to the Labour fold.

And when I tour the country speaking at events, whether they be official Labour Party meetings, local Momentum groups or campaign events for international causes such as the Stop the War Coalition, there is an incredible appetite for discussing political ideas and issues.

Examples of topics that excite passion and debate range from how we can resist austerity in our local community to how public ownership can work in the 21st century.

There is also a desire to consider how we can link up with those resisting US President Donald Trump’s hatred and how best to support those fighting for justice and equality in the Global South.

The Morning Star has been running a number of thoughtful pieces recently on what’s next for Labour’s left. There is a growing consensus, following the explosion in our membership inspired by Jeremy’s socialist leadership, that we need to continue developing socialist policies and ideas to achieve a Labour victory.

This will require finding new ways to engage with people to bring them with us and building on the energy and radicalism of Labour’s manifesto in last year’s general election campaign. The title of that manifesto, For the Many not the Few, is one that resonates with the public.

The left can claim widespread support for policies such as nationalising the railways and utilities, building council housing to tackling the housing crisis and introducing a cradle-to-grave education service.

However, we must go further. There are still domestic and international policy areas that we need to develop to bring people with us.

For this reason, I am delighted to confirm that I will be speaking at the recently announced Arise: A Festival of Labour’s Left Ideas, taking place on Friday July 27 and concluding the following day at several different venues in central London.

This event will aim to open up and develop discussion among the Labour left and engage with the thousands of people who have joined since Jeremy was elected leader in 2015.

It will offer an opportunity for new members to engage in policy discussions and find out more about the causes and campaigns, supported by Jeremy Corbyn and others, to tackle injustice at home and abroad.

The weekend of people-powered politics is being supported by a range of organisations, publications and campaigns on Labour’s left.

It will feature activists and communicators from across the movement who have backed Jeremy Corbyn’s new politics and been in the vanguard of resistance to the Conservatives’ domestic austerity agenda and their military interventions overseas.

Prominent participants will include Richard Burgon MP, shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti, MEP Lucy Anderson, Unite the Union’s Steve Turner and many others.

Topics discussed will range from an exposition of Corbynomics to what a genuine ethical foreign policy looks like. There will also be a major #JC4PM rally, socialist films, book launches, Q&As and much more besides.

Despite the continued campaign by parts of the establishment to discredit Jeremy Corbyn and his democratic socialist ideas, support for common sense socialism is growing.

With solidarity we can and we will deliver a Corbyn-led Labour government for the many not the few. Arise: A Festival of Labour’s Left Ideas offers an opportunity to contribute towards making that dream a reality, so I hope you will join me there this summer.


Chris Williamson is Labour MP for Derby North. You can follow Arise: A Festival of Labour’s Left Ideas on Twitter via @arise_festival and on Facebook:

This article was originally published by the Morning Star (6/5/17) here


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