Convention of the left: statement of intent

Convention of the left We explicitly challenge Labour’s programme of warmongering, neoliberal privatisation and failure to tackle environmental destruction. We believe that there is an alternative. The wealth exists in the world to abolish famine and poverty and to pay for our essential needs; the debt-fuelled culture of conspicuous consumption does not produce a fairer […]

September 8, 2008
3 min read

Convention of the left

We explicitly challenge Labour’s programme of warmongering, neoliberal privatisation and failure to tackle environmental destruction.

We believe that there is an alternative. The wealth exists in the world to abolish famine and poverty and to pay for our essential needs; the debt-fuelled culture of conspicuous consumption does not produce a fairer or happier society – and is anyway unsustainable; and peaceful collective public enterprise is preferable to the private profit-making of the unregulated market and its escalating competition for scarce resources. The problem is capitalism, which produces only for profit not need, which destroys the environment and carries out endless warfare in pursuit of market domination.

But we also believe that we must win these arguments. We must find ways to develop and promote alternative positive policies and demands – of peace, social and environmental justice, public ownership, workers’ rights, civil liberties and equality.

We must join together with all those seeking a better society, as an anti-capitalist left fighting for an alternative socialist society.

Question time for the left

The Convention of The Left takes place in Manchester 20-24 September as the alternative to Labour’s conference (held right next door at the same time). The Convention aims to debate alternative strategies that are critical of capitalism – environmentally and socially just, inclusive and peaceful, pluralist, tolerant – in pursuit of a greater common objective that benefits the many and not the few. We aim to ask ourselves the essential questions – and we hope to arrive at some of the answers.

We also aim to encourage participation from below, not top-down platforms. We want to start defining new ways of working – so that we can join together in making policies, putting forward demands and campaigning in practice – regardless of the organisations (or none) that we may belong to or support.

Participation in debate – unity in action

We are not saying that this means the construction of another political party. But we do resolve to find ways that the Left as a whole can co-ordinate action both nationally and locally wherever we can. We are not aiming to displace existing united campaigns, but to strengthen these and to encourage working together across the widest range of organisations and individuals.

We therefore resolve to encourage the development of local left forums, where appropriate, and to support those already in existence, in order to promote discussion and co-ordinate united action across the Left, in an inclusive, participatory, pluralist, tolerant and democratic way.

We also resolve to hold a “Recall Event” on Saturday November 29th at which we will seek agreement to ideas and demands emerging from the Convention.

Signed (among others) nationally :

Tony Benn

Alice Mahon

John McDonnell MP (Labour Representation Committee)

Robert Griffiths (Secretary, Communist Party of Britain)

John Haylett (Editor, Morning Star)

Derek Wall (Principal Male Speaker, Green Party)

George Galloway MP (Respect)

Councillor Salma Yaqoob (Respect)

Professor Gregor Gall (labour movement academic)

and by members of the Convention of the left organising group including:

Declan O’Neill

Chris Jones

Margaret Manning

Richard Searle (Respect)

Dr Kay Phillips (Respect)

Linda Clair

Norma Turner

Chris Hyland (Green Party)

Peter Allen (Green Party)

Cllr Susan Press (LRC)

Denise McDowell

Bill Jefferies (Permanent Revolution)

John Nicholson

Roy Wilkes (Socialist Resistance)

Ann Papageorgiou (CPB)


✹ Try our new pay-as-you-feel subscription — you choose how much to pay.

Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 19 April
On April 19th, we’ll be holding the second of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.

Changing our attitude to Climate Change
Paul Allen of the Centre for Alternative Technology spells out what we need to do to break through the inaction over climate change

Introducing Trump’s Inner Circle
Donald Trump’s key allies are as alarming as the man himself

Secrets and spies of Scotland Yard
A new Espionage Act threatens whistleblowers and journalists, writes Sarah Kavanagh

#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part II: a discussion of power and privilege
In the second article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the silencing of black women and the flaws in safe spaces

How progressive is the ‘progressive alliance’?
We need an anti-austerity alliance, not a vaguely progressive alliance, argues Michael Calderbank

The YPJ: Fighting Isis on the frontline
Rahila Gupta talks to Kimmie Taylor about life on the frontline in Rojava

Joint statement on George Osborne’s appointment to the Evening Standard
'We have come together to denounce this brazen conflict of interest and to champion the growing need for independent, truthful and representative media'

Confronting Brexit
Paul O’Connell and Michael Calderbank consider the conditions that led to the Brexit vote, and how the left in Britain should respond

On the right side of history: an interview with Mijente
Marienna Pope-Weidemann speaks to Reyna Wences, co-founder of Mijente, a radical Latinx and Chincanx organising network

Disrupting the City of London Corporation elections
The City of London Corporation is one of the most secretive and least understood institutions in the world, writes Luke Walter

#AndABlackWomanAtThat: a discussion of power and privilege
In the first article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the oppression of her early life and how we must fight it, even in our own movement

Corbyn understands the needs of our communities
Ian Hodson reflects on the Copeland by-election and explains why Corbyn has the full support of The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union

Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 15 March
On 15 March, we’ll be holding the first of Red Pepper’s Race Section open editorial meetings.

Social Workers Without Borders
Jenny Nelson speaks to Lauren Wroe about a group combining activism and social work with refugees

Growing up married
Laura Nicholson interviews Dr Eylem Atakav about her new film, Growing Up Married, which tells the stories of Turkey’s child brides

The Migrant Connections Festival: solidarity needs meaningful relationships
On March 4 & 5 Bethnal Green will host a migrant-led festival fostering community and solidarity for people of all backgrounds, writes Sohail Jannesari

Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next

Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace

Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill

Report from the second Citizen’s Assembly of Podemos
Sol Trumbo Vila says the mandate from the Podemos Assembly is to go forwards in unity and with humility

Protect our public lands
Last summer Indigenous people travelled thousands of miles around the USA to tell their stories and build a movement. Julie Maldonado reports

From the frontlines
Red Pepper’s new race editor, Ashish Ghadiali, introduces a new space for black and minority progressive voices

How can we make the left sexy?
Jenny Nelson reports on a session at The World Transformed

In pictures: designing for change
Sana Iqbal, the designer behind the identity of The World Transformed festival and the accompanying cover of Red Pepper, talks about the importance of good design

Angry about the #MuslimBan? Here are 5 things to do
As well as protesting against Trump we have a lot of work to get on with here in the UK. Here's a list started by Platform

Who owns our land?
Guy Shrubsole gives some tips for finding out

Don’t delay – ditch coal
Take action this month with the Coal Action Network. By Anne Harris

Utopia: Work less play more
A shorter working week would benefit everyone, writes Madeleine Ellis-Petersen

Mum’s Colombian mine protest comes to London
Anne Harris reports on one woman’s fight against a multinational coal giant